When I was a silly young woman

I was recently in touch with an old work friend of mine. We had a long conversation, catching up on what we’ve been up to, where we live now, our new careers and our love lives. There was a point in the conversation where we laughed at our younger selves, and were happy for the clarity of life experiences and time.

Looking back on it, there was a moment in my life, when I was looking for the most perfect outcome. My friend and I, let’s call her Marisol, were analyzing older women and trying to learn what not to do. We worked in retail and would often encounter women that were trying to get “it” back. The “it” being their old selves. Marisol and I would often talk about the predicaments of the women we would see during the day and vow to never “end up like them.” They were women in their mid-thirties to late forties, who would tell us stories of how they didn’t always look like “this.” They used to be attractive, they would tell us, but somehow life got in the way. The stories usually began with, when I had my first child.”

Marisol and I didn’t understand those women. We were barely twenty. It was incomprehensible to us that a woman would leave the house without a coat of mascara and a good lip-gloss. How could one present themselves to the world so raw and so, well, basic? We didn’t understand these women, nor could we fully empathize because we were young. We lived with our parents in the suburbs and our paychecks went to a cellphone bill and gas for the car. At that time, our conversations were about the movies we were going to see that weekend, what guy was cute and the new beauty product that was going to change our lives.

During our conversation we laughed about how jaded we were, thinking that the way to keep a man was to never get lazy, always wear sexy underwear, and to keep our hair, make-up and toenails done at all times. “Be on point, always, men are visual.” The two of us giggled after we admitted that we don’t wear as much makeup now and have gone to the grocery store barefaced. “Girl, it saves so much time!”