Thursday, March 10, 2005

My largest organ

I don’t get compliments all that often. Except now in the wake of Operation Skinny Bitch, I get quite a few comments about my size or lack of it. But generally, I’ve never been one to receive praise about my looks. Not that I am fugly, just average. There’s not much about my outward appearance that would cause people to spontaneously shower me with praise.

The one physical feature for which I seem to receive the most attention is my skin. I’ve heard time and time again people singing the praises of my derma. How pretty it is. How soft. So on and so forth.

So yeah, I hate my skin. Actually I have more of a love/hate thing going on with it. I agree that I do have clear, for the most part, soft skin. I try to take pretty good care of it. I wouldn’t say I spend tons of money on skin products. No LaMer or anything. But I don’t buy just any old cheap, generic brands.

But it’s funny how the one feature for which I seem to receive universal praise is the one that causes me the most strife.

First off, I’m pale, in a very pinky, Irish way. My face gets flushed when I’m upset or excited or been drinking too much. I also don’t tan. Seriously, I don’t tan. I burn like a naked chicken, blister, peel, and am right back at the same white shade as before. I get maybe a fraction of a shade darker in the summer. In high school when all my classmates came back after summer vacation as brown as coconuts, I still looked like Wednesday Addams.

I should point out that those years of teenage ostracization will pay off at fifty with a less wrinkly face than my sun-worshipping peers, but try telling that to a sullen fifteen-year-old who just wants to look like Malibu Barbie for at least one summer.

My skin is also hyper-sensitive. Shout out for that one goes to my paternal grandfather and his Irish ancestors. I have to use Cheer-free detergent and fragrance free dryer sheets. After a few years of trial and error, I discovered that the only skin-care products that I can use without causing a massive hysteria in on my face are Clinique and The Body Shop’s Vitamin E line.

This also meant that as I kid I couldn’t wear my Keds without socks or I’d break out in a rash all over my feet. I also could not wear Swatch watches without breaking into a ugly rash that crawled up my arm, a devastating reality for a pre-teen in 1986.

Even now, I am trying to recover from a reaction I had to, most likely, the lace on a cheap bra from Target. I’ve got little red bumps all on my chest which have inexplicably spread to my shoulders, back, and even up my neck. Bra’s going in the trash and no scented lotions for me for at least a few weeks until this thing cleans up.

One of my best friends in high school had this gorgeous mane of dark curls of which I was so envious,. She would always roll her eyes in this “Are you kidding me?” kind of way whenever I professed my jealousy.

I see her point. My eyes probably roll the same way whenever I hear the words “Your skin is so beautiful…”

Life is hard, Beavis.

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