USA Today is reporting that Kelly Ripa's bellybutton was airbrushed from an
outie to an innie for the cover of Shape magazine. It's good to know, isn't
it? I know I'll sleep better tonight.
America Ferrera, the star of "Ugly Betty" the popular television show that
stresses internal beauty more than external beauty, has had a royal
makeover for her cover spot on W magazine.
They gave the lovable Latina voluminous hair, luscious lips, smoky eyes and
a come hither look. So much for all that noise about "it's what's on the
inside that counts."
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that the biggest
rise in women seeking cosmetic procedures comes from women under 35.
Twentysomethings are seeking botox.
You have to wonder what the ratio is between the time and money we invest
in our external selves and the time and money we invest in our internal
Hair and make-up: 40 minutes.
Personal reflection: None.
Treadmill at the gym: 30 minutes three times a week.
Assessing important relationships: Not now.
My mom kept a calorie-counting book that she kept in the kitchen drawer
when I was about 12 years old. I vividly remember the little book being
printed on gray paper with a drawing of a lady on the front. Long
eyelashes, turned up nose, perfect chin and hair piled high with dangling
curls. It was a somewhat swooshy profile in purple ink.
On the inside back page was a personality quiz you were to take each day
after you tallied your calories. Calorie-counting and character-counting;
not a bad combo.
In the evenings, my mom would sometimes sit on one end of the couch and I
would sit on the other, and she would run through the little quiz with me.
"Were you the first to smile at someone today?"
"Were you the first to say hello to someone today?"
"If you saw someone new, did you introduce yourself?"
"Did you say something encouraging to someone today?"
"Were you kind today?"
"Were you cheerful today?"
It made me feel grown up to know my mother asked me the same questions that
she asked herself. It also made me feel as though I had the possibility of
one day becoming as lovely as the pretty lady on the cover, although
without the purple lines.
There were about 15 questions, and the correct answer was always yes. I
fudged occasionally to help myself along in my mother's eyes, but I think
she fudged on her calorie count, so in retrospect, we were even.
The questions were a good inventory, in that they put the focus on others.
They were benchmarks of thoughtfulness, courtesy and consideration.
We're not oriented to focus on others today. Well, we may focus on others
but it is usually in a voyeuristic innie/outie bellybutton sort of way. For
the most part, our checklists are primarily about us: Me, myself and I, the
ultimate shallow trio.
When our daughters were in high school, they began placing a small card
with a scripted word each day in a pretty clip on their desks. There were
about 10 in all; tenderness, gentleness, loyal, loving, kind, honest. I'd
like to say they got the idea from me, but I'd be fudging again.
Wherever the idea came from, any female possessing the capability of seeing
and developing her inner self as well as her outer self is rather, well,
The purple lady would entirely approve.