Why does it matter what I look like?

Candy and HP are walking into their office together, and they had to go in early today, so I awoke to her voice in our kitchen. I stayed in bed listening to them talk. HP was laughing, that lovely small laugh. The one I can picture in my mind, where the sides of his mouth turn up and his eyes look down. As the laugh grows from small to large, he becomes embarrassed and he tries to hide his laughter. He puts his hand over his face and he looks even more endearing.

They were talking about a prank they did on him at his new office. A kind of right of passage thing. They were about to have a meeting, and someone pulled HP aside. They told him that these meetings were ‘ideas meetings’, and there were no bad ideas at these meetings. Everything would be considered. Also, at these meetings, everyone is equal. In order to take away the fear of saying something stupid, or the notion that a junior member of staff can’t contribute, everyone goes to the meetings shirtless. It’s called ‘Shirtless Tuesday’.

Now, HP is a clever fellow. But he’s also the sort that doesn’t like to make waves. So, I can only picture him mulling this whole thing over in his head. Thinking that there was no way he was going into that meeting shirtless, but I also can imagine he didn’t want to question the new routine.

The person who pulled him aside added that the women on the team would be in their bras, and it was ideas like this that made everyone comfortable with each other. It’s why they are so close. Then the guy took his shirt off.

HP followed suit, left the side room and went into the conference room shirtless to face a team of people wearing shirts.

He’d been pranked.

Listening to Candy and HP talk about that story there was no hint of aggression in HP’s voice. I thought he’d be livid. He doesn’t do pranks well, and he embarrasses easily. But he took it with stride, and actually thought it was funny. Why is he always so serious with me? Why can’t he have a laugh with me like this?

They left the flat, without saying ‘good-bye’ and I got up and dressed.

As I stood in the mirror, looking at myself, I pretended Candy was standing next to me. Her perfectly toned and blemishless skin. Hair that’s smooth and silky. Always manicured and wearing clothes that reveal just a little too much.

I, on the other hand, have gained a stone over the last year, my hair is an absolute mess and is always piled on top of my head in order to both hide the split-ends and get it out of the way. I’ve taken on a uniform of jeggings and an oversized shirt. I have never worn heals.

When did I give up on my appearance? I can’t remember the last time I used a hair-drier or put on make-up.

When I’m out to meet a client, speak with a publisher, or do any out of the office work, I have a couple of dresses that fit and I’ll wear those, and I’ll throw a scarf around my neck as a lazy accessory. But I have given up.

I picked up some eyeliner and was about to put it on when I thought about this. ‘Why do I feel bad for not wearing make-up? Why do I feel bad for no longer spending hours getting ready in the morning? Why can’t HP, why can’t the world, accept me for my accomplishments?’

Hell, why can’t I accept my own accomplishments? Here I am freaking out about being at a quarter-life point and unsure of where I’m going. I’m worried that I’m too much of an adult. I should be focusing on that I’ve achieved. Not on what I think may or may not be missing. And I certainly should not be worried about my appearance.

Looking like a mess of shit but feeling empowered I walked into the office. The Kate Middleton look-a-like Intern was at her desk, and Patch and DraggyFeet asked me about business cards. I said I’d get on ordering them, and gave them one of mine.

‘This is the information I need…’

Ha, ha. I was finally going to figure out what these people’s job titles are.

But alas. It’s backfired.

DraggyFeet said, ‘What? You’re an Agent? We thought you were the Office Assistant.’

Just a great start to my day.

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