The less I care about how I look, the more I feel like myself.
I’ve had exactly one manicure in my life and that’s because someone gave me a gift certificate to a spa. I don’t color my hair. My favorite lipstick is chapstick. I’m always clean, well-groomed, and appropriately dressed, but everything else is optional, and I prefer not to opt in.
This is my current twitter picture.
No makeup, unfussy hair, black and white photo. It’s not really a flattering picture, is it? But it’s exactly how I look day-to-day and I want to be my authentic self online. My authentic self is a low-maintenance gal.
Being low-maintenance does not mean I’m lazy or I don’t like pretty things. Nor does it make me less of a lady. I smile a lot. I flirt. I love to hold babies and my favorite color is pink.
My style icon is Firefly’s Kaylee Frye.
She’s sweet, she’s feminine, but she’s just not interested in obsessing about her looks. Kaylee dresses up sometimes, but only when it’s fun to do so.
So in honor of Kaylee Frye, here are the top ten benefits of being a low-maintenance gal.
10. I don’t spend money on makeup. I slap some sunscreen on my face and I’m good to go.
9. My bathroom is tidy because I don’t have a zillion little jars all over the counter. There is always room on my countertops and in my vanity drawers.
8. I travel light. That TSA rule about 3 ounce bottles in a quart-sized ziplock? No problem.
7. I can walk for miles and miles in my very cute, very flat shoes.
6. I’m a good role model for my kids. I’m showing them what a healthy, confident woman looks like. I don’t criticize my own looks and I hope they never criticize theirs.
5. Getting dressed up can be fun sometimes. It’s even more fun when it’s outside my usual routine. And special occasions feel even more special because I’ve made an effort.
4. I have nice skin. Maybe it’s because I don’t put makeup on it. Or maybe it’s the other way around and I don’t have to put makeup on already good skin. Either way, I’m happy.
3. I can get ready to go at a moment’s notice. You want to go somewhere fabulous five minutes from now? Come pick me up. I’ll be ready.
2. I’m compassionate. With my own very low beauty standard, I’ve got no place to judge yours. I have never—not once—commented on someone’s weight, hairstyle, or clothes, not even in my own mind. Because I literally do not care. I notice what people wear and how they fix their hair. I enjoy their efforts. I don’t keep score.
1. I’m never going to be the prettiest or best dressed person in the room. It’s incredibly freeing. I’m the opposite of self-conscious. I’m okay with not being the pretty one or the cool one or the fashionable one. I can just be.
Other people like to go all-out with clothes and shoes and makeup and that is great. A chic hairstyle and flawless makeup is a joy to behold. Fashion is an art form. It truly is.
Like Kaylee, I appreciate all the pretties. I love that these women make our world a more beautiful place.
And I especially love that they never ask me to go to shopping with them.
About the author: Alex Kourvo writes near-future thrillers under the pen name M.H. Mead. Her characters are usually too busy chasing (or running from) bad guys to put on lipstick.
[Photo credits: Fox Film Corporation / Mutant Enemy Productions]