Beautify

Beautify

It occurs to me
in the shower
that since
I am
to be sharing my bed
again
soon
perhaps
I ought to shave.
It’s the only thing I know to do.
I am clueless
as to how
girls
fathom these things.
I have only just discovered
baths
and even then
I am impatient
to get out.
I despair at myself.
How will I teach my daughter
womanly wiles
when
the chemist
is bewildering,
a plastic jungle
of
tooth and claw
and mostly false,
where buying
anything,
anything –
is just plain
awkward.
Don’t mention waxing,
although I wish you would;
a detailed explanation
of the
practical indignity
of
acquiring
a film star’s
topiary
might
be useful.
I could always
fall back on
the NHS
like when I was
a worried virgin
fretting about
bleeding
in the middle of
my honeymoon
(my Mother
having already
dismissed me
curtly
with
Why would it matter?)
and the GP’s nurse
said
roll two packs
together
that’s what
prostitutes
do

2 Comments on “Beautify

  1. A great poem! As someone who fretted endlessly about body hair as a teenager and young woman – it really resonates. These days though I find that womanly wiles of the hairless and plucked variety are overrated. I have instead been teaching my own daughter about the sheer impossibility of living up to anything like a film star’s topiary and about how it’s great to inhabit your skin and knowingly be a human being, that is to say: A mammal with hair. Also, that womanly wiles, of the kind I find are most appreciated, spring directly from an open and grateful acknowledgement of that very humanity and not from spending precious time, self esteem and money on “beauty products”.
    My mind is boggling by the way as regards the advice from your GP’s nurse…. Roll two packs of WHAT together like prostitutes do??!

    • Thanks Ruth! Yes the whole issue of ‘womanly wiles’ is one for deep thought. I agree, who says we must shave etc anyway? I’ve been thinking about it all a lot recently as my daughter is approaching an age when it all seems relevant. It’s interesting isn’t it! Writing this poem definitely gave me food for thought. As for GPs nurse she was talking about ‘the pill’! What boggles me about that incident was 1. It was so bizarre of her to make that reference and 2. how what was a fairly off hand comment on her part lodged in me and made me feel quite ashamed. I feel things too deeply sometimes! ☺️

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