(Thanks to materfamilias for planting the seed of this idea, in her wonderful blog, materfamilias writes.)
How long are you willing to spend (on a normal day) on grooming (hair, makeup) and exercise, time spent strictly on your appearance and fitness? I'm not asking how long you'd like to spend, or how long you could spend, but what's the reasonable time you budget before that voice in your head says, "That's enough"?
Or is your "allowance" never self-imposed? If I allot more than one hour 15 min. for exercise I start to think (even if I'm having fun), "Better get back to all the other stuff."
Or I think, "Oh god, I am turning into one of those self-absorbed idiots who only care about their figure, and it's too late anyway, so I am pathetic."
If I fuss for over 6-7 minutes on my face, I imagine morphing into an over-painted, brittle mutton-tart.
In my 20s, I knew young women who spent hours preparing to go out. I called them "pretty miserable girls". My technique was throw-on-a-dress and out the door, while they hot-rollered and teased, curled their lashes. My laissez-faire approach was its own vanity.
When I worked out in my 30s, the staff at Body Design by Gilda would whisper about women who took two or three aerobics classes in a row daily. "The first class is for your body", one said, "the next one is for your head."
I thought that spending a lot of time (define "lot", I don't know) on myself was narcissistic, neurotic and would not yield spectacular results anyway.
I still think that, more or less, but look forward to occasional longer walks, or an extended yoga workshop. My GF Susan and I just spent a blissful afternoon at
Body Blitz, the therapeutic water spa, and I had not one shred of guilt.
But I still resist spending serious time in front of a mirror. Maybe I'm just avoiding staring at my wrinkles.