Friday, February 17, 2006

Things I Say When I'm on Autopilot

This morning I got a call from one of my bosses. He asked me to tell some of his visitors that he would be running a little late. When I got to the lobby, there were two people sitting there. One was a man, sort of that Russian/European look (I think his name is Serguei, so now he's Russian) and the other was a plain woman with a heavy brow, Cheryl.

I explained that the boss would be a few minutes late and that they could sit in his office and have a cup of coffee while they waited.

Cheryl said, "You look familiar. Have we met?"

"It's possible," I said. "You look a little familiar too, sort of a young Judith Ivey. Do you know who she is?"


I'm not surprised. Cheryl is one of those women who, if she is not already married with kids, will probably wake up when all of her eggs have dried up and say, "Shit. I forgot to get married and have kids!" By this, I mean that she looks like she's a little too preoccupied with her work.

Cheryl's entire face is flesh toned - eyebrows, lips, etc. Her hair is straight and has a blunt cut at the shoulders. She was wearing a dark blue suit. She's sort of serious and has the firm handshake of an American business woman.

I imagined her going home tonight - to her two cats, stacks of reports to read over the weekend and a simple meal for one - and googling Judith Ivey before she settles in to work through a Friday evening. She'll gasp. "He thinks I look like her?" She'll ask.

"Oh please," I can hear myself saying, "I said a young Judith Ivey." Besides, Judith Ivey has a great look. She can look frumpy and haggered or she can glam it up really well. But she's not a conventional beauty, which you'd think Cheryl has discovered about herself over the past (I'm gonna guess) 36 years.

In college, I had a friend, Linda, who was a wallflower and a mess when I met her. When she finally came out of her shell, she started taking care of herself, wearing makeup, having her hair cut, dressing in womens clothing that fit. When we graduated four and a half years later, she was fabulous and confident. This was only partly due to my influence. It was mostly that Linda was a wonderful person with a quicky, snappy wit - and she wanted to feel sexy.

I probably thought for about three seconds about the Judith Ivey comment before I made it. Realistically, it was fine and she won't even think about it again. But what she should think about is perking up her look. Wear lipstick, arch the eyebrows, wear a nice skirt. She should ask me for some suggestions.

Of course, she won't.

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