10.11.2008

Do-over Make-over

I seem to be going through a bit of a makeover. Granted, it’s a slow, subtle makeover… but a makeover all the same.

I just got a new pair of glasses, for one. The last time I had glasses was the pair that I lost when I was in Grad School… about 8 years ago. I never bothered to replace them, and have just used my contact lenses ever since. I had that particular pair for about 7 years by that point… and they just didn’t go well with my face, anyway. (Maybe they did at one point… but in growing, my face changed shape a little, and I just didn’t like the way they fit… so I wasn’t heartbroken or even slightly stressed when they got misplaced)

I had shopped around a couple months ago, toying with the idea of going with glasses again (because putting in the contacts everyday can be annoying)… but the store I went into had the salesman wanting me to try on “all the latest styles”. I asked for a particular shape of frames, and he just told me how they “don’t really have any in that shape… they’re not in style. But these look good on you!” Yeah, thanks Sparky. But this isn’t a t-shirt or a funky pair of jeans… these are significantly more expensive… and are meant to last upwards of a few years, at the very least. So the LAST thing I want is the “latest style”… which will look very stupid as soon as the NEXT style is “in”. I want something that’s going to look good on ME… and compliment my face, no matter what the latest “style” is. No matter how often I said, “I don’t care what the latest style is”, he kept saying it. I eventually left, making it clear I wasn’t buying anything from him. Screw his commission. Maybe he should try actual customer service.

Then, a little over a week ago, I got a notice at work… I’ve been paying into a “flex medical spending” account all year. (If you buy anything vaguely medical… you can get reimbursed from this fund, as you’ve already paid for it. Mainly a handy way to keep some money aside for random medical stuff that comes up.) Apparently, if I don’t use up what’s in there before the end of the year… I completely lose it. So, I could just buy a bunch of cough syrup in December… but then I figured this is a good time to get those new eyeglasses.

So, I put the call out to some female friends and relatives… looking for anyone in the area who’s available to help me pick out a pair, or give suggestions. A female friend did say that she thought I’d look “delicious in glasses”… which was nice encouragement. One of my cousins said she was available, and recommended a store that she always had good luck with. I also got suggestions from my gay friends. (Because that’s who I trust for fashion advice… women and gay men. It seems to work.) I was told to look for “round, frameless lenses”… as they would compliment the shape of my face (which can look a little “blocky”), and be subtle enough to let my face be seen and not distracted.

That part actually fits my personal tastes. I don’t want something that says, “LOOK I’M WEARING GLASSES”. It’s like my shirts… I don’t do a lot of printed t-shirts with logos or funny sayings on them. I’d rather have people look at me and see *me*… not some clever art or gag that someone else wrote.

I think I did well with the glasses I picked out. They are frameless… and roundish (if not perfectly round). Not many people seem to notice them at first… but some eventually said, “Did you wear glasses before?” Yeah, I think that means they’re subtle enough.

The other big makeover element… is that I’ve been hitting the gym. Now, I don’t want to get to a point where I invalidate last year’s post about my fat days… but rather, I think this move compliments it. In the past, I had started working out after I was feeling particularly good about myself… this particular instance started a little differently.

I was at a friend’s house for his 8-year-old daughter’s birthday. I was there making animal balloons, juggling, etc… most of the stuff I used to do when I did children’s parties back West. Anyway… those kids tired me out WAY too quickly. And when I used to work with a Kid’s Theatre Group… I was helping to deal with 30+ kids every day for 5 days a week, for up to 6 weeks at a time. Now, one day for a few hours… I’m dead tired. Some pointed out, “Yeah, but you were in the Bounce-House… that will tire anyone out!” Which is true… maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad… but I still felt like I should have lasted longer than that. I so quickly got to the point of “over-exertion” that it seriously felt like something was wrong. So the next day, I went to the gym closest to my work, and signed up. (It helps that my work reimburses me for half the cost of the gym)

I do like this gym… much better than when I used to go to Schmally’s Total Fitness. Here, they tout it as a “judgment-free zone”. (Nice thought… but how do you control someone “thinking”?) They also have a trainer on-hand to help you out, almost all the time. When I joined Shmally’s… one of their bonuses was a “free hour with a personal trainer”, which was basically a one-hour advertisement to spend $1,000 to hire him. Wasn’t useful at all. Here, they actually sit down with you and create a personalized workout plan based on you and what your goals are. (My goals: “To have more energy, and to look good naked.” Hey, everyone’s thinking that… I just had the balls to say it.) That’s exactly what I need… a structured plan. If you just give me a bunch of machines and say “Go for it”… I’ll do a bunch of excercises, but I’ll end up missing a lot of key muscle groups, because I won’t know what I’m doing. They also gave me a little dietary advice, and they’re always willing to answer my questions whenever I ask. This is a much better place than Bally-… I mean, Schmally’s. (Don’t want to do any endorsements either way)

I started that program in mid-August. My goal was to hopefully see some decent results by Halloween. Figured 2 ½ months was a reasonable amount of time to do so. Well, since then, the bathroom scale has constantly said “205 lbs”… then again, my cat stepped across it the other day, and I could have sworn it said “205 lbs”… so I’m thinking I can’t exactly trust it. My arms have gotten a little bigger… and my legs are a little slimmer… yet I haven’t really noticed anything in the belly-area… the part I was mainly concerned about. But last week, when I went for a haircut… the girl that I go to asked me if I’ve lost weight, saying I look a little slimmer. That comment just ensured me going back to the gym for the next 2 months.

Some minor elements of the slow-make-over… I’m trying harder to upgrade my wardrobe. Last winter, I sprung for a new suit… which was a big step for me, actually. The first suit I ever got was the one my parents bought for my Senior Pictures in High School. Which I ended up also using for my Senior Pictures in College… and several other instances in between and after. I also got some hand-me-downs from relatives and whatnot… but no matter how often they said, “Wow, it looks like it was *made* for you…” I knew it wasn’t. It wasn’t *my* suit. None of them were. So this… in a very real sense… is my first suit. (I also picked up a navy blazer with it. Thank you, Men’s Wearhouse.)

Fashion-wise… my tastes are fairly simple. Most of my dress shirts and even t-shirts, are solid colors. I’m not big on patterns… but I’m trying to keep an eye out for striped shirts that I think look good. Again, though… it needs to be a simple pattern for me. Not 17 stripes of different shades of the same color… that’s too noisy for me. Even if they look good on me… I don’t like it. Pants… I like khakis mainly, but I’ll only wear my black slacks for work or something.

One of the qualities I’d really like to find in my next relationship is someone with a good sense of style. Someone that I can go shopping with and will do well with helping me to look nice. (Yes, I’m a man that doesn’t mind going shopping.) With my last relationship, we didn’t do that very often… I would have liked to, but not having a lot of money to do that with puts a damper on it. (The curse of the starving artist) She did help me pick out my first leather jacket… which I never wore that often, actually. I think the reminder of her (this was *that* relationship) dissuaded me from wanting to wear it… but thankfully, it doesn’t bother me that much anymore. (Which is good… because it’s coming up on the not-so-happy anniversary. Yes, I hate the fact that I still remember that.) So, these days I’m trying to wear it more often.

Now, I’ve tried to go through a few “make-overs” over the years… and oddly enough, usually whenever I did try to have a make-over… or at least make some “change” to myself that was noticeable to others… I found I got noticed by the opposite sex a lot more than usual, and sometimes would end up in a relationship within a couple of months. After I shaved my head (for a show) and sported the “bald” look for a while, I found several instances of being noticed. Same thing after I started dyeing my hair blonde and returned to school after working out for a summer. Maybe it was the confidence of feeling like a new person that showed through… or the drastic change that caught their attention… or maybe a bit of both. Who knows?

This certainly didn’t happen ALL the time… in fact, only a few relationships started after a make-over. Most of the time it was just little ole me from start to finish.

But the thing that I’ve noticed about make-overs… they’re not permanent. We think of them as potentially life-changing kinds of things… but after a period of time, we do fall back into old habits. At best, make-overs tend to be “temporary ego-boosters”… which can be a good thing. Many of us need more self-confidence more often. (I know I wouldn’t mind it) But the brief nature of them… can be a bit depressing.

Maybe that’s why I’m sticking to the “slow” make-over. Doing it slowly, over a longer period… trying to work on one element at a time, which will hopefully be healthier for me both physically and mentally. If it’s a choice between feeling FABULOUS about myself for a very short time… or feeling “pretty darn good” about myself for life. I’ll take the latter.

Sure, the changes will be subtle and gradual… so anyone that already knows me won’t overtly notice it right away. Plus, it’s a LOT harder to do it long-term… it’s easy to shave the head or dye the hair or get a new suit. But the hair grows in, the dye fades, and the suit won’t get worn all the time. But just maybe, while walking around on a normal day somewhere down the line, I’ll be able to catch the eye of someone new… someone that’s worth noticing, and who will find me to be noticeable, too.

At least now I’ll be able to see them… because I gots new glasses. :)

1 comment:

fritz said...

I'll be sure to give you feedback on the glasses while you're checking out my new dye job =).

It's good to know what your limits are (with anything, but specifically with clothes)--being comfortable with what you're wearing is more important imo than looking great in it. B/c if you feel good, you'll look better even if it's not the most flattering otufit (b/c self-confidence has so much to do with appearing attractive).