Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Don't Do Things So You Can

There is a web site I follow called "I Do Things So You Don't Have To." It can be kind of funny. Some of her recent entries include: "I Help the Masses," "I have Brilliant Ideas" and "I Buy Quisp".

I decided that I would be better writing a "I DON'T do things so you can" type of entry.

I got this idea when I was with my mother the other day. She was talking about her recent hair appointment and out of curiosity I asked her when the last time was that she actually washed her own hair. She said it was about 3-5 years ago, when her hairdresser went on vacation for two weeks. She hasn't washed her own hair in at least three years!!! Each time she goes to a hair appointment, it's at least $25 (unless she gets a permanent), so she's paying at least $100 a month for getting her hair washed (and set and styled).

If I go to Supercuts ($12) three times a year, that's a lot. I should go three times, but I keep putting it off until my hair gets so long I can't stand it any more. A couple times I went to a hair stylist and paid the $40 (he gave me a discount because I'm a friend of Ellen and Shelly) and then felt guilty because I'd spent so much.

There are a lot of things that normal women do on a regular basis that I don't.

My mother loves shoes, for example and has over 50 pairs in her closet. Granted she usually gets them at the thrift shop where she works, but I know people who love shoes and are always buying a new pair. The only reason I'm in "new" (bought ~3 years ago) Berkinstocks is because (a) a puppy ate the toe out of the pair I had been wearing for twenty years and (b) Lynn decided she wanted to buy something for me.. I also have walking shoes that have also been used as a doggie teething ring. I remember Walt flinching visibly at the $120 price tag when I bought them. I can still lace them up, so I put up with the frayed lining.

But I don't "do" shoe shopping. I don't do "shopping" as a leisure activity at all. I listen to women who plan to go shopping and go out to lunch as a fun thing to do on an afternoon and come home with lots of cute new things. First of all, clothes shopping is a major trauma for me because of my size and the difficulty in finding any thing that fits, much less looks decent. I have a large supply of black pants-- some of them holey with puppy teeth marks--and a lot of t-shirts, which I usually buy on line (as I do the black pants). I could probably shop in a big ladies' store, get somebody to help me find something that would look good and join the "shoppers' brigade," but I just don't.

Besides, what's the point in spending money to look like crap?

I know women who have regular massages and swear by them. I even have a daughter-in-law who is a massage therapist (but who doesn't believe in family discounts!). I've had two massages in my life. One was when Marta needed people to be guinea pigs for a class she was teaching (I lucked out and got her instructor. I was doing physical therapy for my dislocated shoulder at the time and he was absolutely wonderful). The other was a session with Marta, where she also worked on my shoulder. But those "take a day off and relax at the spa" days that I hear women rave about are not part of my experience.

I've also only had two professional manicures and one pedicure in my life. I had a manicure the day before I got married and I went with the group of women who went to the nail salon the day before Walt's sister got married and had a manicure and pedicure then. I have to admit that it felt very good, but I can't justify the expense to do it on a regular basis, though most of the women I know do get their nails done on a regular basis.

I buy no cosmetics whatsoever. No lipstick, no creams, no hair products other than shampoo, no mascara. That part of the store is a mystery to me.

There is a jewelry commercial running with the guy talks the men about buying the woman in their life some diamonds to add to her "jewelry wardrobe." Who knew you were supposed to have a jewelry wardrobe. I used to buy cute earrings, but in the last three or four years, earrings started bothering my ears. I don't have a clue why. I now wear earrings for a month or so, then take a couple of months off and then put earrings back on again. But I don't shop for jewelry. I have a beautiful opal necklace that I wear all the time and I'm happy with that. I'm not someone who will be excited if you buy me jewelry, nor do I shop for jewelry for myself.

People can't believe that I cook dinner almost every night and that we almost never order food to be brought in. Once in a great while one of us will go out to get Chinese food to bring home, but it's been years since we ordered a pizza. I also feel guilty when I splurge on ready made foods that just need to be heated up, since I know I can make it myself for probably less than the price of the ready-made food (and what else do I have to do all day?)

I know people who go to the movies several times a month. If we see four movies in a year in the theatre that's a big movie year! I also know people who can't see a movie without popcorn, candy and a drink. Believe it or not I am able to go two hours without eating! So far this year I have seen four movies, 3 with Walt and Julie and Julia with Rosemarie. We keep seeing movies that we think we'd like to see, but we never actually get to the theatre to see them.

Walt used to give me a hard time for buying "miscellaneous sundries at Longs," which is where I did the bulk of my non-supermarket shopping. Often the "miscellaneous sundries" included toilet paper or cleaning supplies or other things that I had forgotten to pick up at the supermarket. Sometimes they included frivolous things like greeting cards or some sort of doo-dad to try in the kitchen or to organize junk somewhere in the house. My biggest expense was always film, photo developing and printing, which ended abruptly when I got a digital camera in 2000.

But I think all things considered, I don't do too badly in the money spending department. And I make the sacrifice so that there is more of all of that for all of you to enjoy! I hope you appreciate me.


Nicole said...

I am glad I am not the only one who doesn't do any of those things (well, I do buy mascara). All this shopping all the time my friends do, it's amazing. I always thought it's an American thing! I hate the freaking mall. After the fires, I have exaclty 2 pairs of shoes and I like it that way. Moving into our new house last week was easy, two trips with my corolla, it feels oddly comforting to have no clutter at all. At some point we are going to have some furnitures:) but in the meantime we fell blessed to live in this beautiful new house and having survived in the first place. Let's start a movement: down with shopping to distract from the the real issues and find something meaningfull to do, like helping at the homeless shelter, anything that is not egocentric!

Mary Z said...

I'm definitely in your camp, Bev!