A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All
I go to church on Sundays. Well, most Sundays. OK… many Sundays. I’m a nice Catholic girl these days… have been for about 10 years, ever since I married into a big Italian Catholic family and officially converted. I know, I know, “nice Catholic girls” don’t publicly write about things like sex, drugs, and how much they vehemently do NOT love their neighbors, but I go to confession every now and then, so it’s cool. I was actually raised as a non-practicing PresbyJewian, but once my parents got divorced, it was a spiritual Free-for-All. That’s probably why I was so attracted to the majesty and ritual of the Catholic Church… I love the consistency and dependability of it. It makes me feel safe and loved. Awwww! Group hug!
So listen, I want to give you a little heads-up, people. I am going to refer to and quote from the Bible in this post. If that is not your bag, baby, go ahead and leave now, I can take it. But, one thing you should know about Catholics – we don’t take the Bible literally. It is like the world’s oldest self-help book of Fairy Tales to us. We venerate it, we enjoy it, we believe it is the Word of God, but we also understand and factor in things like literary genres and historical context. Combine that disclaimer with the fact that I personally am a little “off,” and you have the makings for some thought provoking and colorful blasphemy. Read on at your own risk.
This past Sunday was a real hum-dinger at my church. First of all, I get a big kick out of the people watching element of attending a large Catholic church in an upper-middle class and increasingly hispanic but formerly rural area of the deep south. It is just a jambalaya of Glamour Magazine Fashion Don’ts, ya’ll. I don’t want to judge, because Lord knows I am no fashionista myself, but I do marvel at some of the choices women make on Sunday mornings. I believe that God is just happy when people show up and give him/her a little face-time; he/she does not care what you wear. But he/she probably doesn’t want to compete with you for the attention of the other parishioners! So ladies, save the hoochie jeans and low cut tank tops for date night. Seriously. I know I speak for others here… we can’t concentrate on our worship when we are ogling your fun parts. Personally, I’m a No-Denim-in-the-House-of-the-Lord kind of girl. But that is just me. I know I’m a little old fashioned on that one, but also, I don’t have a single pair of jeans that is appropriate for all that kneeling, unless I want to risk someone accidentally depositing their weekly donation envelope into the coin slot that peeks out of the back of my jeans every time I bend over. Not appropriate.
Moving on. The first reading last Sunday was from the Book of Proverbs (31:9b-31). It went something like this:
“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value…
Blah, blah, blah. Blabbity, blah, blah.
…She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks…
blah blah – more about being a good wife…
…She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy…
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness….
…yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. I am lazy! Thank God I didn’t live in Biblical times!…
AND THEN THE AHA MOMENT:
…Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
It was exactly what I needed to hear that day. I had been obsessing over my witch mole. I have one of those birth marks on my face that sticks out like someone glued half a skin-colored raisin to my cheek. When I was a little girl, it was just a dark “beauty mark” on my cheek like Cindy Crawford’s signature mole. But now that I’m 38 and all hormonally out of whack from birthin’ so many millions of babies, my skin is changing. That once flat, dark, cute, quirky freckle is now a puffy pale witch mole. But wait, there’s more. There are actual hairs that grow out of it! No joke. Dark. Wiry. Hairs. Several hairs. Maybe even a bunch. It is disgusting. I pluck it daily. And I’m constantly touching it to see if a new hair has sprouted that needs to be immediately excised. STOP EVERYTHING! I have a mole hair. Be right back. My kids totally tease me for it too. Klepto says things like “Mommy? My teacher looks just like you! She is really pretty and has short brown hair just like you! Only, she doesn’t have pimples and moles, so she’s prettier.” Nice. I’m just waiting for someone to come at me like Austin Powers, totally mesmerized by it (in a bad way), and breaking into a fit of Tourette’s, shouting “MOLE! MOLE! MOLE-AY MOLE-AY MOLE-AY!” It keeps me up at night.
I bet if I added up all the time I spend plucking my facial hair, I would have extra days every year to do noble works of charity, or read more to my kids, or watch Rock of Love II with Bret Michaels marathons on VH1.
So yeah, clearly I’ve been obsessing about it. Thinking about getting it sliced off at the dermatologist. Why not? If Sarah Jessica Parker can part with her signature witch mole, why can’t I? Look, it might be a health issue! What if it is precancerous! I don’t think I should take any chances! I’m just wondering, if the mole goes bye-bye, will the hairs still grow out of the scar? Will it leave a scar? What is worse, a hairy witch mole or a scar? So much to ponder!
But hearing that reading Sunday morning about how important it is to be a person of character, a good wife, and a hard working, caring member of the community snapped me back to reality and helped me to focus on what is really important. I want to be a good person. I want to be a good wife, and mother, and world citizen. Who cares what I look like?! Beauty fades. What matters most is how pretty I am on the inside! Did people make fun of Mother Theresa’s moles and facial hair? Probably. But those people are burning in the fiery pits of Hell right now. If I am a good person, people will surely look beyond my outward appearance and judge me by my good works, right?! I have nothing to fear but The Lord.
So I went home from church and decided to tackle some piles of clutter, as I promised Oprah and Peter Walsh I would with my “Clean Up Your Messy House Pledge” last week. Then I loaded up some stuff that I wanted to donate to the needy and drove over to the local Goodwill store. I unloaded my boxes and bags and felt pretty good about my contribution to the greater good. And then, it happened:
“Would you like a receipt, sir?” the Goodwill volunteer asked me.
Mwah, mwah, mwah.
She just called me “sir.”
So much for the greater good. So much for beauty being only skin deep. That one syllable shook me to the core. That myopic volunteer bitch. With one slip of the tongue, she totally transported me back to that time when I was ten, standing in line at the county fair with my little brother, when a sweet little old lady asked my mom: “How old are your boys?” Ugh.
Since I’m trying to be a good person, I have to ask myself, “What Would Jesus Do?” Maybe he was called “Ma’am” a time or two with his gorgeous flowing hair and long robes. Did he freak out? Probably not. But he was also the son of God and very forgiving. So instead, I’ll ask, “What Would Oprah Do?” I’m guessing she would not take that shit lying down. I’ve seen enough of her makeover shows to know that she truly believes “being as cute as you can be” is a key ingredient to feeling good… and when you FEEL good, you can do better work in all areas of your life.
So, quick word of advice gals, don’t forget your lipstick when you are out there doing good works for the greater good, because there is nothing that can take the wind out of your sail like being mistaken for a man.
And as for the hairy witch mole, well, maybe I’ll look into having it removed, purely for health reasons of course. If you would like to contribute to the cause, please send your donation in care of The Bearded Iris. I’ll deposit it in my coin slot for you, sir.
© 2008 The Bearded Iris