First was a brilliantly clever post by Angelique titled National Other Woman Day, an ingenious look at a new business opportunity for entities which have already exhausted the commercial potential of Valentine's Day and the various related (Insert Individual/Group Here) Days.
The second was this article, which estimated the total annual cost of looking as good as actress Jennifer Aniston at approximately $141,037 ... a figure that includes the costs of skin care ($1186.95), hair care, makeup and makeup artist ($4,402.00), eyebrow sculpting and maintenance, the amortized cost of two nose jobs, spray tan ($45.00 every two weeks), personal trainer for body maintenance (about $900 per week), diet (services of a dietician and specially-made meals - about $685.00). I didn't double-check the math, but supposedly the whole annual tab to look like this ...
... comes to $141,037, which is not chump change.
I think Jennifer Aniston is a beautiful lady. But somehow, I think that spending more than $141,000 per year to look beautiful is a bit over the top.
Now, I believe in looking good. Or, at least, in looking as good as a well-used 60-year-old can. I take a shower every day, shave on most days, comb my hair, carefully pack the bags under my eyes, and generally dress in a fashion that won't make Agnes roll her eyes and ask are you going to wear that? Regina cuts my hair at the local Hair Cuttery every two weeks for $19.00. I could probably use a nose and ear hair sculptor, but that's probably going a bit too far.
But what else could you buy for that $141,037? Extrapolating from figures on the College Board website, the average cost (tuition and fees) of a four-year degree program at a high-end college was $144,000 ($36,000 per year) ... $141,037 would make a pretty respectable down payment. It wouldn't make you look as good on the outside, but it would certainly help polish up the brain underneath all the hair and makeup and sculpted eyebrows.
The third thing that helped give me the idea for this post was a song by the Italian singer Milva titled Sonntagsgesicht - literally, Sunday Face. It tells the story of the mistress who always wears her special face - her Sunday face - for her lover ...
Du siehst immer nur mein Sonntagsgesicht,
Du siehst nie mein Alltagsgrau;
Keine Angst, damit belaste ich dich nicht -
Ich bin doch nicht deine Frau.
You always see my Sunday face,
You never see the everyday one;
Don't worry - I'm not complaining about it -
After all, I'm not your wife.
The second line uses the wonderfully expressive and impossible-to-adequately-translate word Alltagsgrau, which literally translates as everyday gray.
So, where am I going with all this?
You don't have to ... or, at least, you shouldn't have to ... spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to put aside the Alltagsgrau. I appreciate a beautiful lady as much as the next man (look who I married, after all), but I think there's a practical limit to what one ought to spend to look good. I'm reminded of the old joke about the man who picked up a good-looking lady at a club and took her back to his apartment for the night ... and after she'd taken off the fancy clothes, makeup, hair extensions, padded bra, false eyelashes, press-on fingernails, and other beauty enhancements, she disappeared.
Work on the inner beauty. After a while, even $141,037 will only help the outside so much. And, in most cases, the Alltagsgrau isn't as bad as you think.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.