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Just Because You Can

…doesn’t mean you should.

What started me thinking about this was a woman in Starbucks. Quite lovely, well-dressed, great legs in obviously expensive stockings, she was standing beside me as we waited to order our lattes. But her eyeliner! Quite honestly, it ruined all the other finery she’d so carefully put together in an attempt look her very best.

She’d applied it–thick charcoal black–from the inner corners to the outer corners of her eyes. I think you can picture it and easily imagine the impression this make-up faux pa presented.

Less is more is usually a good rule of thumb to follow in most circumstances and particularly applicable when enhancing our feminity, whether it be with perfume, makeup, jewelry, or whatever other means we utilize. Outside of fetish parties, dungeons and hyper-sexual play, understatement and subtlety are usually much sexier and alluring than their reverse.

Some might say that painting oneself up like a Jackson Pollock canvas is downright tacky. Some might say that the propensity to “overdo” oneself reflects a lack of confidence. Dare I say I might agree?


I just finished reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and found myself thinking along these same lines–sort of a “grace of restraint”–when reflecting upon the quiet wisdom revealed through the plain voice of the novel’s narrator, John Ames. Repeatedly, despite opportunity and invitation, he chooses not to do things he could easily and righteously do. The simple goodness in that just amazes me. (If you are interested in more about this book, which did win a Pulitzer, check out the New York Times review by James Wood.)

Being still, choosing not to act, is not as easy as it sounds–at least not for me. I tend to be a Type A person by nature, a workaholic by design, and a Leo (the good, bad, and the ugly) by birth. But I try. Sometimes I get it right; sometimes I fail extravagantly. For example, I pretty much have a handle on not gossiping. In other words, just because I can say something, doesn’t mean I should. But when it comes to listening to gossip, I must confess, I’m all ears. So, shame on me. And now that I’ve admitted that in writing, I guess it’s time to start really working on it.

On that note, just because I can keep writing, doesn’t mean I should! So it’s off to bed for me.

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