The lady in charge of maintenance for my office building said to me one day, "When you first came, you didn't look like someone that was married and with kids. Then you put the photos of your daughter up on your desk, and I was so surprised!" Hmm, I thought to myself, do I take that as a compliment or not? I asked her. And she said, "Yes, it's meant to be a compliment! You don't look 'mumsy' at all."
Hmm… "mumsy". I know what she meant though. Even though I was thinking to myself that my figure is getting to look pretty mumsy, especially with my flabby tummy, I knew that there were other women my age that looked more mumsy than me. They're the types that wear mom jeans. I am so not ready to be as mumsy as that. And the thing is, it's not that they're fat or anything, because some are quite svelte, but they still look mumsy. For example, they always wear beige, or this diluted green color. And they wear those mumsy shoes, those Scholl sandals. Ya, you know… mumsy. But they are all around my age… so what gives? Have these women just given up?
You're meant to look mumsy when you've reached 50 or something like that. There is one lady who is younger than me, and she is very mumsy! She even tells you to finish your food during lunch and to eat your vegetables! I am not that mumsy. Although I may chide my own family for not eating right, I don't really force my colleagues to finish their food. "Finish up your rice, it's just a bit more," she said, and she wasn't joking, either.
Honestly, it's something you tell your kids to do, not grown adults.
I don't mind that she's mumsy, just that it's a bit disturbing. She probably has a great figure underneath all the over-sized clothes she wears. She's 2 years younger than I am, and so she should be enjoying her youth, and not rushing to be more matronly. She's slim, not overweight. She has one child, same as me. I think she would love a good make-over, with her hair all done up nicely, and shaped eyebrows and nice make-up. She watched me put on my make-up after Asar prayers in the surau one day and commented that she has never put on that much make-up in her life. And I was only putting on powder, eyeliner, and lipbalm.
"Not even powder?" I asked.
"Not even powder."
But she has pretty good skin, no pimples or anything. I suggested that she try some on herself to see if she liked having make-up on, and whether it would please her husband, but she just said it would be too much work.
There's the explanation right there. Too much work.
Is that why most women opt to look mumsy over looking great and contemporary? Because it's less work? (I mean not that I look great all the time, I just don't try to look mumsy). I remember when Kate Gosselin (from Jon & Kate Plus Eight) first delivered her sextuplets, she hadn't done her tummy tuck procedure yet, so she did look very mumsy. She was always in sweat pants and t-shirts for like the first 6 months or so. And in an interview, she did admit that she didn't even bother to try to look pretty because it was so tiring to chase after 8 young children. Then when the sextuplets got older, and they had more money to hire some household help, she had more time to spend on taking care of her appearance, and started going shopping for clothes other than sweat pants and t-shirts.
I believe in the saying "Look great, feel great." So as long as you try to look good, it'll make you feel good. And it doesn't matter if you have a mumsy figure, you can still opt to vary the outfits you wear than just a pair of floppy pants and an over-sized shirt and sandals. There is a lady here, who is right about to retire, and she's a grandmother, but she never looks mumsy! Sure, she dresses her age, but she never looks mumsy. She wears pumps, beautifully tailored linen shirts, slim-cut pants, and always has her hair done nicely, and is always never without her bright red lipstick. You can't tell that she's a grandmother just by looking at her. But I've seen spinsters who look like they could have had many grandchildren.
This blog entry is not meant to make you feel ugly, but meant to make you be a little more self-conscious, and to make you think twice about being lazy when it comes to your appearance. Because remember "look great, feel great." Accept your body shape, but at the same time, try to find different styles that compliment your body shape so that your body doesn't become something that you are ashamed of. There is a pear-shaped lady who works here, but she always looks good. She has a fancy way of wearing her hijab, too, that sort of balances her whole figure, and doesn't make her look fat. These women inspire me. And they should inspire you, too.