That’s what I would have said if someone asked me six months ago if I’d ever go to work, arrive at a meeting, or go anywhere aside from running errands or the gym without a full face of makeup on. I know you know where this is going. The first time it happened, Zoom Without Makeup (ZWM), it was an accident. I promise you it was. My girlfriend and I have been walking 4-5 miles two to three days per week at 7am. I walked, grabbed Starbucks, did my morning pages, without remembering I had a Zoom meeting. Suddenly, as I was sipping my tea and writing, my laptop and phone buzzed – Zoom call in 15 minutes. Wait…what?! I panicked but decided that since the meeting was internal, it would be okay. Not that my co-workers had EVER seen me without makeup. But whatevs…it was going to be fine. And, shocker, it was. I made the obligatory apologies, “I just got back from walking four miles,” and the meeting went on without anyone seeming to notice.
I don’t know about you but I typically have at least two Zoom calls per day. So when another day arrived, shortly thereafter, and I was again running low on time…it just sort of happened. I’d seen many other women go without makeup and I started to be okay with it.
I cannot stress enough how completely unlike me this is. I have never EVER gone without makeup in a professional setting. Even on the rare occasions I’d meet up with girlfriends after a day cleaning the house or something, I would warn them on my way that I was without makeup. This was not a thing for me until COVID.
As the days and Zoom calls without makeup started to pile up, it became less and less bizarre, and more and more normal. I could go into how I have also been living in workout clothing 24/7 since March and how odd that is, but I think most people stopped getting dressed up early on. And to be fair, as I am a child of the ‘80s who grew up on the aerobics show where women wore matching leotards, tights, Walkman belts, socks, legwarmers, and shoes – I look fairly well put together in workout gear. I am always matchy matchy – even though I totally understand that’s no longer supposed to be a thing. So I guess what I’m saying is I look put together in an ‘80s way with 2020 Athleta clothing.
Oy vey – I digress.
I haven’t even mentioned hair. I have long hair which means doing my hair takes time and effort. In addition to it being long, it’s naturally curly, which means I have to either do it curly (takes forever) or do it wavy (takes forever). For months now I have been perfecting the top bun my 16 year old wears because it’s SO cute on her. I think it looks pretty cute on me too – my husband sometimes calls me Mrs. Garret which really is not what I look like – but I do see his point.
So to be clear. I have been attending meetings. With clients. With no makeup, my hair in buns or ponytails, and wearing matchy matchy outfits made of spandex. I mean…put this way…even I see I have a problem.
When I do something really crazy like wear jeans (I know, right?!) to go to dinner with my husband I feel the need to text my girlfriends just to tell them that yes, I can indeed still fit into my jeans, and I look presentable. The bar is low people. The bar. Is. Low.
So when my husband asked if I could help him with a project in his empty office, on a workday, my mind raced. Because while his office is empty, it connects to a larger office where there are still people going to the office every single day in suits. I mean…the horror. I had to not only plan to not wear Athleta, but I had to plan to wear something that wasn’t ripped jeans.
Last night I worked until 11:30pm (working from home = working a lot of the time), then I showered because I knew I needed to get up this morning and legit get ready. I got up, put on dress pants (!!!), a thin form fitting sweater (!!!!!), and pointy toe shoes (!!!!!!!). And GD if I didn’t feel like a baller. I did all of my morning stuff – Starbucks, morning pages, and started prepping for a couple of Zoom calls I had to do before heading downtown Minneapolis to pretend to be a real office worker. Just before my first call, my husband informed me that he’d had a couple of meetings come up today and that it wouldn’t work for me to go in.
But…but…I looked so good! And sure, I hadn’t yet put my makeup on (still haven’t and it’s nearly 10pm). And no, I hadn’t yet started to deal with my hair (still in a top bun even now). But my outfit was fantastic! So I kept it on. The entire day. I even kept my shoes on. And, of course, it felt ah-mazing.
I’m sure I’ve written before about how when I look good, I feel good. I think this is true for most people. But I feel like we’re in this crazy bizarre space in which we’re living in the Upside Down. Everything that used to be, isn’t really anymore, at least for now. I guess I wouldn’t have predicted that sitting in my home office, dressed up, would feel awesome. My gut reaction to that is, wouldn’t spandex have been more comfortable? Wouldn’t really really soft material feel nicer?
But comfy and soft are not always what is best for us. Or certainly not for me. Comfy and soft, after awhile, might feel comfy and soft but really be making me a little miserable and unhappy. I mean, really, I do not want to be a slug who can’t muster the will to put on makeup or do my hair. And believe me, I get that we need to be kind to ourselves right now, I totally understand that. But I also am not super interested in letting myself get away with the bare minimum just because I can. That isn’t going to make me feel better. It’s not going to make me get more or better work done. It’s not going to allow me to rise to anything more than what I currently am. Which is fine – but my goals in life are not to be where I am right this second.
Which, admittedly, after working out and showering is back in my Athleta gear – but FFS it’s 10pm and that is okay.
I guess it’s time to hang up the hoodies with thumb holes, sports bras, and capris leggings with stash pockets. Sigh.