Saturday, November 1, 2014

On Being Wolowitzed

Since my last post I've been asked about "being Wolowitzed".  What does it mean and how to recognize it?

First of all, I put a link to a show clip in the last blog.  If you didn't click on it, go back now to check it out.  Even thought it's humorous and the examples are outrageous, you clearly get the idea of what I  was talking about.

Being Wolowitzed is being given a negative compliment, and a negative compliment is an insult disguised as a compliment.  It's a real thing, google it.  Type in "The Neg" and see what you get.

For the most part, jerky men use "the neg" as a tool to pick up insecure women.  But as I said in my last post, the beauty industry uses it as well. I know because I've experienced it firsthand.

I want to tell you a little story.  This incident happened to me a couple of years ago. Even now when I think about it, it still makes my blood boil.

The first thing you need to know about me is that I'm pretty comfortable going out without makeup.  Maybe I wouldn't go to work without it, but for a casual day about town or lunching with friends, I feel quite comfortable going au natural.

And so it was one lovely, summer day in sunny, southern California as I was running my errands.  I stopped by the local mall to pick up some things I needed but also to spend some "me-time" window shopping.  It was a beautiful day and I was feeling great.

As I was shopping I happened to glance over at one of the center kiosks.  You know the ones I mean.  They take up a huge amount of space, sell crap that generally belongs at a flea market and usually have very intrusive sales people who accost anyone passing by.

In general, I avoid them like the plague, but on this particular day the beautiful Shop-girl somehow talked me into coming over to her booth and before I knew it, I was sitting in her chair while she applied her "very exclusive and proprietary" skin tightening cream with "secret ingredients found only in the Dead Sea."

Now I've got to hand it to this girl. She was good! As soon as I sat down, she began "complimenting" my bravery for going out without makeup. She remarked how cool it was that I could be so comfortable with how I looked; that I didn't worry what others might think.  She commented on how great my skin looked for a woman of my age, while also casually mentioning that I had crows feet, blotchy dark spots and jowls.  Oh yes, and my neck skin was getting a bit loose.  Of course, her miracle cream would rid me of those pesky problems for a mere $250.00 for a 2 ounce tube!  Are you kidding me?!

As I endured her barrage of "compliments" I felt my confidence drifting away.  My age insecurities (yes, I do have them) came flying to the surface and I was considering making the purchase, but once I heard the price my frugal side won out.  I practically jumped out of the chair and got the heck out of Dodge.

What happened next is the reason I'm telling this story.

As I continued with my shopping trip, every negative comment Shop-girl had said to me began running through my mind. Shame began creeping in.  I felt kind of weepy and was suddenly afraid to have anyone see my un-madeup face.  As I saw myself in the glass of the shop windows I passed, I imagined that I saw every single flaw she mentioned. Oh my gosh, I did have jowls!  As I continued walking, I started to look at the ground.  When I did catch someone looking my way, I assumed they were seeing all those horrid imperfections and wondering to themselves how I could bear to go out looking that way.  I began to seriously consider how I could afford that cream and I turned around to go back to the kiosk three times. 

With the joy of my me-time gone, I just gave up and went home.  But it wasn't over.

Shop-girl had really done a number on me.  I wore make-up every minute of every day for at least the next two weeks and the idea that I needed a face lift, something that had never before occurred to me, began to occupy my thoughts. It was bad.

It took some time but finally, the reality of what that girl had done to me sunk in.  For the sake of a few bucks, Shop-girl had verbally raped my self-esteem. And the saddest part is, like many victims of assault I had internalized it and taken the blame on myself.

I don't blame Shop-girl anymore.  She was just doing what she had been trained to do.  And I do mean trained to do it.  Not only by her company, but by the society we live in.

Female appearance has been scrutinized and dissected until even our pores are considered flaws.  And those dark blotches Shop-girl pointed out to me...they are freckles!  I've had them my entire life!  I like them!  Why, I ask you, can't the beauty industry just let me like my freckles for heaven sake??

Anyway, that's my tale of woe and I guess I can't do anything about it on the large scale.  What I can do is try to help you, my friends, be aware of it so that you won't fall victim to it as I did.

Let's also try not to adopt that kind of language in our own lives.  Have you ever opened a conversation with something like this, "Wow, you look great!  Have you lost weight?"  I'm ashamed to say I have. I'm cringing as I remember that just yesterday I told my mom she looked great in a certain pair of pants because they made her look slimmer.  Yeesh!

Maybe I can't stop Shop-girl from Wolowitzing another unsuspecting customer, but I can eradicate that type of language from my conversations.

FYI mom, you look beautiful with or without the pants!

No comments:

Post a Comment