Does anyone actually look at the file names I give these things?

The people who work with me in the downtown offices of Toronto are nice enough. But I just don't see myself completely becoming a part of their high-falutin' corporate world. These "Things" were pretty much foreign to me until I started working in a downtown tower.

Thing A: The Tiffany item-of-the-moment.

A year ago it was the "Return to Tiffany" sterling silver necklace or bracelet. This year it seems to be the Tiffany beaded bracelet or Tiffany Elsa Peretti® open heart pendant. Every third woman seems to have one of these items of jewellery.

Don't get me wrong — I like jewellery. It's nice 'n shiny. Looks pretty. But these Tiffany things are simply a "look what my husband/boyfriend/career bought me... and baby I'm so worth it" baubles. Every pussy-whipped dude in a suit is buying his gal one of these things, and he's getting laid because he brought her something in a little blue box.

I think these women like the fact that it's a signature Tiffany piece, because that will mean every other woman will know she got something from the exclusive boutique on Bloor. It's not what it looks like, it's about where it came from.

Thing B: The spa day.

I have heard many times the virtues of a spa day. Seems there's few things more indulgent in these women's lives than to sit around and have other people attend to their egos and epidermis by slathering, scrubbing, rubbing, scraping, massaging and filing away at parts of their bodies.

I'm not all that comfortable with physical contact with strangers, let alone most people I know. I don't like bumping people in elevators, accidentally nudging people in line, getting a physical pat on the back or arm, and such. In fact, if we've made bodily contact, and it wasn't obliged by societal standards (ex: hugging a relative good-bye), you should consider yourself honoured.

I'm also not good with just sitting in one place and doing nothing. I get restless watching TV. I'm not good at lying by the pool or sitting in the bar.

So the thought of having a complete stranger dabbing mashed avocado on my face so I can sit immobilized for a fifteen minutes... it gives me the willies.

I've never had a pedicure or manicure. I have had waxing done a few times, but the results were either inconsistent, incomplete, or bruised me. Yeah, giant nasty-ass bruises right at my crotch... THAT's what I want to show the good people of Playa Del Carmen. I'm sure they'll think it's the esthetician. Even if I strike a "who cares what others think" attitude, John doesn't need evidence that other people have recently been that athletically involved around my fiddly-bits. Ack!

Thing C: The power 'do.

Okay, I'll admit to getting into the habit of straightening my hair for work. And I will also admit to having it coloured ever-so-subtly twice. The straightening now is because my hair has been doing its own thing lately... fine for the weekends, but not so great when you may have to talk to a VP or the CMO of the bank. So I try to make sure I don't look like weekend-me.

However, some of these women are crazy about their hair. They get it highlighted on a bimonthly basis. They form lasting relationships with hairdressers and colourists. They get their hair done during multiple-hour lunches and will miss important meetings because they're having a colour crisis.

If everyone could just take it down a notch, I know it would make me feel just a little more comfortable about my occassional bad hair day.

Thing D: The "gym".

I go through cycles where I enjoy working out. (Enjoy in the sense that I find it therapeutic and without it I would possibly go on a homicidal rampage.) But ever since I had to undress in front of my classmates in Grade 7, I've hated the idea of working out in a group.

I know I have some areas for improvement. I know my half the time I look like I'm about to fall over. I know my face goes beet red when I exert myself beyond opening a jar of spaghetti sauce. I don't need to share common space with strangers, or possibly co-workers, who look at me with concern and say "You okay?" I don't need to spend more than a donut-a-day for a health club membership. Frankly I'd rather have the donut.

There's so much guilt and self-righteousness wrapped up in whether someone does or doesn't go to the gym. Guess what: That half hour of running isn't going to work off two hours of drinking. Get over the guilt, take the stairs once in a while, and either buy a girdle or cut out the weekly martini nights.

Thing E: The "help".

Housekeepers, cleaning ladies, dog walkers and nannies. They blow my freakin' mind.

I have a hard enough time calling the plumber for anything other than when our well pump goes out. I'd love someone to clean the house for me, but I simply don't want strangers in my house when I'm not here. I don't want to have to worry about locking up my "private things". (You wanna know what they are? Not tellin'... that's what makes them private.)

I know if I was a housekeeper, I'd snoop. Especially if someone said "just clean the downstairs." Quite frankly I don't want to think twice about where I leave my tiddly-winks. I don't need the stress of "gotta tidy because the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow".

The nannies are the people that really freak me though. My co-workers somehow earn enough to pay for another adult person to live — and that's on top of the money they need to pay for the x# of kids and the xxx# of toys for themselves and their kids. I just can't wrap my head around it.

I suppose it's guilt really. I'd feel way too guilty to pay someone jack-squat-all to do something I could do myself.

Admittedly, some of the things above are things I think I should give a try, if for no other reason than to enrich my life. I'm considering them for Kathleen Improvement 2006©. Perhaps I'd enjoy a hot stone massage. It has been waaaay too long since I got my hair cut, so perhaps I'm overdo for a new 'do. And maybe, just maybe, I can try locking up my private things and see how the other half gets their houses clean. But personally, I'd rather just take all that dough and put it toward something that will set us free, like eradicating our debt.

 

kat@adchick.com