Morning Maidens


Dear, you should not stay so late
Twilight is not good for maidens
From Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market”

Mirror, mirror, on the stave, who's the prettiest in her grave?

In my 20s, my dearest friend was Vanity.  She brushed my hair, colored my lips and eyes, and chided me for spending time in poorly dressed company.  As I aged, Vanity lost interest in me.  Her daughters, Sloth and Insecurity, began to encourage one another’s ambitions for me. In the golden years of my relationship with Vanity, I would put on a full face of makeup before leaving for the corner store.  Now, I’d call it a banner day if I slather on chapstick.

An interesting side effect is that, because I am less attractive (or declaring myself less interested in attracting, rather), I am nearly invisible to others when in public; easily overlooked beneath the waves of flush female flesh in Vanity’s thrall.

Sometimes I feel guilty for not trying.

Usually, I don’t think of it at all. But when I do, I feel defeated. Because even if I still tried, it feels to me like the USA views an aging woman’s “worth” as less than a youthful one’s… that if I put the same effort in to my appearance that I did as a younger woman, I couldn’t achieve the same effect and would garner pity instead of appreciation.  In fact, Jezebel.com recently wrote about how an aging woman is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t.

Twilight is not good for maidens, indeed.

Captured at the peak of their hygienic energies: carefully coifed, cosmetics applied… these women are forever beautiful.

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