I wouldn’t say I was a “girly girl” exactly. I’m strong. I’m opinionated. But I love the differences between men and women. Perhaps it is my years in France. Perhaps I should own up to a few girly girl tendencies all the same. But I’ve fallen behind. Way behind – in everything that enables me to feel feminine and womanly.

One look at my feet, and you could tell. No pedicure – the one thing I always maintain (done by my own hand), with my toe nails usually a luscious shade of red. Or more precisely, Cherries in the Snow or Cherry Crush.

But not at the moment.

As for all the other “girl stuff?” I was never big on it – not hair salons or spa treatments, no mani-pedi at some overpriced boutique, or even a small facility in the local strip mall. But beautiful lingerie – for the pleasure it gave me? A hint of makeup any time I went out? Clothes that enhanced my femininity – even if it was a matter of jeans and a top?

Yes, yes, and yes – to that last trio. But lately? Not so much.

Pampering has gone the way of that great tub I look at longingly, hoping to enjoy. Pampering seems to be a thing of the past, though I resolutely hang on the possibility of its return in the future.

Pampering yourself?

I realize that pampering means different things to different people. And what I consider pampering may be the stuff of everyday life to you – or to the women you spend your time with.

At this stage – for me – it would be a few days to not have to worry about cooking, or being my teenager’s personal alarm clock. To not have to worry about anything really. Any suggestions as to how I accomplish that? Hazel the housekeeper? Does anyone even remember Hazel the housekeeper? And would she work for room and board and happily inhabit the Latvian Suite?

Alternative sensory pleasures

Yes. I have a few ideas other than a housekeeper. Perhaps a pedicure – a real one. And a facial. It’s probably been 15 years since either, and it sounds appealing. Or then again, I might get restless and prefer sitting back with my laptop – observing, and taking a few notes. Or better still – losing myself in a phenomenal book with writing that makes love to my senses.

  • When’s the last time you pampered yourself?
  • With a long soak in a tub? By yourself or with the one you love?
  • Is it harder this time of year to make time?
  • When is the last time you pampered your partner?

I realize, too, that I am far more used to pampering someone else, rather than myself.

I am a people pleaser; I have had to wean myself off people pleasing behaviors in the past years, learning to assess the person I’m dealing with, and to accept taking as well as giving.

Romantic gestures

And yet. I love to pamper a man. To pamper him in ways that will matter to him – in listening, in little surprises, in whatever gives him pleasure – in bed and out. This is a time of year when I miss being in love, searching for just the right gift to bestow upon the object of my affection, to playfully display the depth of my feelings, not to mention my willingness to make mischief. Quite simply – to play.

I am more amenable to pampering myself when I am in a relationship; what otherwise feels like an indulgence with time I cannot spare becomes part of the process of nurturing the woman I wish to be, while with the man I wish to be with. It sounds very old school of me, even as I write out these words. I recognize that it is as though I feel more worthy of paying attention to myself – as a woman – when a man is doing the same.

Holiday expectations

I know this time of year brings out our big hearts – and often – big plans. Schedules are overfilled, expectations run high, children demand our attention – as do our checklists overflowing with shopping, holiday cards and letters, running to a sale, to the post office, to a school play, to an office party. There’s baking, decorating, picture taking – and worrying about your bank balance when all is said and done.

That pampering? Is it just a little stress relief? Is it a pipedream?

Can we make this time of year enjoyable and festive without making ourselves harried and crazy? Less materialism, more time with each other? Less running, more breathing? A little self-care that we deserve at any age, and any stage?

As for the single parents among us, can we do a better job of prioritizing? Can we allow ourselves a step back to appreciate the bigger picture – a path to healing, children growing well, hope for the future? A pause even in the thick of chaotic commitments and encroaching bad habits that result from the long and constant worry list?

I need to take a lesson from my own book and I know it; appreciating myself, so others will do so. And that pampering? That momentary rerouting of priorities? Could it be as simple as a glass of wine, a daily walk of 20 minutes, a good cigar after dinner (no, not for me, thanks), or going to sleep in the silkiest nightie for the pure sensual pleasure of it – and maybe, just maybe, making time for Cherries in the Snow?

© D A Wolf