Saturday, April 23, 2011

Livin' in L.A

Now that I have lived in L.A. for almost 10 years, I am even more certain that everyone needs to spend time living on the East Coast. The East Coast is where you can get a real education, make life long friends, and learn that life, nor the weather, is always 70 degrees and sunny. The East Coast builds character, gives you confidence, and teaches you how to be normal. There is so much I miss about it…normal girls, size A breasts and most importantly, Chick-Filet. But despite all of this, I love living in LA.

To help you understand where I started, you need to know the girl I used to be. For most of my life, my “look” consisted of my hair in a high bun, grey XL sweatpants, and Old Navy flip-flops. My only make-up was maroon lipstick (exact shade - Revlon ‘Wine with Everything’), which I first picked up in 7th grade at Rite Aid. I never really cared about how I looked and believed life was about competing, winning, and getting ahead. I am the type of girl who needed a few years in LA…just like the girls from Orange County need a summer at Dartmouth or Brown. Sometimes you just need to stretch yourself.

Ten years into my life in L.A., everything has changed. I no longer find it strange that my friends take their trash out (here we call it recycling) while wearing a push up bra, fake eyelashes, and 6-inch wedge sandals. To be honest, the garbage men out here expect it and nobody wants to let them down. When I first moved here, I was appalled by the fact that so many women had fake, size C, Barbie doll boobs. Now after two kids, numerous La Leche League meetings, and the fact that I have recently begun to turn myself off during sex, I have started to consider my options. Getting your boobs done in Southern California is just like getting braces in the South…it's the thing to do. The truth is that I would be under the knife right now if I wasn’t afraid of two things:

1. That I could die during surgery and leave my kids motherless…simply because I wanted to fill out the top of my new Target bathing suit.

2. My husband would want to have more sex with me.

Number two is the one that keeps me up at night. If you don’t know my husband, let me explain. He is a very special man…he always tells me he loves me and makes me feel beautiful each day. The other night I asked him, “Hey Honey, do you think I should get my boobs done?” He looked me right in the eyes and said, “No baby, you are beautiful just the way you are.” I felt so loved. I gave him a hug and started to walk out the room. As I was about to close the door, he gently touched my arm and quickly said “But if YOU want to do it, I ABSOLUTELY understand. I think what is most important is that I am completely supportive of you. Do you need me to wire the money or should I just write you a check?”

At this point we are at a stand still with that surgery…but it hasn’t stopped me from looking into other shallow, unnecessary procedures. After recently looking at my face in the mirror, (which is highly encouraged in LA… self obsession is considered healthy here) I realized the years of baking in the Florida sun while spraying Sun-in on my hair have caused some problems. So I talked to my friend, who sell lasers to dermatologists, and asked him what I could do. He told me he thought I could benefit from an IPL laser treatment. When I asked whom I should go see he said, “Why would you pay a dermatologist $1200 for the treatments? I can just do it for you in our garage.” The other benefit of living in L.A. is that everyone is in sales, and whatever they are selling, they are happy to share. So I put aside the fact he had been selling sofas and Ottomans’ a year ago, and trusted that his two week training (where he was most likely drunk for 80% of the time) would give him the skills he needed to make me beautiful.

Let me begin by saying that I do not have a high pain tolerance, especially when it comes to beauty procedures. I can barely stand to have my eyebrows waxed and once left a Brazilian Bikini wax with only one side completed. But I tried to be brave and trust that the pain wouldn’t last forever.

So last Wednesday night, with Scotty McCreery singing in the background, I walked into their garage, stepped over some wet laundry and took a seat on a hard, paint-splattered wooden chair. They charged up the laser, handed me some eye protectors, and rubbed cold gel on my face. After twenty minutes of experiencing what can only be described as intermittently holding a July 4th sparkler to your face, they were finished. I looked in the mirror and my face was still there, my skin wasn’t burned, and the dark spots I had been noticing where lightening. My friend and his wife looked over their work, studied my face, and didn’t say a word. Eventually they smiled at one another, looked at me and said, “Okay, not bad. I’m pretty sure those settings were right. Don’t worry we’ll know more in a few days.” Some people just know how to make you feel safe...

So it’s official, for good or for bad, I am starting to become an L.A. girl…a bit shallow, self-consumed, and now totally (and thankfully) aware of the fact that sun damage is bad, blonde is good, and wearing Khakis is a crime. And even though I miss the East Coast terribly, it seems like L.A is home. I have so many great friends, we love our community, and there's a rumor that they may be building a Chick-Filet nearby very soon...somedays life just can't get any better.

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