I'm Just Saying…

February 13, 2011

This is Jeopardy! Today’s Category: Maintenance

The founding fathers wrote that “all men are created equal.” Fair enough. But what about women? Are all women created equal? I am sorry to say they are not. Some women have a special skill, a secret weapon in their arsenal that makes them the holy grail for men and the secret envy of women. I’ll tell you what that is: they are low maintenance.

Since before Harry met Sally and gave her the bad news: “You’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance,” women have known that we are not all equal.

How do you identify a low maintenance woman? I’ll tell you. She is the one that goes camping and looks fresh before, during, and after the trip, even luminous. She is the one that spends a day traveling and when she deplanes not a hair is out of place…and she didn’t have to do anything.  She is the one that is ready to leave at a moment’s notice and her purse, if she has one, can hold, at the most, a tissue and a lipstick. Maybe.  She doesn’t need to carry a hair brush, hair spray, packs of tissues, eye drops, headache pills, hair clips, spare pantyhose, vitamins, extra contacts, extra sweater, an extra pair of glasses, bottle of water… should I go on? It’s not a matter of wanting these things, she doesn’t need them. She is fine without them, she is naturally easygoing and effortless. She is… low maintenance.

Every woman would like to think she is low maintenance. I would like to think I’m low maintenance, even as my left shoulder is two inches lower than the right from the weight of my purse.  And I carry my makeup bag separately; it won’t fit in my purse. I rarely need it; but I might need it, so I keep it handy. High Maintenance, Exhibit A.

Maybe that’s what separates the low maintenance women from the high maintenance women. Low maintenance women just figure whatever it is, they’ll just deal with it. High maintenance women can’t  do that.  We have to fix it, freshen it, or re-fluff it. 

So In honor of these exceptional women of minimalism, I would like to point out a brief history of Low Maintenance women as seen in film. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I’m sure you will have a few entries of your own.

I’ll take Low Maintenance for $200 Alex:

She always had Paris with Rick.

This of course, is an easy one. Casablanca’s Ilsa is a paragon of effortless low maintenance. She goes from war torn Paris to Casablanca, living in fear of imprisonment and death, a husband at her side she doesn’t love, and she does it all carrying a small purse and not a hair out of place.  Even crying on the tarmac  as the fumes and fog surround her does nothing to mar her foundation or her hairstyle.  Way to go, Ilsa.

I’ll take Low Maintenance for $400 Alex:

She learned how to Romance a Stone and be low maintenance in this popular 1980’s rom-com adventure.

Kathleen Turner did women a great service as Joan Wilder in Romancing The Stone. There we see the classic high maintenance woman, lugging her suitcase and her winter coat in the jungle while wearing unsensible shoes.  And really ladies, how much difference is there between that scenario and carrying a bag on our shoulder that ways upwards to ten pounds, while wearing three inch pumps? Suburbia can be just as much of a jungle as the outskirts of Columbia. I’m just saying. 

So we watched Joan turn from a high maintenance frump to low maintenance fabulous until there was nothing left; not a suitcase, not a satchel, not a sweater, not an unsensible shoe. And we loved her for that. Just thinking about it makes me want to clean out my purse.

I’ll take Low Maintenance for $800 Alex:

This woman partnered with the most famous archeologist of film to raid a lost ark.

Now we come to the pièce de résistance, the creme de la creme, the ultimate in low maintenance.  My hero, my Yoda: Marion Ravenwood.

Marion travels from Nepal to Cairo, is chased through a marketplace, gets stuck in an underground crypt, travels on a ship, is hijacked to an island in the Aegean sea, is put on a forced march, and is finally tied up to a pole as the winds of supernatural spirits whips about her and she does it all without a purse, without makeup, without a hairbrush, without deodorant, without a Kotex product. She has nothing, nada, nil, zippo. Not even a tissue. She doesn’t go to pieces, she gets angry, she gets tough, she pulls a butter knife in self defense. Okay she freaked out when the skeletons fell on her but hey, wouldn’t you?

I think there should be a section on Marion Ravenwood included in curriculums on women’s studies. We should strive for low maintenance, try to go with the flow, make adjustments, take things as they come. Better still, we should have a National “Low Maintenance” Day, when we carry nothing with us.  We should liberate ourselves, rid ourselves of these purses, these satchels, these sacks, these crutches that we carry and continuously fill with more and more crap we’re convinced we have to have with us.  

I think that’s a great idea. I just have to make sure I wear jeans on that day because I need the pockets… to carry some tissues…and a lipstick…

J. 🙂


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