I recently had a friend who is an accomplished doctor drop something off at my house when I wasn’t expecting her. I know that if I ever stopped by her house, I would find the following: an immaculate house filled with tantalizing aromas of her home cooking; her three-year-old twins practicing the piano and wearing coordinated outfits; and her five-year-old son setting the table for dinner.
This is what she saw when she came to my door: my three-year-old daughter bellied up to the coffee table (naked, of course) eating a dinner of goldfish crackers; my seven-year-old son running around in shorts and rubber boots, with wool socks hiked up like thigh-highs; approximately sixty-seven loads of unfolded laundry on the couch; and a box of mangos (random!) sitting atop a month’s worth of flyers on our front entrance bench.
Running into people I know when I resemble a POW escapee who’s put in ten years of hard labour without access to quality hair care products is something that happens to me quite often. I call it Lori’s Law: the worse I look, the better chances are of running into my prom date.
After my daughter was born, I looked like most new mothers (i.e. hell) but my baby was so cute that people rarely noticed my zombie-like appearance. One morning I was trolling Costco, extremely proud of the fact that I was dressed before dinnertime, when I bonked my cart into a woman I’d known since high school.
We hadn’t seen each other in years, but were close enough at one time that I’d been her bridesmaid (tangent: if you’re sick of being my friend, just ask me to be in your wedding party…I guarantee we won’t be speaking by Christmas).
She looked at me, obviously taken aback by my dishevelled appearance, as we exchanged banal pleasantries. She oohed and ahhed over my baby, but it was obvious she didn’t mean it. And looking in the car seat, who could blame her? My daughter looked like the “before” shot of a baby makeover show.*
She wore a frayed, mint green sleeper that did nothing for her complexion – although the shmootz on her face wasn’t helping – and she was sporting a newborn mullet with a hint of mohawk. Long story short, we were not looking our best.
I wondered if seeing people you know when you’re looking like crap was a universal experience, but then I thought of the Costco encounter (she still looks like a model) and my doctor friend (smart and gorgeous). So now, with apologies to my daughter, I realize that this phenomenon is completely and unavoidably hereditary.
* Back off, TLC – I’m totally pitching that idea to Mark Burnett.