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When you don't even notice

Date
Hugh Jackman ... sporting a beard.

Hugh Jackman ... sporting a beard. Photo: AFP

My beloved grew a beard. It was good. It was a proper beard. It was brown and grey and speckled with ginger and it suited his smile and eyes.

It spiked with kisses - the youngest member of the household insisted whenceforth on refusing them - but it made the holiday season last longer for us all. We stroked it, at one time photographed it; him with it. It was a good beard. Minor skin damage aside, we liked it.

Then, one evening, he shaved it all off. The lot.

And not one of us noticed.

''My, he looks young for his age,'' I happened to think as he grinned at me cheekily - I now know knowingly - as he came into the sitting room one evening. It was late, it was in night attire, and it was to resume our marathon (and late, I know, I know: we don't have Foxtel) Game of Thrones season 2 fest. Pretty much every man on screen had a beard of substance (or not, depending on character) but I didn't register the knight at my side's clean lines till much later in the night.

And certainly not by sight.

Which makes me wonder - is there really any point to the attention to detail that the women's magazines and style books (and beauty blogs) insist is necessary?

If I - a beauty blogger and also a 'trained observer' (that's wanker-speak for 'journalist') - didn't notice a missing faceful of luxurious and sometime adulated facial hair, what would go noticed?

A radical new hairstyle that involves drastic changes in colour or length? A facelift? A missing eyebrow?

So, do neglected nails register? Unfortunate grown-out roots? Slovenly run-down heels or empty pierced ear holes that just make you want to magic up sleepers from your (lucky friends') girlhood to help them out?

Could we actually get away with looking - should I say it - less groomed then we think we should be.

I have a mature-age theory that most people don't notice anything about other people because they're too busy in their own worlds, or heads.

But is this a reason to give up and not bother?

10 comments so far

  • For sure it is!

    I get my legs etc waxed and often leave it quite late to do so, I have one friend who notices but no one else does until I point it out.

    My theory is also that people who judge me negatively for having body hair aren't the people I care about anyway, but even disregarding that, I thin k the majority of people don't even notice someting till you point it out, so if we stopped with all the negative self think and self talk we'd all be a lot happier

    Commenter
    nay
    Location
    Mt Gambier
    Date and time
    March 28, 2013, 11:30AM
    • Yet woe betide the husband who fails to notice his wife has had yet another slightly different haircut....

      Commenter
      Franco
      Date and time
      March 28, 2013, 11:42AM
      • So let me get this straight - the man is your life decided to grow a beard (having been clean shaved before), everyone noticed (hence the tactile attention to it and the refusal to kiss him by the youngsters, etc). THEY NOTICED.

        He shaved it off - return to default, the way he has been for most of your time together. YOU NOTICED ("he looks young for his age without it").

        So, how do you come to the conclusion that no one "noticed"? Someone you are familiar with (and love) has changed something about their appearance, either way, it is taken notice of and then life goes on!

        Maybe the question you are trying to ask is does anyone change their behaviour PERMANENTLY towards a person who has made a change to their appearance...
        Well, no, it is the same person, unless they also got a lobotomy thrown in.

        The small things you question, whether we would be treated differently if we would have hair dye outgrowth or nails not taken care of are matters of grooming (and unless you'd be going for a job interview where appearance matters) it probably would not matter to our loved ones. The degree of grooming varies with different individuals, those that don't seem to look down on those that DO make the effort. Each to their own.

         

        Commenter
        confused
        Date and time
        March 28, 2013, 11:59AM
        • Man, these articles are utter dribble. Do women really think this shallowly and about such trivial issues?. Articles and thinking, like this are what made men (hopefully incorrectly) in the old days think women were incapable of serious thought.

          And to answer your totally trivial question: No it does not make a difference. If you love somebody and have the hots for them either partner would have to go a long way to destroy that.

          Women brought all this over maintenance on themselves trying to better other women for their own satisfaction, nothing to do with us men at all. I can guarantee that cavemen were chasing hairy, smelly unwashed ladies with just as much gusto as nowadays. It is how all "animals" are wired.

          I can also discuss women organising school functions and how each year it has to be better than the year before rubbish ... one can clearly see how this over maintenance of their bodies started. Many women need to wake up and realise that they are not making things better for anybody, including their children, or themselves with this unbelieveble competitive (bitchiness) streak. I suggest they play more sport like us men to get rid of it in a proper place.
          Pete

          Commenter
          PSk
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          March 28, 2013, 3:29PM
          • Female maintenance is nothing to do with you men? Hahahahahahahahah! Apparently not you, but there are a whole lot of men who demand alpha female grooming.

            Why would a man read the Beauty Beat column and then use it to attack women? It's not as though women go to sports pages and then put down men for their mindless obsession with chasing balls.

            Women were not taken seriously in the old days because men denied them an education, not because of any innate vacuousness.

            Commenter
            Ecks Why Zed
            Date and time
            March 29, 2013, 12:06AM
        • How do you say

          "DOUBLE STANDARD"

          if the roles where reversed and husband failed to notice a change in wifes appearance, well i can tell you now he would be in the dog house for some time

          Commenter
          brett law
          Location
          NSW
          Date and time
          March 28, 2013, 4:09PM
          • People never notice receptionists, I know because I work as one and am always being called the wrong name, there is only 3 of us over a week and lots of return patients. Patients hate if you don't know their names, so sorry when seeing over 100 people a week we may not always remenber you. So changing my hair, glasses etc would not make any difference as don't think that people take a lot of notice of others who are providing a service to them. I just happen to be at least 20kgs more than the other regular receptionist with much different hair, great for me, not so great for her.

            Commenter
            Rachel
            Date and time
            March 28, 2013, 6:34PM
            • BINGO!

              I realised this when I got my hair cut short. A friend with short hair told me about how hairdressers never get this bit, or that bit or the other right . . . and all I could think was that I always thought her hair looked terrific.
              So, then and there I decided not to worry if my short hair was 2 weeks past needing a haircut, or if I didn't get the spiky bits quite right . . . people don't notice nearly as much as I do.

              Commenter
              GetReal
              Date and time
              March 28, 2013, 6:39PM
              • So, PSk, this is all *drivel* but nothing men talk about, like who kicks a ball around a field the best, or which Hollywood celebrity has the best breasts (because it's only a matter of time before you land someone like her, right?) - oh that, that's the important stuff.

                Commenter
                Lozi
                Location
                Canberra
                Date and time
                March 28, 2013, 7:00PM
                • Everyone notices when a beard is banished ... cause they're SO damn unflattering and ugly. And most women pile on slabs of unnecessary makeup so they're addicted to mirrors. They only notice their own reflection.

                  Commenter
                  Hair today, gone tomorrow
                  Date and time
                  March 30, 2013, 1:39AM

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