A few days ago I posted a piece about finally getting a fireplace wall finished. Details can be found there, but suffice it to say I’m pretty darned happy to be finished with that project, as it was taking so long it was starting to drag on my psyche. That can happen when I’m slow to finish a task or project, and I’ve no one to blame but myself. But I digress. What I did not share in that post was a peculiar experience that popped up a couple of times while provisioning for the project. And it’s definitely worth mentioning.


About 8 weeks ago I decided to make a bit of effort where my appearance is concerned. I’m not a charity case or anything in the looks department. I’m average. I know this and I’m fine with it. And honestly, I clean up well. When I clean up. (I shower, for cry-eye! I’m talking about make-up and the like.) Most of the time, I go about my bid-ness in workout gear or paint-splattered clothes. This is because I exercise and take care of tasks that can ruin a gal’s good clothes. And I don’t particularly enjoy doing extra laundry, so I tend to try and keep my wardrobe changes to a minimum. But that doesn’t bode well when it comes to making myself presentable. This wasn’t news to me or anything. And I’m not sure why I decided to make a change. But I did. And let me be perfectly clear about something: I chose to make myself more presentable for myself. Does Mister benefit? Sure. But the benefits to me outweigh anything he might feel, and that, my friends, is tremendously important.


Anyhoo – as I still have to function in my little world, I didn’t dust off all my heels or a ball gown just to go to the hardware store. But I have been trying to wear cute-to-me clothes here and there. And I’ve been opting for 3 particular choices that, though minimal, seem to make a difference: Lipstick, Earrings and a Comb. I wear make-up when I go out (as in a date or a meeting), but the rest of the time, my skin is unadorned (except for sunscreen). Lipstick goes a long way toward brightening my smile and that counts. A lot. Earrings, well, I don’t know why earrings show effort is being made, but they seem to be an integral part of my experiment, so I’m gonna stick by bejeweled lobes and keep wearing them. And the comb? When I “do” my hair, it is as if I made some crazy effort, when in fact I’ve barely brushed it. But it looks like I tried, and that seems to move the chains. Add paint-free clothing to these things and I end up being presentable. Still average, mind you, but presentable just the same.


Why am I telling you all this? Because Lipstick, Earrings and a Comb have paid off for me. Big time. The first day I noticed it was when I went to a spendy tile store for some marble pieces for my fireplace project. As I stood with the manager of the joint, working out how much marble I needed for the job, he told me there would be no charge. I looked at him and said, “But you have to charge me. I like this place and I want it to stay in business.” He just shook his head and told me something about his workers breaking so much inventory on a daily basis, and how he could handle giving me three strips of marble. I thanked him kindly and went home with just what I needed for my project – gratis.


The next benefit came when I needed to get my free marble cut to fit my project’s measurements. I headed to a hardware store where I’d seen a sign about tile-cutting services. I had my free marble in a bag and I approached a dude in the tile department. He asked only if the needed cuts were straight. I told him yes and he set to cutting. Once he’d finished, I asked where I should pay for the service and he told me there would be no charge. Wha? He told me it was no big deal and wished me luck with my project. I felt particularly smiley after that.


I’ve had other moments, too. Moments when Lipstick, Earrings and a Comb seem to have garnered friendlier-than-normal exchanges. And I’ve smiled through each conversation, each transaction. Sometimes I’ve been wearing cute shoes. Other times not. But the holy trinity of Lipstick, Earrings and a Comb have been in play during every pleasant experience. And I’ve appreciated them all.


Lest you think I’m imagining all this, let me share one final moment. A moment when I was not looking my best. Some bulky-item pick-up dudes were at my neighbor’s house, removing an old washing machine. I saw them and walked outside to ask if they could take a couple of old appliances away for me (things that are serving no other purpose than to junk up my garage). The driver seemed to look me over and said I’d have to call it in and that they would only take the items if I was on their schedule. I was the same gal I always am, smiling and friendly. I just couldn’t get the dude to haul away our junk. So I said I’d follow protocol and wished him a good day. When I walked back in the house, I caught sight of myself in a mirror. My hair was cowlick-ing all over the place. My face was sallow and pale. I wore no jewelry. In short, there was no trace of Lipstick, Earrings or a Comb. I’ll know better next time.

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