Keeping Up Appearances. Or Not.

For the first time in over 30 years, I don’t have acrylic fingernails.  Which pretty much means I don’t have nails at all. After so many years of hiding under layers of acrylic, my natural nails are significantly atrophied.  At this point, a harsh word can chip, splinter, and crack them. 

My nails are not the only aspect of my appearance that has suffered after weeks of limited contact with other people.  I am trying to be a responsible citizen of the world and stem the spread of the COVID-19 contagion.  I am not making the huge sacrifices that our medical professionals, truck drivers, grocery workers, first responders, and other essential personnel are making.  I do not want to complain. 

It might be time for an intervention, though. I am in a downward spiral. 

My hair is growing thicker and bushier.  I am growing into the oh-so-attractive skunk look as my roots become more pronounced.  Some of you know that I have been flirting with the idea of allowing my natural gray hair color to grow out.  It has been a difficult decision. I got my hair genetics from my father, who I do not recall ever seeing without gray hair.  I started going gray at age 16. I have been coloring my hair since I was in my mid-twenties.  Heaven only knows how much gray has encroached since then.  The prospect is scary.  I have been loathe to suck it up and see.  I may have no choice in the matter now.  Although I believe my hair salon is still open, I just can’t think that touching people all day is the smartest way to manage a pandemic.  I think I’ll just have to weather the gray skies (and gray hair!) and see how I feel if it is ever safe to go back to the hairdresser again.

I haven’t applied make-up in a month. Before the outside world closed up shop and we all went under house arrest, I wore make-up most days.  It made me feel good to show a little effort.  I had more confidence when I knew I was looking brighter than I was feeling.  I seem to recall that make-up made my face look brighter and made my complexion look less like cream of wheat.  It has been so long that I could be wrong.  Nostalgia always makes everything seem better.  They say distance lends enchantment to the view and my memories of make-up are pretty distant at this point.  Actually, the only way a view of me would be even remotely enchanting right now is if it was VERY distant. 

For the past several weeks, I have been dressing in loose, floaty dresses that are cool and comfortable. They make me feel faintly nymph-like.  Let’s face it, though; they are one step above a nightgown.  Maybe half a step on the days I forgo a bra.  However, I am not sure they are doing me any favors.  I think I am going to have to start trying on something a little more form-fitting once a week or so to make sure my form is still fitting.  After weeks of grazing my way from one room in my house to another, I have a sneaking suspicion that, while I may be flattening the contagion curve, I am not flattening any of my curves.  I could be carting around enough curves to build an entire roller under my floaty trapeze dresses. 

I’m not sporting any jewelry, either.  I have quite the collection of earrings and rings and bracelets and necklaces and watches.  Most of them have some sentimental attachment.  They delight me and make me smile when I wear them.  Since I never seem to go anywhere anymore, it seems like a waste to put them on in the morning.  I just have to take them off for the numerous times each day that I wash my hands.

For someone who wrote a blog piece called The Anti-Frump (, I have certainly fallen far from grace.  Looking in the mirror this morning, I had to wonder where the anti-frump has gone.

I’m pretty sure she is in quarantine. 

What is left of my fingernails…. heavy sigh

Have you found yourself following the frump during our days of isolation? How do you motivate yourself to keep on keeping on? Or do you just not bother? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a frump-free day!

Terri/Dorry 🙂

6 thoughts on “Keeping Up Appearances. Or Not.”

  1. It took my mother’s fingers a year to get nails back. Lots and lots of eating gel (gummie vitamins helped). Her doctor was thrilled, never happy that she would apply a dangerous chemical so close to the cuticle of her fingers. He claimed that her health actually improved when she stopped wearing the full nails. I hope you find the same thing. If you go back, you might consider French tips.
    Yes, frumpy is my current look. Wearing real clothes to the grocery store seems…overdressing?

    1. I do think I am done with the acrylics now. I’m going to tell the story behind the acrylics in an upcoming blog, but I think I’ve overcome my original reasons for getting them. Now that I’ve been forced to get rid of them, I think I’m going to be able to do without them. When it is safe, I do think I want to get a mani-pedi, though.

  2. I had low-lights in my hair. They will soon fade to the natural grey. I’m not averse to trimming my own hair if worse comes to worse. I have enough ball caps to cover the mistakes fully aware that bad hair days can morph into bad hat days. My tweezers are in daily use in the bright morning sun with no monthly facial waxing. Pedicures haven’t been in the budget since I retired. I do my own at home and admit that I amp them up in the summer so the garden dirt isn’t so visible! I’m getting dressed later in the morning. There’s no incentive without appointments/engagements outside the home. My diet hasn’t changed that much which isn’t saying much. I’m picking away at the leftover Christmas chocolate and I didn’t buy any Easter goodies. I make a point of getting outside most days for a 1-2 mile walk. It isn’t just good for my heart; it’s good for my soul. Take care.

  3. I find I look better in low light in the evening! I just keep a nightlight on in the bathroom and I think I look pretty good! Daylight is a bit different!

    1. Thanks for the tip, Pat. I’m thinking candlelight is going to become my new best friend!

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