Vanity: Excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; character or quality of being vain.
Are you vain? I think I am – quite a lot actually. I spend hours in the bathroom: shaving, plucking, exfoliating, moisturising, tanning… the list is endless. But why do we put ourselves through all of this palaver? Do we do it for ourselves or so that other people will admire us? I’m not entirely sure what my answer would be. Yes, I feel good once my legs are smooth, my face is caked in expensive makeup and my clothes are in-keeping with the latest trend, but also, I would be lying if I didn’t worry about what other people thought of me. For example, when I’m wearing my RayBan Aviators and I have my five hundred pound Mulberry bag swinging from my arm, I do hope that people notice – I’m trying to portray a self image of myself as someone who has taste and money – which, if you really knew me, you’d know that I actually don’t! (money, that is). The first thing I do before getting out of my car before work is to apply my lip gloss and spritz myself with perfume – this is vanity at it’s best.
I think the media has a lot to do with this obsession. In today’s world, celebrities and models wearing the latest fashion, looking flawless, are flaunted everywhere; you can not escape them. There are newspapers, magazines, TV, the internet, bill boards… the list is endless. I think we see these images and wonder why we can’t look as good as them. We forget that we don’t have the personal trainers, makeup artists, free designer wardrobe, bags of money – not to mention Photoshop airbrushing! However, it still puts an enormous amount of pressure on us to compete with them. It’s insane! But still, we just can’t stop obsessing over self-image – I’m a perfect example.
Vanity used to be associated with just the females of the species, however, I think men are beginning to slide down this slippery slope of doom now too. I recently walked past a salon and saw two men having their nails manicured. A few years back, this image would have been bizarre but now it looked quite normal. Do us girls like a vain man or do we still favour a ‘manly man’ – one which is happy to get his nails dirty unblocking the kitchen u-bend? I personally find the ‘new age man’ a bit of a turn off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have a man taking pride in his appearance (nobody likes eau de B.O.) but there is a line which one can cross – male manicures is over that line in my book.
So, why are we so vain? For others, for ourselves, to create a positive self image? Who knows! One thing is certain, I’m not going to change anytime soon – I like my expensive handbag and lip gloss!