I remember looking in the bathroom mirror
when I was about twelve years old and seeing my nose. “I have such a big nose,” I said to myself, “that I can never be beautiful. I will just have to be nice.”
I believed that and have spent the rest of my life trying to be nice. I never, during my adolescence and later years, tried to dress up, wear fancy make up or jewelry or do anything special with my mouse brown hair. I just tried to be nice.
Because of this my women friends have never been worried about me. Though I did have sex appeal
, it was subtle reaching only men. I did have shapely legs and I was guilty of taking advantage of that. When we purchased our sail boat and spent many hours on it during the sailing season, I always went barefooted on the boat, wore a bathing suit, and kept myself warm when needed with layers of clothing on my upper body. No one ever mentioned to me that they thought my bare legs had sex appeal, but I suspect they did.
Other than that, I never considered myself physically attractive. This freed me to follow my Quaker
leanings toward simplicity. I wore mostly skirts, slacks and tops for easy variety and owned few dresses. Thus it was a shock to me when, in my winter years, I learned from my doctor that, because of extreme acid reflux
, I should wear nothing tight around my waist!
The reflux is serious. I immediately decided on radical behavior to avoid temptation. I shipped all the clothes that I had that were tight around the waist to the second time around store near my neighborhood. Though the relief from congestion was welcome, I was faced with the problem of having very few clothes left that I could wear.
About the same time this happened, I crashed my beloved convertible and gave up driving. Though I felt comfortable about asking friends to transport me to critical places I needed to go, this did not apply in my opinion, to shopping for clothes.
At this point, I discovered catalogue
s. I had used them for years for flowers and cooking equipment. It took only one or two purchases from clothing companies for me to start receiving floods of dress catalogues. Now it is not unusual for me to receive ten to twelve catalogues in one mail delivery.
I took my time ordering dresses. I ignored the expensive companies and looked for the cheapies. I ordered free flowing floats to hide my avoir dupoise of which I had considerable. Because my weight is solid, I do not look as heavy as I am, but I had quit worrying over much about the weight because I had leveled off at 180 pounds.
Because dresses all look pretty much alike, I took refuge in finding blues (my favorite color), denims, (my favorite material), and prints exalting nature. I had butterflies, birds, and flowers expressing my love of the natural world. I even had fish to illustrate my love of the sea.
By the time I went to Yearly Meeting
I had enough floats to have a different dress to wear each day I was there. I was in the third month of a diarrhea attack and had lost twenty five pounds. This was no problem as far as my clothes were concerned. A floater is a floater and no one can see what is underneath!
It all started the first night. At least three people commented on the beauty of my outfit. I was not to surprised because I wore the special maumau
a black lady from Liberia had given me on my 80th birthday five years before. It is beautiful! From then on, however, what happened simply astounded me. Though I did wear a different floater all six days, the comments mounted to a state of adulation. Even some men commented! In addition to the aura
I developed, I managed to spend between session time in exciting conversations exploring ways to cope with the serious problems facing our society today, and found it all exhilarating.
I floated in my floaters all through the sessions and arrived home still stalking ten feet above the earth. Before I landed, I took a good look in the mirror. My mouse brown hair is now pure white. Thinning rapidly and receding drastically, it does curl beautifully with the stiffness achieved from a special spray that makes each hair count. My skin is brown from hours in the garden and, despite my eighty five years I have no wrinkles there. My face is broad enough to support my nose which, perhaps, gives me a spot of character. Is it possible that I am beautiful? If so, does that mean that I no longer have to be nice?