If you were someone who had a perfect complexion all through high school, stop reading. Surf somewhere else. You will have no frame of reference. But if you had zits like me, the kind that couldn’t be tamed despite the promises of pimple cream ads, read on.
My acne was debilitating. As an angst-ridden adolescent (Is there any other kind?), I made dozens of mirror checks each day to gauge the latest developments. Those darn zits were peskier than the critters in a Whac-A-Mole game. In high school, my self-consciousness was generalized to class situations and wholly exaggerated. I was invisible to most of the student body. If they didn’t see me, how would they notice my pimples?
But logic has no place when blemishes assault. Not then and, thirty years later—sigh--, not now. The zits are a thing of the past. Hurrah. But for the past two weeks I’ve had a sty on the eyelid of my right eye and it’s, quite literally, an eyesore rather than a sight for sore eyes. (Flip words around and the meaning can be vastly different. By the way, I’m using the preferred spelling, sty, according to my dictionary. Stye is also acceptable though less commonly used. I was raised to use the less common form so, as a writing stickler, I felt compelled to mention this. I am not thrilled that the common spelling for my facial imperfection is also used to refer to a swine enclosure, often heaped with manure. If I am supposed to be calm, then someone should suggest a less offensive name for my unsightly inconvenience.)
I am proud to say that, despite the sty, I have not been holed up in my home, ordering delivery pizza each night, waving payment through a cracked door. “Just leave it on the doormat, thanks.” Alas, my takeout scenario conjures up unpleasant references to my “pizza face” days. Sisters can be cruel.
I have gone about my business in town, not giving a hoot about the sty. I have resisted repeated mirror checks. My life has gone on. Shocking, really.
So why a blog entry? Tomorrow I have another coffee date, my first since the beginning of July. I know, I know,...the sty is a silly thing to be concerned about. Easy for the sty-less crowd to say. I like to go into a date with some semblance of confidence. First impressions matter. In the online dating shopping network, people decide to pass quickly. I think I’ll send Mr. Descent [sic] a message. How much lower can I go? (Not making that up. There is an unfortunate speller on Plenty of Fish who calls himself Mr. Descent. At least, I think that is not his intended name.)
Okay, so I’m going forward. I’m not canceling the date or asking to reschedule, using that Marcia Brady line from “The Brady Bunch”: “Something suddenly came up.” But I don’t think I’ll wear my favorite green shirt which calls attention to my green eyes. Black is slimming. Does it reduce other things?
Hmm, would an eye patch be a stylish accessory? Arrr! Sadly, Talk Like a Pirate Day remains a month away.
I look forward to saying goodbye, sty. If the date doesn’t go so well, I am sure there are many other possibilities for it being a dud. But then, the sty might turn out to be a convenient explanation as I trudge forward, continually mystified by the gay dating world.
I wasn’t me; it was the sty.