“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds” — Winston Churchill
Oh Winnie (we’re on informal terms), I am with you pal. Accepting that we are all so imperfect (even you Win – you had a weirdly shaped head and drank more than your fair share of alcohol – I’m just sayin’…and what about that temper, hmm?), able to choose the road less traveled with the right intention and the wrong shoes, discovering once lost that we’ve reached a dead-end (while walking without a compass – I still don’t know how to use one, but some people find them handy). Striving, reaching, folding inward…reflecting upon the answers to questions with a million possible choices. Perhaps we are lucky enough to find a perfect moment in between all the others, and arguably that’s pretty damn good. We all know that nothing holds up under intense scrutiny – a perfect rose, an exquisite smile – if gazed upon for too long morphs into something that is slightly wanting (and occasionally a little weird-looking).
I accepted this reality a long time ago – and yet, I’m still searching. And I’m an idiot. I have been on a quest for the perfect pair of jeans, the perfect cosmetic blush, the perfect pen for decades (decades, I tell you). Straight jeans, boyfriend jeans, jeans with spandex so I can look thin and not breathe, dark jeans, bleached jeans, expensively ripped jeans, bootcut jeans. I have a long torso and short legs (imagine trying to dress a fireplug), and still wonder if all jeans require that there be a gap at the waist that permits you to catch a lovely breeze while you’re walking. A pair of jeans that are well-worn and soft, comfortable to a fault that don’t provide the opportunity for me to end up with a self-inflicted and seriously painful wedgie. Jeans that will close without holding my breath and a zipper that moves easily without the need to lie down on the bed to ease its movement.
I’ve just about given up on this one – I buy ’em bigger these days, because I just can’t abide by things that hug me so tightly I begin to feel light-headed. How do I look? Probably like a representative from Munchkinland who didn’t make it into costume in time. I am completely aware that Vogue isn’t calling anytime soon.
Make-up is just one big come-on and I fall every time. Each color is “wonderful for any skin tone”, “gives you that natural flush”, “just apply on the apples of your cheeks and you will look instantly refreshed”. No I won’t. I look like a frightening marionette or my application is so light that people ask after my health. “Coral” looks like I’ve got navel oranges affixed to my cheeks; pink as if I’ve strategically stuck on cotton candy so I can grab a taste throughout the day. Brown? Don’t ask. If I pinch my cheeks (as some fashion editors recommend) I hurt myself and am left with two welts. So why am I still bothering? Hope my friend, hope. It’s stronger than reality.
Which brings us to my obsession with pens. Those who remember me from my work days know that my preference was always to use a fountain pen. Italic nib, so I could write pseudo-calligraphy and remain questionably legible. I wanted a pen that would float along the page, no sound of scratching, ink flowing evenly and with the sort of fluidity that the end result would almost have to be equally flowing and beautiful. I also thought it would improve my illegibility, transforming it into magnificent penmanship. Cheap pens, expensive pens, I have committed to so many, only to discover that I am fickle and that my expectation keeps changing. I really understand that there may not be a connection between the loveliness of a pen and the words that I write (a bitter, bitter pill to swallow – “I coulda been a contender”). But I believe there is some writing instrument out there that is going to be close to transformative. David (davidkanigan.com) wrote of the “Perfect Pen” yesterday and I felt my heart begin to race. Could it really be? And it’s available at Office Depot? No specialty store? No secret password to gain egress to some high-end pen shop? You know where I’m heading today.
And yet I know that I will like the pen. I will not love it, for it is not a fountain pen – but perhaps it will inspire sentences that leave you breathless, wondering with awe how I could even conjure such flights of fancy and delight. I think I’ll wear my two-sizes-too-big-jeans over there and just keep hitching them up (true I probably walk like a short Walter Brennan but people give me a wide berth) and mix the corals, pinks and browns together before lightly dusting them on my cheeks. It may seem that my face needs a good washing after that, but what the hell. Totally unkempt woman walking into Office Depot in search of perfection. No one will believe it.
54 thoughts on “Practically Perfect”
This was very well written. I too am a pen and a notebook freak. I’ve found my perfect pen in a Pilot-G2 bold nib. It’s a gel pen. But I always carry a pen and small note book in my front cargo pants (the only things I ewear) and I foundafter multiple leaks that you cannot take them anywhere. Still I use them exclusively in my office and they are refillable. Of course you must wait until the ink dries before touching anything to avoid that feathery look to your penmanship. >KB
Thanks for the recommendation (and the note about the leaking!)…I’m going to try it!
Snap again. Like I said many months ago, we are soul sisters. Trying to find the “perfect” pen is one of my obsessions!
And then just when I think I have found the perfect one ….. the ink runs dry
Laughing…we’re time zones away and still connected – how cool is that!!! And yes, that’s why I spend more than I should on cartridges for my pen du jour…and then I move on to another type which doesn’t use the same ink. Sigh…
wonderful post, and i too, am so excited by david’s hope for the perfect pen, i will be there in my paint, marker, snot, tear-soaked, shirt – straight from the kindergarten to the office store, i’ll look for you in your jeans.
Laughing – I already love the outfit. I’ll keep my eye out for you!!!
I cannot stop laughing at the fireplug and munchkin reference…hahaha! My sister once referred to herself as a coffin with a belt when trying on a dress. I swear you have to try on 20 pairs in order to maybe get one pair that you somewhat like. As far as your pen obsession…I worked for a lawyer who was also obsessed. Someone hid his pen one day to be funny, for the record it was not.
I do a mean impression of “We Represent The Lollipop Guild”…I haven’t met too many lawyers who are able to laugh at themselves to be honest…but those that do, laugh heartily. Your sister’s reference made me roar – what a visual!!
You are a treasure. About those jeans…be careful about the two sizes too big. One wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a slightly more grown-up version of a ‘sagger’ now would one? The makeup is easy…find a good moisturizer, mascara and a good lipstick and be done, the rest is unnecessary. Your natural glow is enough! As for the pen? Best of luck on your never ending quest for penning perfection, but from where I sit, the words that pour from your God-given tips already produce that which you seek at the end of the non-scratchy sounding italic nib….beautiful….xoxo
Ah WW, you are so biased…though I will concede your point about being a sagger. And yesterday Bogey literally pulled down my sweat pants in the driveway (they’re too big) – fortunately, no one is around our house to see such embarrassing moments. But the little guy was certainly delighted with himself while I yelled in horror…Everything else – you’re objectivity is gone and I LOVE that!!! xoxo, me
Not biased in the least. I have a pretty good eye for treasure! And I can just picture that little devil-dog yankin’ the sweats! rofl…perfect and I bet he WAS tickled with your response…xo
Trust me…you’re my friend and as such you see me through a very generous lens. As for the Bogey-man – even I was laughing. One minute we’re walking back to the house, the next minute he jumps up grabs my pants and down they both go…
It’s the only lens I use 🙂 And hahaha on the little prankster. You can’t help but laugh. Especially knowing (are you sure?) there were no witnesses!
Absolutely sure – it was way before the mail arrives and beyond that it’s pretty uncharted territory (thank goodness – I would have frightened the neighborhood)..xox
Oh please, they’d have been laughing WITH you! Really. haha
What an ambitious post! Any of these topics could be fodder for a week’s worth! Jeans! When I find a pair that I like and fits, I buy 6 pair and wear them for a decade no matter what the style! As for pens, when I worked I found one I liked (gel not fountain) and I bought refills for it. I still use it after 15 years (although I did wear one out). I am just hoping they don’t go out of style like comfortable jeans.
I applaud that you are true to your pen…and your jeans. I need to follow your lead..
Giggling madly here, sweet lady. I feel ya on the jeans quest. And just for the record, I haven’t seen *anyone* wear those super-tight skinny legged ‘cigarette’ jeans or whatever the hell they call they and not look like a hot mess. ;-? Let’s just say I have to be feeling pretty confident to go jeans shopping and a bikini, well, that requires sedation.
To my eyes, you’re the cutest little ‘fireplug’ I know, and your makeup always looks perfect.
That’s why I love looking at the world through your eyes honey… 😉
And let’s just say, that you could rock any outfit – even a bikini. I know this because I’ve seen you and it’s undeniable. Now go find some tea and rest! xoxoo, m
This is a great post, although I have to say it’s not jeans or blush or pens for me. Nope, I’m an eternal believer that the right hair care product will leave my hair smooth and silky. Vidal Sassoon promised me personally!
I know I’m dating myself with this – but Vidal cut my hair once. I looked like something from ‘The Planet Of The Apes’ – I swear – it was called ‘a monkey cut’ – and it succeeded in looking very simian. No one took a picture of me until it grew out. And from that point forward I never trusted anything Mr Sasson said. Just sayin’….
LOL, I just might like a simian look on you!
Really? I can do a great Magilla Gorilla impression, but Jill honey, I thought you were my friend? Me going through life looking like I need a banana???
I’ve come close with jeans (Lucky Brand, Sofia cut, which are very slim fitting but curvy, and come up higher in the back!) Blush – well, luckily they are inexpensive because I am fickle, and leave them behind as fast as I can buy a new one.
But pens! Oh how I look for just the right pen~
I ‘feel’ your need…I really do!
You did it ~ you rose to the challenge and soared! Now what did you think of that pen? I bought it yesterday and liked it, but not loving it to be honest. 🙂
I’m going to get it later today – and though I may like it, it isn’t a fountain pen, so it will have to be REALLY awesome for me to love it… 🙂
an introspective post! (and you seem to have struck a chord with those jeans, lol) Your gravatar picture is so beautiful I have a hard time believing you about your make-up color issues, but I also know we’re our own worst critics. Perfection lies in air-brushing and photo-shopping for sure. I always tell my daughters that they’re most beautiful when they smile and they could be dressed in the coolest clothes and be having the best hair day ever, etc, but if they’re scowling or sulky, no one is going to be impressed. And my guess is you have yourself a mega-watt smile 😀
Love that you know yourself well enough to laugh at the silly stuff. Good luck with the pens and jeans, etc. I’m not a big fan of trying on pants (short legs here, too), but I’ll admit to never giving a second thought to pens. What am I missing out on? 😉
Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Mimi. Beautiful as always.
p.s. lol your take on Winnie.
You my dear are not missing out on a thing. Unless of course you think fruitless expeditions are fun! ANd your advice to your girls is of course spot on – there’s nothing like a smile to truly define beauty. All of this other stuff – it’s just silliness – and that is why I can write about it. I was prompted to write this because of David’s post about the perfect pen – and I just ran with it. xox
Oh those make up ads! i fall for them every time–I have a store room full of wrinkle removers that don’t work, make up that’s just scary…clothes that are: what was I thinking!!
comfort above all, the best we can do is keep our figures and groom ourselves well, hehe…I really liked that line about the jeans that allow you to feel a comfortable breeze as you move…
and the theme that hope is stronger than reality. Without hope…well, there’s just nothing to motivate you! Hope does float as that movie noted…
finally–didja ever hear (paraphrase) that one by Winnie…something like: to engage in writing is like voluntarily acquiring a debilitating illness?
something like that…
great post, Mimi. Your imagery for the make up was so vivid and spot on! Pun intended…:)
Laughing…SO happy you liked it! And again, you punny girl you..I had heard the paraphrased quote but didn’t know that it was attributable to Winnie. What a guy…;-)
I enjoyed this delightful post from beginning to end, Mimi. Extra points for mentioning Walter Brennan.
Laughing…glad you liked it (and Walter Brennan’s hitch in his step)
I love this post Mims! It’s funny, yes, and so insightful. We can laugh about buying jeans, but c’mon, we all know how truly important [and next to impossible] it is to find the ones that make us feel, for a moment – at least until they stretch out in all the wrong spots, that they actually kind of make us look even a little bit hot. Right?? A girl can believe. I absolutely love how you went from a pen to jeans, to Winston back to pens. Brilliant. And, yes, I know brilliant when I see/read it! Mwah! xoxo
Hope Bon…I’m big on hope and less high on reality..;-) Mwah and thank you and xoxo, m
I really don’t have ‘muchkin’…bada boom.
I love to write in my diary each day about my day so I need a diary with plenty of room to write in, also I have a few different notebooks around I use to write blog post or such
I forgot!! I’m a little notebook crazy too!!!
Hi Mimi, I am so glad that I am not the only one with the “perfect pen” issue. I go crazy in Office Depot looking and trying them out. Such a thing, my grandfather would call me crazy for 🙂
But he would say it in Italian and it would sound so beautiful, it would be ok..;-)
I found them, the pens. At Target. 4 pak in pretty designs, if I remember correctly about $2.99 for the four. Loooove them! And I tuck one in my jeans pocket that just about meets up with the leg hem because they are so close together on my short little legs.
Laughing!!! Another member of the vertically challenged tribe!! Welcome my friend!! So, it’s Target for a deal – I have to head there today.
I can’t believe that I have found a forum where my obsession with office supplies, particularly pens, is supported and understood. Hi, my name is Visnja and I’m a Staples and Office Depot-aholic. Mims, you must give me the verdict on the pens! 🙂
That’s my girl!! See you soon I hope..xo
Lol!! OMG, all this talk about pens…I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me. Hilarious post, Mimi…and, really, those who can laugh at themselves are the worlds most beloved beings, that’s what I think.
Let’s just say I laugh at my own goofiness as a matter of course…;-)
OMG….. I love this post and the reason it made me giggle(?!?)! 25-30 pair of jeans I tried on this week, attempting to prepare for a trip and fall/winter. Guess how many were purchased. You got it….zip. As for the makeup….well…same thing. LMK on that pen….very interested. 🙂 hugs ♥ psb
Ah, Mimi, yet another reason to like you; we share the same body type. 🙂 You know what they say about fireplugs don’t you?….they always get things going. Chico’s Perfect Fit jeans are the only ones that help me to feel mildly like the “image” and about cheek color….next time you are up seeing Lori lets play with some of mine at Euchlora (there is such a thing as one that is harmonious!) Jane
I would LOVE that Jane!! Count me in!!
heyyy–I dunno how I missed hitting LIKE on this first time by, but I have amended. I wanted to say–that quote I mentioned in my first comment? That writing is like voluntarily taking on a debilitating illness? (paraphrase) I think it was an Orson Welles quote, not Winston. (me an’ him aren’t speaking now, you see…on account of the misquoting thing) heheh 🙂
Frankly I think Winnie should forgive you – it’s not exactly a stretch to confuse one portly guy with another. And two literate, scary smart portly guys at that..;-)