Sunday, August 9, 2009

Is Vanity all in Vain?

The other day, while driving to my office early in the morning, I observed something interesting. There's a stretch of about 2 miles that has about 6 traffic lights. At the first light, which happened to be red, I glanced at the car parallel to me and saw a middle-aged, tired looking lady in the driver's seat. She had a make-up box opened on the passenger seat and was frantically rubbing something on her face. The traffic was slow and we crawled to the next light, which was again red. The same car was parallel to me and I glanced at her again. She had another lotion that she was applying on her face. It did seem to make her face glow and now she decidedly looked less tired. Coincidentally, all the 6 lights were red for me that day. This lady's car was always next to mine at all of them and she was constantly doing something to her face and hair. By the fourth traffic light, she looked about 10 years younger and started to look familiar. By the 6th light, I knew who she was. She was actually the young secretary in the suite next to our office!

What a difference a few traffic lights and some make-up can make! She looked a whole lot younger and a lot more energetic compared to the middle-aged lady I saw at the first traffic light. Most men complain when their significant others take a lot of time to get ready. But men are vain too, maybe not to the degree that the fairer sex is. But if you can look a bit younger, more energetic and feel good about yourself by smacking a few lotions & potions on your face, why not? Maybe vanity is not vain, after all, if it stays within the confines of common sense.

Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. Being too vain leads to arrogance, as some mistakenly believe that that their looks add to their stature.

"Love measures our stature: the more we love, the bigger we are. There is no smaller package in all the world than that of a man all wrapped up in himself."
~ George Elliott