Vanity, Thy Name is…

Apparently I spend waaaay too much time on the Internet because I’m always happening upon something distracting.  Today it was a quiz called “Are You Vain?”  And turns out there are nearly a dozen different quizzes wanting to assess the same thing.  Apparently vanity is a major problem in this culture.  I mean, I looked and could not find a dozen quizzes on “Do You Need a Breath Mint?” or “Are You Just a Little Bit Psycho?” and I personally run into a lot more people with those problems.  But vanity.  Hmm.

So of course I had to take the quiz.  And then another.  And another.  And the one clear thing to emerge from the results is that the authors of the quizzes have odd ideas about what constitutes vanity.  Questions about whether you buy skin care products or like to have a new outfit when you go out on the weekend seem to have more to do with a person’s disposable income than it does vanity.  Just as inquiring whether a person talks all the time might have more to do with the fact that they’re a crashing bore.

Turns out different people have different ideas of what constitutes vanity.  I once went snorkeling with friends on vacation.  Afterwards I took two minutes to pull a comb through my hair and put some gunk in it so it wouldn’t look like I’d been dragged out of a dolphin’s…blowhole.  A friend told me that was vain.  Really?

So then we had a long discussion about this.  One thought that having your nails done was vain.  Is it less vain if you do them yourself? Isn’t it vain, then, to have someone cut your hair for you?  In order to avoid vanity should we pay the hairdresser to make our hair look as awful as possible?  Should we buy clothes that don’t flatter us in order to avoid vanity?

Some of the quiz questions suggested that wearing make up was vain.  I always figured it was thoughtful. I mean, this is me taking some pains so the sight of me does not sear people’s retinas.  You’d think I’d get credit for being considerate.

One quiz had lots of questions about whether one belongs to a gym.  Isn’t staying in shape healthy?  Does membership really constitute vanity?  Another seemed to think if you didn’t buy your shampoo from a discount store then that was vain.  I don’t know about the authors of these quizzes, but I *fear* my hairdresser.  I go to great lengths to keep her happy and that includes purchasing her products.  I’m pretty sure that makes me a wimp, but vain?  I don’t buy it.

Another question asked:  After your shower, does it take you more than twenty minutes to get ready?  I was flabbergasted.  I can actually get dressed, blow dry my hair, put on makeup and do my hair in twenty-two minutes.  I thought that was lightning like speed.  My husband agrees.  I suspect the author of that quiz must bear a startling resemblance to a ninja turtle.  If she’s bald and just has to slip into a shell everyday, sure she can get ready in a few minutes.  But twenty minutes does not count as ‘primping’ in my book.

Here’s one of the quizzes, just in case you feel compelled to find out how vain you are:

http://www.blogthings.com/howvainareyouquiz/

My score:  38% vain.  Okay, so you’re slightly vain from time to time, but you’re not superficial at all.  You are realistic.  You know that looks matter.  You just try to make them matter less.

Don’t patronize me, Quizmaster.  And you’re way off base.  I’m just on the treadmill of life trying desperately to avoid tripping over various body parts and scaring small children when I go out of the house.

So how vain are you?  What’s your definition of vanity?  How far do you/would you go to look better?

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14 Responses to Vanity, Thy Name is…

  1. Sonya Heaney says:

    I got 11%. I feel smug :)
    But you know we live in a world chock-full of health and obesity problems when exercise is considered a BAD thing! I have no real choice but to exercise regularly because of a serious knee problem I’ve had since I was about nine. That doesn’t make me vain – it just means I want to not dislocate my joints!

  2. Kylie Brant says:

    11%??? You deserve to feel smug. Although in my defense I have to say the older I get the more care it takes And if I didn’t do weight bearing exercises I wouldn’t be able to life a sack of sugar. I’m notoriously weak.

  3. Willa says:

    I don’t know about vain – but I can do smugger :D Lol!

    I am 5% vain! ‘You don’t have a vain bone in your body – almost as a matter of principal.
    You demand to be judged on who you are, not what you look like’

    Great post – chortled all the way through!

  4. kylie brant says:

    Willa you guys are making me feel…well, vain :) I took another quiz in Ladies Home Journal, I think it was. You could score 0–150 points with 150 being most narcissistic. I scored 15…and they said 0-15 was ‘a little bit vain.’ What the….! How can 0 be a little bit vain? But I’ll admit I am a little bit…I have nails done (although it wouldn’t bother me to go without.) But I’d *never* go without my hair products…they do wonders for my straight stick hair!

  5. Cindy Gerard says:

    LOL Kylie. I don’t think I’ll take the quiz. I have a feeling I won’t like the results LOL

  6. kylie brant says:

    Pretty sure we’re in the same boat, Cindy!

  7. 17% vain here…but the older I get, the less I think of those things, I guess. Though I’m on edge today–the gal who has cut my hair for several years just up and retired January 1st, the stinker! How could she leave me adrift?! :) And today is my first shot with someone new. With this very curly, fine hair, it’s not an easy task, and I still cringe at the memory of the stylist who was once in the midst of a cut muttering under her breath, “WHAT am I going to do with this??!”

  8. kylie brant says:

    I don’t even want to think about what will happen when my hairdresser retires! She’s 71 already.

    We got into a whole philosophical discussion over this with my friends, LOL reminiscent of the discussion on Friends one time about whether there was ever a truly unselfish act. My argument was even if you deliberately dressed in a way that didn’t enhance your figure; wore your hair in the least attractive way possible, etc. the fact that it was deliberate meant that you were still fixated on your appearance and were still vain :)

  9. 15%, which is probably high. About halfway through I was beginning to feel like a slacker, so I was like, well, maaaybe I’d have a little face work done, when the answer is really no way would I let anyone peel my face like a piece of fruit.

    My mother would have scored really high on the vanity scale. She used to order infomercial miracle creams regularly. She tried every teeth-whitening thing she came across in the back of women’s mags. She didn’t know she was beautiful, and–sorry One Direction–that wasn’t what made her beautiful. I remember her laughing at a TV commercial for some “beauty” product shortly before she died. “I bought that stuff,” she said. “I should have known better.”

    Like most of us, Mama had her insecurities–the root of a woman’s vanity, I dare say. Mine included. In her considerable wisdom, I think Mama had always known better. After all, why would God waste a miracle on wrinkle cream?

    • kylie brant says:

      I’m pretty sure that question is the same one that tripped me up, Kathleen. But I’d be okay with it :) My aunt is absolutely stunning. I remember being early twenties and my mom telling me that my aunt was going to get a face lift. In the judgmental way of youth I said, “That’s the ultimate vanity.” My mom said, “I don’t think so. Look what my face would look like if I had one.” And she lifted the sagging skin, stretching it smooth. And I thought, “Wow. That would look good!” It’s easy to have no vanities when skin is still smooth and supple and the turkey wattle neck is a specter far far in the distance, LOL. But the ‘turkey’ has landed and I’d be ok with getting rid of it! Which is probably where my 38% came from :)

  10. Quilt Lady says:

    You don’t have a vain bone in your body, that is what it said. I think I would rather read then try to look better.

  11. Kylie Brant says:

    Hard to argue with that!

  12. michelehauf says:

    I’ve never really thought about it before, but when I do, I suspect the only thing I would really define as vain is doing something to oneself in an attempt to improve when it could cause real and irreversible harm. Like plastic surgery. Does anyone EVER look like they haven’t had it? I mean look at Hollywood nowadays. We can certainly see who had the ‘secret’ lift all those decades ago, because it shows now. And that’s vain.

  13. Kylie Brant says:

    Hmm, maybe that’s where my 38% came from, LOL :) I’d do it in a heartbeat. To me wanting to look your best isn’t what makes you vain, it’s a more pervasive personality trait of narcissism and conceit. The ones who are always checking themselves out in mirrors, or the ones who have to have the world revolve around them. But it’s an interesting discussion and one worth having, I think. The word truly means different things to different people. And having grown up with five brothers and sisters, I’m always up for a good discussion!

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