My area of professional expertise is mentoring graduate students and new faculty members as they navigate the early stages of their teaching career. Most of the time, the mentoring involves how to develop a course, various teaching strategies, and learning how to play well with others. Once in a while, though, I need to have “the talk” with one of them. Yes, I have to break the news to them that if they are hoping to have a successful career, they may want to consider engaging in basic grooming habits…such as bathing and/or washing their clothes. And don’t for a moment you think you know exactly the “type” of professor I’m talking about. I’ve had the conversation across academic disciplines, ages, and genders. You’d be surprised.
Not surprisingly, our elegance mentor, Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, has something to say about personal grooming:
The cornerstone of elegance might be represented by a bar of soap.
Madame Dariaux is quick to point out that being squeaky clean does not automatically lead to elegance but that one cannot be elegant unless one is perfectly groomed. She tells us that every woman needs to have a good full-length mirror and a magnifying hand mirror so that we can give ourselves a good inspection to make sure that our
- hands and nails are impeccable (including the nail polish/artificial nails)
- hair is neatly arranged
- makeup is neat and virtually undetectable (no masks allowed)
- shoes are clean, polished, and the heels are in good shape
- stockings fit well and don’t have any major snags or runs in them
- garments are pressed
- the hemline of a skirt is even all around (without any loose threads hanging down)
- lingerie straps are invisible (*cough* bra straps *cough*)
- outfit is clean and spot free (yes, we can see that spot you don’t think anyone will notice…)
She also reminds us that we need to use deodorant and a splash of cologne or eau de toilette daily (a hint of the cologne…you don’t want to set other people’s allergies off because you went overboard in the fragrance department). Madame Dariaux tells us not to feel forlorn over this long list of things we have to check in our grooming because once we get into the habit, it will only take a moment to go through the mental checklist.
Finally, Madame Dariaux warns us about “letting ourselves go.” She accurately notes that ignoring personal grooming is a sign of depression and that we shouldn’t brush it off as not having enough time to take care of ourselves. In true mid-century fashion, she prescribes a trip to a salon for a new hairstyle or a mani/pedi (okay, she didn’t use that modern description) as a perfect antidote for the blues.
What do you think? Yay or nay on the whole bra straps showing thing? What about the need to bathe everyday? Is the Saturday Night Bath a thing of the past?