Now I’m not saying I let myself go during a deployment, but I do “relax” into what can only be described as a asexual state.
Because navy wives are a strange hybrid during deployments, we’re not single we are “taken” in the sense that we have got a partner, but they are just not here at the minute. When I do go out, dont get me wrong, I like to look good and feel good. I’m not paired up in the traditional marriage sense, but I AM spoken for. I dont flirt nor do I want to, but you dont fit into the “single” category, nor do I feel that I can 100% fit in with the married gals I’m out with either.
I still feel single in the sense that I have only got me to depend on, there’s no lift home from hubby, no one to swap stories with when I come stumbling in, he’s not there for me to catch his eye in the universal sign of “help! weirdo alert” when some creepy guy at the bar starts chatting to me. I have to pay the whole taxi fare. There’s no one to hold my hair back etc.
To compensate for the strange dynamic of being in a relationship, yet for all intents, purposes and for practical reasons, hoofing it alone, when they’re away you can totally get away with things that you can’t when they’re home.
I don’t shave my legs when hubby is gone, unless it is a very special occasion or Im getting worried the hairs have started to stick through my leggings and the static may cause a spark at the petrol station.
I do shave my armpits, but not with the finesse or attention to detail that arises when Popeye is home or it is summer. I have been known to wear a t shirt in lieu of a vest top because of my relaxed attitude to underarm fuzz during deployment.
I let my eyebrows have a race to the centre of my forehead (not really, but they do get quite bad at points).
Skin care routine? What skin care routine? (Unless you count leaving makeup on overnight and using shower gel to get it off the next day).
Of course hubby never knows about this, when on the phone I can pretend that I’m up and am having an oh-so-productive day when really I have spent two hours playing candy crush and looking at cats doing stupid things on YouTube, I’m still in my dressing gown and the dog has buried a chew toy under the duvet next to me. In the same vein if we ever Skype I will make sure my face and upper body look great, in some stylish top, and he will never know that my bottom half is wearing primark pyjamas with jams stains on them.
I only send him the pictures of me that I like, so I get to filter out all those that make me look a tad bizarre. It’s not a lie as such, more like giving Popeye a more favourable angle to miss when he’s away.
“Ah hah! clever me!” I think. “It’s the perfect ruse! I can totally relax my already fairly lax beauty regime and he will never know! Am a genius, this way he is still in love with me and I don’t have to worry about trivial things like haircuts or nice nails! nice one Olive, you’re doing swell girl.”
This state of happy self contentment/blissful unawareness continues until…
“Oh CRAP. It’s three weeks till he’s home! Three weeks! how did this happen?
When you’ve stopped staring blankly at the calendar agog that the time has actually past you come to the scary realisation that, he’s really coming home AND (no matter how many times you speed change, turn off the light and dive bomb under the covers) he’s going to have to see you naked at some point. SHIT.
And I’ve just realised my mother in law reads this blog. Hi…*waves*…
Once the initial surge of panic fades, you make the navy wife MOT list:
2. Stop biting nails then get manicure.
3. Sort out feet.
4. Shave legs (if I start now I should be finished by the time he’s home)
5. Wax everything.
6. Exfoliate six months of dead skin cells off of your body.
7. Put a face mask on, maybe play some Enya or other plinky plonky music, to try and convince yourself this is pampering and relaxing, and not at all stressful or painful.
(Oh yes and the house list:
1. Clean the crap out of everything in a style of nervous desperation because you can’t sit still until the house is gleaming and you’re scared to move anything anywhere.)
I’ve suggested at my local salon that they should have a package called the Navy Wife MOT and include a haircut, bikini wax and eyebrow shape in it. I think they though I was joking but I was totally serious! All my navy wife friends do this, or a variation of this, depending (in my case) just how bad they’ve let themselves get during the deployment. Some girls probably look like they’ve bathed in milk and honey and had their makeup licked on by kittens every day (like my personal self image nemesis at 6.30am in the morning, – Charlotte from Sky News no one should look that good at that time of the morning, it’s unnatural and unrealistic and makes me want to cry into my bowl of Special K red berries).
Sorry, got carried away.
I am not one of those girls. I forget to take my makeup off at night, and wake up looking like ive been punched in both eyes (sexy), I would rather have an extra five minutes snooze than spend ages on my makeup in the morning, I frequently button up my cardigans (see, I wear cardigans!) the wrong way and don’t notice, all day. And I have gone out SO many times with not just wet hair, but wet hair with conditioner still completely in it, for that “barely dry, yet totally greasy” look.
The annoying thing is that this homecoming level of personal preening lasts for about a month after Popeye is home, after that I relax again, not quite to deployment level, but not as OCD as when MOT time comes around. That’s because it’s just not me. I mean, I’m clean and I make sure I’m de-fuzzed, but I don’t let it take over my life. My skin may not have been treated to a facial, my eyebrows may have just left the starting blocks, but an MOT level beautification isn’t needed, as lame as it sounds I feel confident just being myself.
A navy wife MOT is that extra reassurance when I feel what (I hope) are quite natural homecoming body image insecurities. Realising that hey I’m not asexual, I’m a woman, an ok looking woman at that, and he loves me. Sometimes it just takes a little extra scrubbing to make me realise that I could show up wearing a bin bag and Popeyes eyes would still light up like its Christmas.