The Price of PrettyCategory: General   Jan 5th 2016  10:52AM   0

I started laser treatments for sun damage in 2011. I had it everywhere: face, neck, chest, arms, legs, back, feet, and hands. Only my butt, belly, and breasts were spared in my reckless, west coast, water skiing, beach going, sun worshipping youth. I've lasered most of my body twice over, and face and chest numerous times. I'm still not done, nowhere near, in fact.

There was a setback when an overzealous dermatologist (yes, an actual MD) did more harm than good, then tried to fix her mistake by repeating the same treatment that damaged my décolletage in the first place (and left me looking as if I were attacked by a crazed waffle iron). Finally, the (extremely well-known/respected Austin) clinic put another doctor on the case with a different type of laser. It took four more treatments (I'd already had six) to undo the damage, plus 18 hours of my life I'll never get back. Many years earlier, another doctor at this same clinic treated one small "worrisome" spot so aggressively that they left a permanent scar (not to mention the initial spot, which I finally had to have another dermatologist remove). Around that same time (2011-2014), I had one chemical peel, multiple treatments for broken capillaries (a common issue for thin-skinned redheads), and countless laser treatments for fine lines and a smooth complexion.

I'm nowhere near done. There's micro-needling on the horizon, among other procedures, but it's a process. It's time-consuming and expensive, but it works so I don't complain (much), just don't get me started on mole removal (which starts at $100/per), although I do wish more men would get started on it because ugh (pro tip: exfoliation, Jesus.) Anyway, most men have no clue what women go through on a daily basis, much less as the years pass, and especially in my line of work (or any in which beauty and a youthful appearance are vital, even necessary, assets). Since going pro as a companion over five years ago, I've invested progressively more time and money every year. It starts in a woman's teens and never ends. The overall expense is nearly incalculable, though I try to estimate it now and then. 

There are essentials like feminine hygiene products, of course, which total thousands over a woman's lifetime. Then hair products and cosmetics like mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, pressed powder, pore minimizer, blush, bronzer, tools and applicators, etc. ... you get the idea. I have toners, serums, cleansers, lotions, and magical potions galore averaging $100-200 a tube or bottle, sometimes higher. I use a dozen different high-quality, organic products on my hair and skin every day (before makeup). The device I use to cleanse my face cost $200 alone. I have two distinct curling wands, two types of straighteners, and a $300 high-end ionic blow dryer. I use three separate brushes on my long, thick hair (depending on different styling purposes and degree of wetness). Because my hair is so thick, coarse, and wavy it takes 15 minutes to get it styled into a simple ponytail, and 30-40 minutes for something elaborate or special. I need a bang trim every three weeks, which takes 15 minutes plus another 40 in drive time. I get it cut five times a year (though not colored) for $130 and 90 minutes of my day. As a natural strawberry-blond, my brows and lashes require coloring twice a month for a total of $2k/year and a sum total of 24 hours annually. (That's right, my year is 364 days long compared to your 365, in order that one-third of my face be more aesthetically pleasing to the male population). 

Nail polish, buffers, mani/pedis, exfoliation, cuticle trimming, tweezing ... it goes on and on. Men do almost none of this stuff, but it's all part of a woman's daily life. Our razors (the pink ones, of course) cost more than their blue counterparts. I buy men's razors and shave most of my body hair every other day. I have for years, and with legs as toned as mine it requires skill and patience, otherwise I'd shell out even more for a lifetime supply of irritating and not-at-all invisible Band-Aids. I've finally started the long, expensive process of electrolysis (because lasers aren't effective at removing strawberry-blonde hair). I'm doing it from (fore)head to toe and plan to be the smoothest skinned centenarian on the planet in 52 years (which is approximately how long it'll take to remove every offensive stray or strand from those pesky eyebrows down). Once a week until I die, I'll spend 90 minutes + $120 experiencing significant pain on some small part of my body. All to be beautiful for you. 

You're welcome. Also thank you. If you've read this far, you may be thinking, "Do I really need to know how the sausage is made?" 

I've never liked revealing this stuff, but it's been on my mind, particularly yesterday when I spent half an hour online just scheduling the next 12 months of electrolysis. 

Most men need a comb, toothbrush, razor, nail trimmer, nose hair clippers (yes, you do), and that's it. (Actually, most men need a lot more than that but are shockingly unaware.) The point is, women spend way more than men on basic grooming and beauty maintenance. I read a study citing $200,000 over a lifetime for the average woman (which for an upscale companion is a drop in the bucket). This is the world we live in; this is modern life. I don't make the rules, I just play by them (well ... most of them).

As a single person I also spend 50% more time and money than a married person on everything from grocery trips & errands (there is no taking turns when you live alone), to gas, insurance, rent, utilities, and taxes. (Why married people get a tax break is beyond me when singles already have it worse.) I intend to look better than Jane Fonda or Christie Brinkley at their age (78 and 61, respectively) but will have spent hundreds of thousands more for it than single men of the same age, and probably $1M more than married men. 

Most of my clients are clueless about this stuff and would do well to weigh the price of a modern women's beauty requirements against the nearly free ride they get. It doesn't cost a thing to pay attention. It also takes some of the sting out of my expenses when the men in my life appreciate the excess time, effort, and money I spend. 

Also, the next client to complain about how much it costs to date me is going to get an electrolysis needle up his ass. I'm just saying. ;)

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