Friday, June 2, 2017

"The First Date" by Layla Henry

1 hour and 30 minutes before the date:
She begins the extensive getting ready process.
Steam coats the bathroom mirror,
and citrus shampoo wafts through the air.

She meticulously shaves her legs
because there can not be a stray hair in sight.
She goes through a multi-step skin care regimen
because no wrinkles can form on her face.

1 hour before the date:
She curls her hair to create “effortless” waves
because it makes her look carefree.

She puts on a face of “no-makeup makeup” that uses fifteen products,
but no one can ever know
because noticeable makeup means
she’s lying about her appearance.

She spends five minutes choosing a perfume
because too much means she’s stuck up.
30 minutes before the date:
She tears her room apart trying to pick an outfit
because she has to look perfect.

She slides on a pair of stilettos
because beauty is pain.
She doesn’t wear a jacket
because it takes away from her dress.
She doesn’t sit until he arrives
because her clothing can’t be wrinkled.

She takes a step back.
Why did I put myself through all of this?”

She never wears makeup.
Dresses make her feel self-conscious.
She hates heels.
But she knows that this is what she’s supposed to do.
It doesn’t matter that she isn’t very girly.
This is how a girl is supposed to act on a first date.
She can show her true personality later.
So she’ll order a salad and water.
She’ll finally open the untouched mascara.
She’ll highlight her biggest insecurities.
She’ll suffer through the blisters,
Because that’s what she’s been taught to do.

Her phone snaps her out of her thoughts.
He’ll be here any second.
She takes a deep breath.
She prepares for the small talk,
The awkward silences,
The fake.
Because that’s what she’s been taught to do.

The doorbell rings.
She greets him with a soft smile
because she can’t look too eager.
“You look beautiful” he says.
She knows she does,
but she can’t recognize that because she’ll sound conceited.
So all she can say is, “Oh this is nothing, I just got up from a nap”

because that’s what she’s been taught to do.

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