Saturday, July 19, 2008

Oh God Yes: Beauty Tips for Ministers

"When I'm applying my creams and oil I say two Our Fathers and two Hail Marys. I tell God, 'you've just got to help me take care of my face and neck!' I say it imploringly, not demandingly. My faith, I've been told, is childlike. This was not, I believe, intended as a compliment."

--Hildegarde, Over 50-- So What! (1963)

When I was a child, an aunt of mine found Jesus. It was rather sudden as I recall. She explained to me that she had formed a close and personal relationship with him that extended even to the dressing table. Every morning, she said, she prayed to the savior for guidance in choosing the eye shadow that would best coordinate with her outfit. He seemed partial to blue.

I get very curious about anything that combines God and religion with beauty and grooming. Perhaps you realize that by now. And I just came across the most delightful thing:

Beauty Tips for Ministers, a blog by an actual minister. It features dos (pretty braids), don'ts (visible lacy underwear), and friendly advice to fellow clergy members. The writer emphasizes the importance of self-care to her peers, who often overlook the need to appear polished and professional, in a field that focuses on the spiritual and on helping others. Often I read about religious women whose views on beauty are very old-fashioned, but this blog is run by a sassy, modern career gal. After a bad haircut, she muses:

"What to do, what to do? No bright lipstick to draw the eye even more irresistably to the jawline. How about a smoky eye to distract attention upwards. But it’s Sunday morning, not an appropriate time for a smoky eye."

She offers practical advice for keeping cool under all those robes, guidelines for plus-size ladies of the cloth, and comfort for a reader who feels "sinful" after compulsively overeating and gaining weight. Once in a while, she is forced to invoke the Lord's name:

"For the Love of God, please let us not let our sisters wear SCRUNCHIES in the hair."