Dolling up for a step outside the bubble |

Dolling up for a step outside the bubble

Alison Berkley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

“This is like going to the doctor but worse,” the kid with the mohawk who was standing in line behind me going through security at DIA said. “This totally sucks.”

I’m on my way to Hawaii for two weeks and already I feel like I’m a long way from Aspen. As I followed the herd through the 20-row maze, I felt like one of the best looking people there. That’s a great place to begin.

I’m always amazed at how overweight, pale and tired the general public looks. There’s also all this generic lifestyle stuff that still goes on, like the guys in their business suits who always look uncomfortable and stuffy, like they’re sitting in the car with the windows rolled up on a hot summer day. I can’t believe there are still bosses out there who make their employees dress like that. What’s more, I can’t imagine who came up with the concept of a suit in the first place, all starched shirts and buttoned up collars, a tie cinched around the neck like a noose. You would’ve thought we laid-back Americans would have grown out of that phase by now.

Then there are women toting four kids under the age of 10, always with a flush faced toddler screaming and squirming in their arms as they push a stroller the size of a small automobile packed with a truckload of “necessities” for traveling with kids. They might as well be wearing neon signs on their head that say “USE BIRTH CONTROL!” in bright purple letters. Nothing like a little reality to keep things in perspective. Anyway, you can tell most of these people haven’t played outside in the snow for a while or had wind on their cheeks or sun in their faces.

I look like I’ve had plenty of sun already on account of burning myself to a crisp in the stand-up oven that is the tanning bed at Pretty Nails in Steamboat. I’m not sure when I was led to believe that a fake burn is somehow a prerequisite for a real burn, but off to the tanning bed I went. I always go in the new high-powered one, the stand up machine that’s like a UV closet that cooks you from every possible direction. Hot air blows up your panties Marilyn Monroe style, and it gets so hot in there that at one point I almost can smell my skin cooking. Because they set the thing on broil instead of bake, you’re done in half the time, only nine minutes.

Because I’m going to the beach, elaborate preparations were made that began in Glenwood where I succumbed to the torture that is a Brazilian wax. I’ve had this done enough times by now that I’m pretty good at it. I don’t get embarrassed even though I’m lying there spread eagle and naked from the waist down with my legs splayed in more directions than a porn star and am getting waxed by some middle aged woman with a thick Eastern European accent. I don’t even flinch when the wax clearly is too hot and never, ever scream or say “ouch” because I know such statements are rhetorical in this setting. I even know how to make jokes, clever remarks like, “wow, that felt great!” when she moves on to less painful areas, like my inner thighs.

At the nail place where I tan, I go for a whimsical mani/pedi and decide to get polka dots on my fingers and toes ” navy blue with white on my fingers and hot pink with white on my toes. The old Asian lady who did my nails got a real kick out of it because she kept nodding and saying “you funny” as if I was doing it as a joke.

The airplane outfit always is a challenge when traveling from a cold climate to a warm one, but I think I totally nailed it. I did my million-dollar torn-up True Religions jeans with a black T-shirt, black lined hoodie and black Roxy Mary Jane sneakers. I’m trying to grow out my bangs so the hair went up in a barrette in front with the back long and straight.

“You look like you’re 12 years old,” my brother said as I was leaving the house.

“Thanks for the compliment, brother who usually is mean to me,” I said. “That’s funny because I feel like I’m 12, too.”

The point is, you don’t have to go too far from the Aspen bubble to realize we have it pretty damn good. No one else at the airport has polka dotted fingernails or a perma-grin from riding powder all season. There are hundreds of people here, and I don’t see a single almost-38-year old that looks 12.

So count your blessings, Aspen. I’d tell you how great Hawaii is going to be, but I don’t want to burst your bubble.

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