Woe! It’s Wednesday: High Maintenance

A writer acquaintance posted a few months ago on Facebook that she’d just gotten her second pedicure in her life. “High maintenance I’m not!” she wrote.

I cringed for her.

I knew what she meant. She doesn’t fuss over her hair and makeup and appearance. I don’t judge her for that at all. Truly.

But I also knew she’d get some push back from others, who do regularly get pedicures, protesting her characterization of them as high maintenance.

I’ve always thought the term “high maintenance” referred to women (and men) who require a great deal of emotional investment. Those people who demand constant attention or affirmation are the ones I think of high maintenance. It’s exhausting to deal with them. So I don’t, for the most part.

People who spend a lot of time, money and attention to their personal grooming I don’t think of as high maintenance. Yes, they probably spend a good bit of money on regular appointments, but if that’s what it takes for them to feel good about themselves and their kids aren’t starving, then I say go and be filled. Or be highlighted, waxed, and polished, as the case may be.

I started getting my brows waxed just a few years ago. When my eyesight got so bad that I couldn’t see the tweezers and the brow hairs well enough to connect the two, even with a magnifying mirror. And you know what? I consider it $18 dollars very well spent. I feel better when I have shaped and clean eyebrows. I get a pedicure about once a month during the toenail baring months of April to October. If that makes me high maintenance, then I’m okay with that.

But if you call me high maintenance and you’re not referring to my grooming habits, then we have a problem. Or maybe I’m in denial.

Another Facebook acquaintance — let’s call her Enid — posted that her sister called her high maintenance and Enid scoffed at her. I’d have to agree with the sister. Enid requires a great deal of emotional time and attention. Her posts are frequently whiny and complain that she’s being imposed upon. Blessedly, her family is large and loving and are willing to invest into her psyche. I just find her exhausting to be around.

I’m interested to hear what you think of as “high maintenance.” Is it purely a physical level of care? or emotional? or both?