Challenged By Choices -
One Woman's Battle to Make It Out of the Bathroom

By Dena Harris

Given the amount of choices I face with every morning, it’s a miracle I ever make it out of the bathroom. Or maybe it’s a miracle I muster the guts to go in there in the first place.

Let’s start with the shower. Shave or don’t shave? Half-leg or full? Bikini shave? (Oops—we lost the men.) Shampoo – regular or clarifying? Deep conditioning or hot oil treatment? Buff or loofah? And let’s not forget soap. I have different soaps for my face, feet, torso, and private parts. All I need is for somebody to invent a hydroxy-oxiginating elbow and big toe specialty soap and my lather collection will be complete.

After the shower (towel-dry or air-dry?), I move to my vanity. Here I almost lose courage. Spraying Peppermint Oil on my tired tootsies helps me press on.

Glasses or contacts? I opt for contacts. Big mistake. Now I can see what I have to work with. I haul out the big guns, my makeup tray. I use the same five pieces of makeup everyday, but feel obligated to inventory no less than a billion alternate pieces in case I ever feel the need for a new look.

Makeup or no makeup? (Fine, that’s a no brainer). But what color—pinks, neutrals, oranges, or reds? Dewy or matte? Dramatic, classy, or the “soft” look, achieved only by holding a GTE soft-pink bulb over my head for the day?

About this time my husband pounds on the door, whining he’ll be late for work and fired if he’s not allowed in soon to shower. I ignore him and turn the radio volume to “9.”

Hair. Curly or straight? And which of the gels, molds, sprays, foams, crèmes, rinses, and leave-in conditioners should I apply? Screw it—I’ll use a bit of everything and just avoid open flames for the day.

Now I need clothes. (I hear my husband at the door, untwisting the screws. “Have you seen my tampons?” I shout, which seems to do the trick.)

Back to clothes. Casual, sporty, classic, wash-n-wear, or rugged? Actually, I don’t own any of these looks. Apparently my mood for the last ten years has been one of potentially dangerous psychopath as my choices consist of the jeans with the jam stain that won’t come out or my tan pants, which make my butt look big. Jeans it is. I slip on a raspberry top to match the jam stain and hope people will think it’s a look.

I’m not even going into shoe options.

Almost ready. Earring choices include hoops, hooks, silver, gold, colored, dangling, diamonds, metals, beads, animal figures, or pearls.

For those of us with double or triple pierced ears, this is often the point in our morning routine when we start weeping. For readers with multiple pierced body parts, my condolences.

There’s no escape. The only way I can live smarter is to remove myself from society and return to the cave-dwelling times of my ancestors. I have only one question.

Hairbone or no hairbone?

This piece first appeared in the March/April 2005 issue of "U Magazine."