High Maintenance? Low Maintenance? Look Below The Label

By Jen Fine, IATG ContributorJanuary 25, 2016


As the queen of all things hair, nails, and makeup, it’s easy to see why some might categorize me as high maintenance. After all, you’ll never catch me for more than two minutes without my nails done--that’s usually just the gap between removing and polishing. Growing up on Long Island surrounded by nicely put together women, I was taught from a young age that being quaffed was a necessity and a right.

Despite the Coach cross body, which was a holiday gift, and the pedicures every few weeks, I promise I’m just as down to earth, if not more so, than the next girl. The truth is, there’s a difference between looking good and having nice things because YOU want to and looking good and having nice things just to please others. It’s important to note where the difference comes in.

In actuality, I can be in and out of the shower, get dressed, apply my makeup, and style my hair all within fifteen minutes. When I come home from a long night out, there’s about a 99% chance my Yankee pajama pants will be on my body before anyone even has the chance to ask how my night was.

Being high maintenance does not equate to having the desire to look decent when you walk down the street, but instead is viewed as the mindset that nothing will ever be good enough. And I, for one, refuse to be labeled high maintenance by anyone who thinks they know the real me.

The low maintenance girl trapped in the high maintenance body LOVES to lie around in her sweatpants and watch sports. Not only does she give little thought to how much money her significant other spends on her, but she also values the simple things in life. It’s not about appearances or making sure all of her friends know just how serious it is to order a meal with extra avocado and no added sugars, it’s about being easygoing and calm, about being eager to weather whatever storm she comes into contact with. The laid back nature of the low maintenance girl may not be obvious all the time, but it’s certainly there once you get to know her.

This year I challenge everyone to really get to know someone before attaching a label that may not fit the package; to get an insight into an individual’s heart and mind without assuming that the things they own or the things they wear are an obvious indication of the things they enjoy or value.

Being deemed “down-to-earth” requires digging below the surface and getting to know someone after the makeup comes off. While there’s nothing wrong with being high maintenance, the stigma surrounding that kind of girl has its problems.

In reality, it’s the people that stick around past midnight on a Friday, after the boots and the jackets and the glasses have been put away, that get to know the raw and ridiculous things about a person. It’s the person that asks for a study date, rather than a dinner date that gets to see her in a natural light instead of when she’s trying hard to leave an impression. When it comes down to it, we all have a little high and low maintenance inside of us, but with a little less stereotyping and a lot more exploration, that distinction can finally be made.

Let’s chat!

When was the last time you unfairly labeled someone without getting to know them? Spend some time journaling about your discoveries. Why are we so quick to judge? Why is it scary to open up and show people the “real you?”

About Jen

JENNIFER_FINE_writer_bio.jpgJen is currently a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys all things sarcastic, obsessing over the New York Rangers, and is a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee fanatic. When she’s not singing in the shower, writing her feelings, or dishing out life advice to her friends, you can catch her lying around watching One Tree Hill for the third time. Feel free to check out her personal blog at jenfine.wordpress.com for more!


Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.

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