Unfortunately, there's no escaping a degree of essential body maintenance, which my need for symmetry can make 10 times more time-consuming than it should be.
One such job is cutting and filing my nails. My OCD sets me one goal, which is that exactly the same amount of white should be left visible on each nail. The easiest way to accomplish this, is to aim for a white edge about a millimetre wide.
|Image courtesy of Praisaeng/FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Except, all too often, I get carried away and one nail ends up with no edge at all, which means I have to file them all down to nothing to match. This carries the risk of intruding into the area where the nail attaches to the skin. Before I know it, I'm sawing into my flesh, half my fingertips are bleeding, and I can't hold anything properly for the next three days. Opposable thumbs are no use whatsoever, when they throb with pain every time you pick something up.
An even harder job is getting my eyebrows the same shape. Arguably, eyebrow topiary is veering out of essential maintenance into pampering, but I'm at risk of developing a monobrow without some pruning. I've already been called 'sir' half a dozen times in the last year - I assume because tall + short hair = man - and don't want to be mistaken for Noel Gallagher.
This task has been taking me longer and longer in recent years, the time increasing exponentially with the diminishment of my near sight. For a while, I managed by kneeling next to the window, for the best light, and using a mirror with the greatest magnification available. Finally, though, I had to admit defeat and resort to the services of a beautician.
Control of my eyebrows' symmetry was now in the hands of a stranger: a daunting prospect, made worse by the fact that she was proposing to thread them and I had no idea what that entailed. I lay back, closed my eyes, and tried not to panic, while peculiar twanging noises emanated from my brow area. The threading alone wasn't enough, though. I felt her tweezing and then heard the snip of scissors - from the amount of activity, I must have been pretty close to a career as a Noel Gallagher lookalike.
At this point, I was worrying less about whether my eyebrows would match, and more about whether I would have any left at all: although that look would, at least, have had the merit of unequivocal symmetry.
Finally, she invited me to sit up and inspect her handiwork. Wonder of wonders, my eyebrows were perfect. Somehow, even the fact that one is slightly higher than the other was less obvious.
So, it seems symmetry can be achieved, and all it costs is £8...and giving up just a bit of that control I'm so wedded to.