Beauty is pain. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. I realize that die-hard Princess Bride fans are firing up their e-mails at this very second to correct my misquote but I still think it applies here.

Beauty is a highly prized commodity in our society and therefore we will go to great lengths to own It or be It or even just be in the general vicinity of It. I’m not talking about plastic surgery or leg-extending or even Botox here, just the ordinary things we do so often they become de rigeur. You know, like poking yourself in the eye with a mascara wand. Do you realize that if everyone simultaneously stopped wearing mascara then all of our lashes would shrink proportionately and we’d end up at about the same place we started. But no, we must paint the hair attached to our eye lids. Future generations will cluck derisively. As they get surgical eyelash implants. Don’t even get me started on lipstick, a.k.a. tubes of lead paint that you put on the things you use to eat.

Aside to the Men

Before you men get all uppity, I have one thing to say to you: chest press. The one piece of gym equipment that is always in use on the weight floor is the chest press. And it’s not the ladies trying to fill out their sweaters (oh, if only that worked!). For some reason this is the manliest of all exercises, often to the exclusion of working one’s back or legs giving them the classic big-on-top-small-everywhere-else look. We women do not find the Quasimodo look attractive so don’t tell me you guys do it to impress us. Plus? Nose hair trimmers. Egads.

And back to the Women

Although I will admit that women probably have a longer list of things we suffer for beauty: waxing, plucking, shaving, thong underwear and of course, stilettos top the list. High heels are a double edged sword. On one hand they shorten your Achilles tendon, cause painful bunions and keep you from running away if the situation warrants. On the other hand apparently they help build your pelvic floor muscles which are so important for many kegel-related reasons. (In the interest of full disclosure, I totally love my high heels. And I own so many and of such great height that any reasonable woman would be ashamed. Thankfully I am not reasonable.)

Even in the Gym

I’ve seen people suffer for their vanity in the gym in two main ways: inappropriate clothing choices and incorrect form. The former can remedied by reading this and adding, “invest in a good sports bra.” (It may even save your life as this quick-thinking marathoner discovered!) The latter is much more complicated as offenses range from lifting too heavy, to working out with an injury, to the classic-yet-wrong No Pain No Gain mantra professed by so many gym-a-holics.

Admit it, we’ve all done something we knew was wrong because we wanted to look purty or impressive. My list is too long to enumerate but let’s just say I’ve had more than my fair share of wardrobe malfunctions AND that trying exercises that are too difficult for me (and refusing to back down even when in over my head) is kind of my signature move.

So what’s your sacrifice for beauty? Have you ever tried an exercise that’s too hard for you?

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