As I write this, I  haven’t had a professional haircut in a year (I can talk my husband into trimming the ends). My feet are still growing toenails back after my 19 day backpack trip this summer and my callouses are impressive.  I don’t really get the concept of foundation, and I have yet to find an eyeliner that doesn’t make me look like a raccoon. In fact, I rarely wear makeup. But I like it that way.

Don’t get me wrong. When I see someone I know and her hair is perfectly highlighted, her nails manicured and polished, and she is wearing a perfectly put together outfit, I sometimes wonder what it’s like to live in that world. I wouldn’t mind visiting it, just to see what it’s like.  A safari if you will. I just don’t have the energy and time to live that way.

It makes me wonder this too: how do our tribes split? How do some women become the kind who collect down puffys and lightweight tents and scheme to get outside, and others go the other route, the one where their Saturday might include a mani/pedi and a spa day? I have friends who would rather die than camp. Pee outside? No way! They’re still great people, but we have little in common. We intersect briefly but I spend most of my time with women like me: women who don’t have perfect ponytails but who can walk all day in the mountains.

I’m not hating; I think there’s room for all kinds. I just think it’s hard to be both. Calling it low and high maintenance is sort of negative. Under that definition, I would be low maintenance, but I pursue finding the right gear with the devotion of someone hunting down new beauty items. Get between me and exercise and I don’t think anyone would call me low maintenance. I just care about different things.

I don’t slop around in sweatpants, but you might find me running to the grocery store right after a workout. I’ve had one pedicure (it was weird) and I have never darkened the door of a spa. I clomp through the post office in my gaiters and cross country ski boots. Nature or nurture? If I had had city parents, would I be different? I had camping parents, which led me to working in national parks and fighting fire, not a known hotbed of style.

Sometimes we’re lucky and find our male counterpart, at least in the indoor/outdoor realm. I married someone who wears Carhartts and ski pants and who would break into a cold sweat at the thought of a tie. At our wedding, he wore shorts and Tevas. That was just fine with me.