“What’s wrong with your face? Oh, you’re not wearing any makeup?” says Piper, my dear, seven-year-old daughter.
“Well, I’ve also been crying. I miss Manga,” I offer, hoping that’s the reason something looks noticeably wrong with my face.
“OK, that’s why. It just looked like you fell down, or something.”
Yowzas! Like I fell down? On my face?!! Kids say the most effed up shit darndest things! I laugh it off, though, because I certainly preferred my mom’s face made up when I was a kid. I would sit and watch her transform her face, completely mesmerized—I can still smell her cream foundation and see her filling in her eyebrows. I remember, at one point in my childhood, she wore two different mascaras, one coat of each. Why? I asked her. She used one for the color and the other to thicken and elongate her lashes. I happily dreamed of the day that I’d have my own tub full of creams, pencils, and mascara. Like my mom, I rarely leave the house without “my face on.”
My mom never encouraged nor discouraged me to start wearing makeup. Still, once she’d grown accustomed to seeing me made-up, if she saw me with a clean face, she told me that I looked tired. Thanks to the makeup, I’ve apparently managed to make myself look more awake and less like I fell down. But often times, I have mixed feelings. I wear it because I like the way it looks, but I almost always wear it. When I am not wearing it, I have to think twice about who will see me.
Some people say they prefer a woman’s natural beauty. Two of my sisters and I were talking about this phenomenon. We agreed, these people are actually saying that they don’t like heavy makeup, the type you’d see on Mimi from the Drew Carey Show. They do like minimal makeup. We’d all three had experiences with men who thought we were not wearing makeup, although we were, it just wasn’t obvious. One sister even regaled us with a story of a man at an auto parts store. He helped her early in the day when she had just finished jogging. She had been sweaty and wasn’t wearing a stitch of makeup. She returned later, after a shower, with makeup on, and the man obviously did not recognize her, but was much more helpful than before. We all concluded that people seemed to prefer our faces with makeup, as long as it was not heavily applied.
I wear makeup because I like to wear makeup. It takes a very small effort to put on a bit of makeup and feel more polished. But maybe I’d be doing myself a favor if I went out into the world without makeup more often. Maybe part of the reason I enjoy makeup is because I like to please others. I want everyone to like me. But that is a sick, insecure part of my self. It’s a part of me that I have to ditch if I want to feel inner peace. And I want to feel inner peace.
Maybe a no-makeup challenge is in order. I wonder if I could go an entire week without makeup. Does anyone relate to how I’m feeling? Anyone want to try it with me?