Every morning in our household it’s a rush to get ready (yes, I realise this sounds like the start of a Nutella advert, but bear with me). My sons, being little, are just so needy. Always wanting food, clothing, that sort of shit. And, like, I’m just too busy! Can’t they see I’ve got to smear beige emulsion on my face in order to make it more beige, and to curl my eyelashes so that the blackest black crust in which I’m about to encase them ends up looking dead seductive? What’s with them and all this wanting stuff? And then of course, next thing I know and they’re in my makeup drawer (see blog header – that’s it, folks). And they’re pulling out this and that, asking what it is, and I can’t possibly answer because I’m patting in my Benefit Lip Plump in order to ensure my lips are sufficiently “primed” for the next five minutes, at least until the black coffee washes it all away again. So then my partner, providing he hasn’t buggered off to his training already, tends to step in:
These are things Mummy uses to make herself even more beautiful.
What a charmer, eh? Wouldn’t you like a partner who said that? Well, the thing is, it might sound nice the first time, but honestly, this is starting to really piss me off.
I don’t know what he’s thinking when he says this. Probably something nice and reasonable along these lines:
Don’t want her to feel I’m accusing her of wasting time, but also want her to know I don’t expect her to wear makeup, either, and she looks fine without it.
That’s probably what he thinks. But this is what I hear:
Women, eh? Always faffing about with makeup, even though we men don’t give a shit and it doesn’t make much difference either. Tch! I ask you! etc etc.
All this is going through my head, so I end up feeling really grumpy, get lipstain on my teeth and have to start all over again.
This could of course be used as an example of how sodding unreasonable women are, and how men just can’t do anything to please them. Face it, blokes, you just can’t win! Women, they’re a total mystery etc. etc. But thing is, I don’t think this would be strictly fair. First because it’s me I’m talking about and I’m obviously not unreasonable or mysterious. Second because even if my partner’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t, then unfortunately so am I and indeed the rest of womankind. I’m damned because I need to wear makeup and I’m damned because I need not to.
Makeup makes me frivolous and idiotic. It makes me into a woman Boots can ridicule in countless adverts while ordering me to buy their lipgloss. It makes me into a woman who believes pseudo-scientific nonsense, or worse still, doesn’t believe it but buys new products anyhow. It makes me laughable to anyone who isn’t under the same social pressure to wear it ie men.
Not wearing makeup is even worse. It makes me into someone who “doesn’t make an effort”. Someone who fails to “make the best of herself”. Someone who doesn’t understand that “the natural look” has bugger all to do with looking natural. It makes me into someone who just hasn’t learned the rules.
When I was in my teens I wasn’t that interested in makeup. If we were going anywhere as a family, my father would have to tell me to “put on some slap”, or I’d be letting the side down. Later on, when I was more into makeup, he’d ridicule the amount of time I spent on it. “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”, he’d joke. No, quite clearly, you can’t. And you can’t ever win.
In addition to TV make-over programmes, we now have shows like Snog, Marry, Avoid, the “make-under” programme. Where is this all leading? Can we just take a shortcut and tell women “look, you’re ugly and you’re stupid. From now on, rather than getting you to actively purchase makeup, we’ll just take a percentage of your monthly pay packet and give it to L’Oréal. Let’s just cut out the middlewoman, as she’s starting to get on our nerves“?
Well, halfway through writing this I re-applied some L’Occitane hand cream and some Korres pomegranate tinted lip balm. So I’m still sitting grumpily on the fence, with nowhere to go. Except for one thing. I read a piece by Amanda Platell in the Mail today. That woman is such a bitch. Read it (or ideally, don’t), but then let’s all make a pact never to shave our armpits again.