Monday, January 25, 2010

Keeping up appearances

A day without make up is one of the scariest things I can think of. If caught in such a situation it would mean one of two things - not leaving the house or retreating to my room in the case of visitors.
I don’t usually like wearing my glasses, but I felt blessed to have them today when I realised I had not taken my make up in my overnight bag to my boyfriend’s. At least I was able to hide behind my frames, because the only make up I could scrape together was some old mascara. That is a very bare minimum. Not only did I have to walk around with undefined eyes, I had no eyebrows to be seen. That didn’t used to be such a problem, but now that I have dark hair a lack of eyebrows is very noticeable. I’ve never been so thankful for myopia.

Even at home, after the gym when all I’m going to do is make dinner, maybe watch some TV and go to bed, I feel the need to do myself up somewhat. I’m not talking about full-on coverage. I never wear foundation (unless there’s some occasion where meaningful photos might be taken), just the eyes get done on an every-day basis. I feel like if a visitor arrived, even if I’ve never met them before, I’m at a disadvantage to be seen un-done. It’s like letting people see me at my weakest. I like to keep up the illusion that I’m somewhat good looking and confident – even to complete strangers. Make up gives me that power.

The extent of this need goes as far as camping. This year my family and I went up to our usual river-side camp. It’s not a public camping ground so there’s no one there but us. My immediate family. It’s hard to do your makeup in a tent when all you have is a palm-sized mirror in one hand and each element of the ritual in the other. There’s not much light and I had to balance the mirror on my knee for the two-hand jobs. It was difficult to say the least. But there was no way I was crawling out of that tent into the light of day with nothing on my face. I don’t care if it was only four of the closest people who were going to see me. Just because you’re sleeping next to a river doesn’t mean you have to go around looking like a taniwha.


A blank face is like my Achilles heel. If some vengeful soul ever wanted to strike me down, take me out of the picture temporarily, or send me screaming to my room, all they would need is a cloth heavily laden with make-up remover – and maybe some kind of brilliantly evil tactic to make me go anywhere near it.

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