This post is written as part of a project called No Makeup Week, originated by Rachel Rabbit White. She’s encouraging bloggers to try going a week without makeup, and to write about their relationship with makeup. And to post photos of themselves without makeup. I’m all over it. It’s a great idea, and I hope you’ll check out her stuff.
(For years, I thought this was the sexiest photo ever taken of me. No makeup)
I’m bad at makeup. Always have been. I’m scared of it. It’s powerful. Like a lightsaber. And when you haven’t trained as a Jedi Knight, then you really shouldn’t pick one of those things up. Another blade might pop out the back, like with Darth Maul’s. Maybe that’s part of the problem—too much Star Wars, not enough….Whatever little girls are supposed to like. I didn’t know what that was. I was homeschooled. I thought other little girls were cool for being good at math. I thought I was cool for thinking to get hockey skates instead of figure skates, so I could go as fast as the boys. And I never once defined myself as a tomboy, either. I was extremely feminine. But being feminine wasn’t based on what I did, it was based on how I felt. I felt like a pretty girl.
The first time I encountered makeup was when I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Florida when I was ten. My aunt had a lot of makeup, and every day she put a surprising amount of it on her face. I could understand why she was good at it, because she also painted pitchers and tabletops, with neat, perfect detail. It was like surgery- so many delicate tools. It was like those painters who have a brush of every size, and a palette that they clean after every painting is completed. Even as an art, it felt unfamiliar. I had about three brushes for when I painted, and the paint got everywhere.
“Would you like me to do your makeup?” She asked me.
Well, yes, of course! I was fascinated. The shade she picked for my lips was called “coral.” It was a beautiful color. Everything took a long time, but when she was done, I looked at my new face in the bulging makeup mirror, and thought I looked a little like a mermaid. We went out. I wore some stretchy black pants and a white vest. We went out to dinner, and when I jumped up from the table and ran off to the bathroom, I felt eyes on me. I looked around and a man was staring at me. He had been staring somewhere lower on my body, but now he looked at my face. He was old. He was sitting with his wife. And he wouldn’t stop staring at me.
I kept the coral lipstick. I couldn’t believe my aunt was willing to part with something so precious. But at home, I wasn’t very interested in applying it. I liked to take it out of the drawer once in a while and look at it. Roll it out of its secret tube and back. I knew there was some shared mysterious code of womanhood here. But learning it felt far away. Continue Reading »
Kate on September 21st 2010 in beauty, body, homeschooling