Last week, Karen Alpert of Baby Sideburns fame suggested that all of us ladies go without makeup and mirrors for a whole week.
My immediate response was, "Aw heeyull no."
My response a few days later was similar, with maybe a less emphatic "hell."
But the thing was, her post had gotten to me. It had burrowed its way under my skin. It made me start thinking about my daily "prepare the body for public viewing" ritual. From the first day of school this year, I have worn full makeup to pick up and drop off my son every single time. I even bought lipstick, expensive lipstick, and I've remembered to apply it. Religiously.
My makeup wearing has become a thing.
And that brought me straight back to my childhood. Even when I was a kid and my mom was a child bride, she never left the house without her "face" on. She still won't. She will wash and style her hair in the morning, even if she has a hair appointment at noon. As a kid, this stuff completely baffled me. I couldn't fathom why anyone would choose style over swimming. Because, barring an oppressive heatwave or her body actually being on fire, my mom would never get in the pool. She didn't want to have to do her hair and makeup again.
And I, at the ripe old age of [insert age here], was starting to become the mom who won't go in the pool.
So I decided on Monday, really just off the cuff, that I wasn't going to put on makeup. I had no plans, so it was the perfect time to do it. And then on Tuesday, same thing. I even went so far on Tuesday as to not straighten my hair. So, not only have I been walking around with a buck naked face, but I have also been sporting a bushy, unruly head suit.
And here are the things that have happened.
- Nothing. I went about my business as usual. I even went to a coffee talk situation at school with my son's principal. No one recoiled in fear. No one pointed and laughed. The checker at Whole Foods didn't avert his eyes and point to the door when I approached him in line. People treated me as they normally would.
- I drank tea. I had so much extra time before taking the boy to school that I actually got to sit down and drink a cup of tea. A whole cup. To the last drop.
So, what have I learned from this mini experiment? No one but me cares whether or not I'm wearing makeup. And really, that makes sense. Do I notice if Jane from down the street isn't wearing her mascara? Of course not. I'm too worried about whether or not she can tell that the zit on my chin is about to blow. We're all too caught up in our own shit to even notice when somebody else looks like shit. And that's kind of a comforting thought.
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