Yesterday Grayden told me in no uncertain terms that I look like a boy when I don't have any makeup on. It was much funnier than it was offensive, but it made me start thinking about makeup. I am a makeup wearer. I have been since the early teen years. I dont know exactly when I started, but I do remember my mom handing me an eyeliner and telling me to go put some on. I applied a little bit to the under side of my eyes, and when I went back to return it to her and get the final inspection, she told me, try again. The top, too, she said. So, I fixed it. My mom and sisters are all makeup wearers. In the words of my mother, "I don't understand why someone wouldn't want to look their best all the time."
I am sure the reason why we women in my family are makeup wearers is really because of one obvious reason: We look better when we wear it. And we do. In the words of my brother's wife, after joining the family and seeing us in our early morning glory, "Wow, your sisters really do clean up nicely." This was not a comment on our after-makeup looks, but how surprised she was at what we looked like before we got ready for the day. To give you a hint, my sisters and I would have "ugly contests" in our shared bathroom on a frequent basis. I don't know if it is our cowlicks, our swollen eyes, our uneven skin tones and breakouts, or a combination of these or other qualities we all share, but sometimes it was hard to choose just one winner.
Let me make it clear that I admit many, many women look great without makeup. I hate you, but I'm happy for you. And then there are the annoyingly blessed few who look better without makeup. I was in a play with one of these women once, and as we sat there and applied our stage makeup I starting looking better and better while it made my friend look.....odd. I am not being rude, but it is hard to explain. Her features were almost ruined by makeup, her perfect skin covered, her perfect coloring altered unnaturally, until by the time she was done she looked like a homely clown person trying to badly cover unseemly features as opposed to what she really was.....one of the most naturally beautiful women God ever put on this earth. Contrast that with the last show I was in, when I got zero comments about my looks until dress rehearsal, when three of the men in the show told me I was beautiful, and one even went to far as to ask if he could have his picture taken with me....with the understanding that I be in full costume and makeup. I am not making this up. (wow, small pun not intended).
There is another group of women, who whether or not they actually need to, wear makeup all the time no matter the occasion. Swimming, exercising, camping, playing sports. They put on their face first, and these are the people you never see without makeup on, because they bring it everywhere and put it on in the wee hours before anyone sees them. I am impressed with this dedication, but I don't share it. I don't bring makeup on camping trips, or wear it to the beach, etc. But I can't blame the people who do, because I know all too well the feeling that your features are a natural mess and it would only take you about five minutes to look much better than you do at the moment.
The one time I was super dedicated to my morning beauty routine was as a missionary in Toronto. I didn't go to some third world country or tropical rainforest where it would have been unnecessary, I was in a big city where sister missionaries already stood out like frumpy thumbs because of the clothes we wore...blazers in the summer, really?.......so makeup was our only hope for looking normal. I am not the only one who felt this way, the mission president's wife told me to teach my companions how to wear makeup, and when we had to start teaching the primary children and were wondering how we could get them to pay attention she told me to "use pretty". Direct quote. She said kids and people react better to someone who has put effort into their appearance, and there was no shame in taking time on your appearance as a missionary. She and my mother would have gotten along swimmingly.
I wear less makeup now than I did in college, mostly because who has time to truly get ready with little kids hanging on your legs all the time? I don't do my hair as well as I used to either, something I usually took great care to do everyday, because I just don't have naturally functioning hair. (Hm, there seems to be a pattern developing here. I know not many people think they look great without any effort on their hairdo, but I have a couple good hair stylists to back me up when I say that I have big bald spots, uneven waviness, a double crown that causes bumps and uneven parting, and a dramatic widow's peak which is made even more prominent by my 3 cowlicks. Just be grateful you don't have my hair.)
So, the reasons change but the decision stays the same. I wear makeup. This is an overgeneralization, but I guess you could say I wore makeup in high school to feel better about myself, I wore makeup in college to look my best for the dating scene, I wore makeup as a missionary because the clothes I had to wear were so frumpy that I felt it was my responsibility as a representative of the Church to not look totally horrible, and I wear it as a wife and mother because I refuse to completely give up the part of my identity that is how I look and dress and exchange it for sweats and no makeup just because it's easier. I want to still try to look like the woman my husband married, within reason.
And I want my son to know I'm a girl. Sheesh.