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July 29, 2001: Pretty talk

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We somehow got onto the subject of wearing makeup, probably due to the fact that one or the other of us pointed out to the other some group of women who were wearing far too much of it. It seems to be a common affliction in the younger female set, but eventually most of them grow to realize that the whole point of makeup is to enhance with subtlety, not to create a glaring mask.

Most guys I know admit, if asked directly, that they really prefer women who look natural. I'm sure there are guys out there who think the painted Tammy Faye look is simply gorgeous, but I have a sneaky feeling that those men are few and far between.

My mom doesn't wear makeup. Ever. Oh, granted every once in a long while she'll put on lipstick, and then it looks so very odd that it seems to stand out on her face, just because we're all not used to seeing it on her. But except for those rare occasions, she just doesn't bother. Consequently, my sisters and I did not grow up learning how to paint our faces from our mom. We had to pick up any random tips on the stuff from friends at school. I remember going to the mall to get a make-over for the sole purpose of hoping to finally learn how to put on eye shadow without making it look as if I'd been punched. No such luck. I've got my dad's deep-set eyes, and any color at all on my lids looks as if I really ought to be pressing ice packs to my face. I could never get the hang of blush either, despite the fact that in the winter I tend to look like death warmed over and could probably use a dab or too.

Neither of my sisters is particularly into the stuff either. My older sister did figure out that whole eye shadow business and sometimes wears it, quite successfully. My younger sister was blessed not only with perfect hair, but also with naturally blushed cheeks, and thick dark lashes. As for me, I only wear eyeliner and mascara, and that's simply for my own self-preservation, to hide when the trichotillomania has gotten too bad.

Someone asked me if I was going to get my face 'done' for the wedding, and I had to laugh. I got my hair done, simply because none of my friends or sisters are expert enough at braiding to do what I wanted, and I didn't have the practice to do it on my own head (although I actually did consider it). But I wanted to look like *me* at the wedding. My only concession was that I wore lipstick (because, like my mom, I do break that stuff out for special occasions), but other than that, I wore exactly what I wear every other day of my life.

But the discussion on makeup (wearing it or not) really started me thinking. What if my mom *had* really been into wearing the stuff. What if my sisters and I had grown up thinking it was essential, like so many other women I know. How much of this stuff is part of our own nature to be comfortable in our own skin, and how much is taught to us when we're too young to even be aware of it? And I realize how lucky we were, to not buy into that insane and expensive world of pencils and brushes and compacts.

Hey, all that money can be so much better spent! Just think of all the cat toys and computer stuff I'd never have been able to buy.

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