A Week Without Makeup
My challenge began rather accidently and continued mostly out of laziness. On Monday morning I woke up in bed with a new man and decided to get up before he woke so I could put on a bit of makeup, just enough to not feel overexposed. I had showered the previous night just before going to bed, so as yet he hadn’t seen the real me, nor did I have any intention of letting him do so. I quietly emptied the contents of my handbag twice looking for my mascara, but eventually had to accept that I must have forgotten to put it in my bag to bring after using it the day before. Shit! So there I was, stranded in this man’s apartment without any makeup on my face, and none to put on, and him about to wake up and catch me like that at any minute! I considered making a run for it, but then remembered how difficult that could be without a swipe card to get me out of the building. I was trapped.
Okay, all I could do now was to gracefully take it in my stride and not let it bother me. I had to think naturally beautiful thoughts and feel confident in my own skin. I put on some lip gloss and combed my hair. My reflection in the mirror, with the pale yellow sunlight of the morning making me look radiant, was friendly. I felt a sudden release, then forgiveness, like I was rediscovering the grown up child within me that I had been ignoring for so long. Meanwhile, as I sat there basking in my revelation, he gasps suddenly, rolls over, looks at his watch, swears, throws back covers and stumbles into the shower without so much as a glance in my direction.
Over the next few days I felt no need to “dirty” my face with the black stuff which I realized I had been doing to myself daily. What a treat to skip this tedious morning ritual! Why had I never questioned it before? I felt fresh and honest. My face could breathe. I saw the vulnerability of my made-up face, which inevitably, as the day progressed, would end up as smudgy shadows, accentuating the bags and sitting stubbornly in the wrinkles under my eyes. Tinted sunscreen and lip gloss gave me all the “protection” I needed. Even then I felt a bit like I was cheating.
I attended my appointments confidently, defiantly removing my sunglasses in-doors and looking other made-up faces supremely in the eye. I felt self righteous in my nakedness.
On Friday my ex-boyfriend called round to say hello. Apparently he was back in town for a few days to collect some things before moving permanently to another city. He was clean shaven, with a new hair cut and diamond stud in one ear. I noticed he was wearing the black jacket I had told him he looked good in and was heavily perfumed. He smiled broadly when I opened the door, but then his face changed.
“You look different”
“You look different too.” I replied.
“Have you done something? I don’t know… Your eyes look kind of swollen, like you’re tired or something. Did you just wake up?”
It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
”No. It’s probably just because you haven’t seen me for a while. How have you been?”
“Yeah good… You look different. There’s something different about you.”
“Yeah well, I don’t think we should see each other anymore. I’m over you and I don’t really want to see you again. I have a new boyfriend anyway, so…”
“Yeah, I just came over to say hello, that’s all.”
“Okay then,… Hello… and bye. Take care of yourself.”
Door closes. Damn! What’s come over me? I had never been able to do that before. Was that because I had always been too obsessed with looking attractive to be really conscious of my true feelings or to be able to express them adequately? I felt cool, calm, confident, and satisfied.
I broke my no-make- up diet on the following Tuesday night when I went out with a friend to see a movie. There was a real novelty in dressing up and putting on a bit of “bling” for the occasion. It felt good to lash-out and wear a bit of make-up and notice the boost it gave me. I definitely look more attractive with make-up and I don’t think I would ever want to give it up completely. Although it is nice to know that I quite like my face as it is too, and I don’t need to feel ashamed to hide it.