I’ve never been too much of a “girlie-girl.” Throughout the majority of my life so far, I think I’ve kind of associated being a girl with negative things like being weak, vulnerable & needy, ect. ect. I didn’t get into makeup until I was about 23 years old despite the fact that I’ve always been kind of curious about it. Who doesn’t want to be pretty, right? But I wanted to be tough even more so all girlie desires got tossed out the window and instead, I pursued anything that would make me seem strong, smart & resilient; I didn’t want to be an easy target like I learned to think females were based solely on some unfortunate personal experiences & the general characteristics of the gender. That didn’t stop me from having super-sensitive feelings, but I managed to hide even that (to a degree) after a while. Fake it ’til you make it, right?
This might surprise a few of you who are used to the feminist me who is all about girl power and ‘I am woman; Hear me roar’ type stuff. Now, I’m proud to be a female. Yes, there are things I don’t like (hello monthly visitor, pregnancy hormones & menopause; please die. Sincerely, Me) but over time, I’ve discovered what an awesome thing it is to be a girl.
We can get away with all sorts of things that aren’t necessarily socially acceptable for the average male.
We can wear men’s clothing and it’s considered sexy.
The following picture…not so much.
Maybe this counts as clothing, but we look good in men’s hats, too.
We can cry (and other such nonsense) to successfully get ourselves out of potentially sticky situations. If a guy does this, he gets labeled as a sissy and is completely unable to live this down. Dawson’s Creek fans can attest to this. James Van Der Beek will never be able to escape the image of his character’s famous ‘cry-face.’
It’s generally accepted that a woman can say what she likes about a man or even do what she wants to him without many (if any) repercussions. A man who so much as calls a woman “hun” or “sweetheart” (especially in the workplace) can have a sexual harassment suit slapped against him in no time.
A woman who drives an energy/fuel-efficient car is called ‘environmentally conscious’; a guy does it and society labels him a ‘fag’. You’ll have to excuse the use of the word fag – it’s not meant to offend.
There are a ton of other things I could list here, but this post isn’t about male/female inequalities; I was just making the point that while it’s awesome to be a girl for some of these reasons (the whole crying and sexual harassment things are not so great, but you get my point, yes?) it’s also awkward at times. It’s taken me a while to grow into my Girl Power, but since I have, there are few things I’ve discovered about myself in particular. Let me know if any of this rings true for any other women out there.
You remember me mentioning makeup, right?
I never would have voluntarily worn the stuff before I reached my 20’s. The only time I did was when I had to; my theater classes in high school for example. My drama teacher would demand that someone pin me to a chair and assault me with stage makeup before plays because I refused to put it on myself. I had the theory of how to do it, but having no experience with regular makeup, the idea that I could successfully apply stage makeup was laughable. I wore makeup at my wedding and proms, but again, someone else strapped me to a chair and did it for me.
Now, on the other hand, I’m certifiably addicted to 3 things: Carmex (or pretty much any kind of “lip stuff” that is mentholated and isn’t displayed in the lipstick case at the mall), eye-liner and mascara.
When other girls my age were terminally self-conscious when they ventured outside without wearing makeup I was the girl who walked with my head down to avoid inviting anyone to see that I was wearing makeup. Weird, right? And if it was noticed, God forbid anyone to mention it out loud. My face turned 7 different shades of red at the words, “OhMG, you’re wearing makeup!” I almost felt actual shame at these words because it was like going back on everything I told myself that I was; surely strong people don’t insist on doing anything as dainty as painting their faces before appearing in public, right? And even worse was the fear that I looked better wearing it than I do without it. I never wanted to be one of those girls that looked in the mirror and hated what she saw so badly that she felt the need to hide it under a bunch of crap made from whale blubber and bat poop. But, the sad truth is that I DO look better when I put on a bit of makeup. I don’t wear it religiously because despite the fact that I now know how much I actually like feeling like I look good, I still don’t feel compelled to spend an hour in front of the mirror so I either go without it or I just run to my 3 main go-to items listed above which takes me a total of 2 minutes to apply. I’m just SO high maintenance like that.
Take a second to imagine me trying to learn how to apply makeup correctly after having a whole makeup-free adolescence. Add to that the fact that I didn’t want anyone else to know that I was trying to learn to apply makeup and you’ll get a really funny picture in your head.
I’m locked in the bathroom as if I’m doing something shameful, watching my back to make sure that no one is attempting to peek through the hole at the door knob while I’m hunched over the sink protecting the various items that I very sneakily (and bashfully) purchased from the store. You would have thought I was a 12 year old trying to buy condoms and I promise you, I am not exaggerating.
I’m staring at some strange, yucky-colored, pasty concoction called “concealer” and while I get the general idea of what I’m supposed to do with this, what I’m not familiar with is exactly what feature I’m supposed to “conceal.” I’m also curious as to why some of these concealer’s are yellow while others are various degrees of beige. I got a light beige and even though it was the lightest one available, it still looks too dark for my nearly translucent skin.
I look at the pink blush with disdain, preferring instead to pinch my cheeks repeatedly rather than over-apply the ugly, stiff powder in my hands.
Lipstick is an overwhelming item if ever there was one. Red is much too bright a color for someone wanting to go unnoticed, but what the hell is the difference between plain ol’ “Red” and “Lady Bug?” Should I go with a shimmery color or something closer to my natural lip color? What is my natural lip color? Is it “Pink Grapefruit” or “Jujubee Luster” or neither? Should I buy something cheap or something that will only come off with turpentine? Shiny or dull? Do I need a gloss with this kind or that kind? And how did one come up with the name “Cat Fight” for a lipstick?
Eyeshadow is just as overwhelming. Does anyone ever look good with blue eyeshadow?
It says pink will accentuate green eyes, but there are 4 different shades of pink in this container. I feel dumbfounded at the idea that one color is simply not enough to put on a tiny eyelid. Is there even room for that many colors on an eye? And my eyes change color from blue to grey to green on a whim. How do I know which to wear and when? And again, I just can’t reconcile how I’m going to put multiple colors on my eyelid and come away looking like a human girl rather than an alien or a clown. *Sigh*
Eyeliner is another scary prospect. I will poke my eye out for sure. The same goes for mascara.
The good news is that after, very secretively, playing with all this junk like any normal girl would have been doing at 8 or 10 or even 15 years of age, I gained a little (and I do mean A LITTLE) knowledge.
First, I did not poke my eye out with the mascara. Instead I left a trail of inky, black smudges along my brow bone. I learned that in order to keep this from happening, one must make a silly face. It’s true – the sillier you look while applying mascara, the better it will turn out. I even have a demonstration for you:
While applying eyeliner, I learned 3 things:
1.) Liquid eyeliner burns horrendously when it gets in your eye. It’s even worse if you wear contacts and must take those out before you can get any relief.
2.) The threat of poking an eye out is not irrational! But over time you start to put it on like a pro with smooth, swift motions rather than my earlier sloppy application that I’m too embarrassed to even speak to you about.
3.) The smooth application of this product is also reliant on making a funny face.
I learned that instead of lipstick, Carmex is my Lip Crack of choice. If I must have a little more color or shimmer, I apply a very thin layer of a light pink of light brown liquid lipstick and mix it in with my Carmex so the effect is that my lips look like they are just naturally colorful and shiny. I prefer to skip blush altogether.
I learned that red eyeshadow looks terribly hilarious on me and anything considered ‘smoky’ looks pretty awful, too. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong? Lime green is only good for halloween and white is for teenage girls in the ’90s. I figured out how to use those 4 colors in a palette and when I feel like going through that much trouble, I have pinks and bluish-greens that I use sparingly. The majority of the time, I use natural, earthy looking colors that you can barely tell are there. I learned that the concealer is for covering unsightly blemishes and you need it to be a bit darker than your skin to actually work. The yellows are great for toning down redness, but I won’t need those unless I develop an unfortunate case of high blood pressure when I’m older. It did come in handy when we got into that horrible wreck in Germany though and I wanted to cover some of the colorful bruises scattered around my eyes. Too bad concealer couldn’t do anything about the broken neck.
Even though I’m slightly more educated in matters of beauty where face paint is concerned, I’m still comically inept with hair. The most complicated hair-do I can achieve is a smooth pony-tail. When my hair is short, I’ll use a round brush and a blow-dryer to get a nice look, but other than that I’m not the girl you ask for hair-styling advice. While I’m comfortable with my status as “Bethylicious: Female” some things have just become part of who I am and a complete disregard for hair-styling is one of them.
One thing that is a part of who I am that I’m not entirely okay with is the fact that, at 26 years old, I still can’t clasp my bra from the back and I am continuously amazed at women who are able to do this so effortlessly. If anyone is teaching a workshop on this subject, email me because I want to attend!
I also need to attend dinner. Back to my
enemies reality of all things foreign & domestic.
Feel free to comment if you’re cosmetically-challenged (or backwards-bra-clasp challenged) like me. I’m convinced that there is a whole support-groups worth of people out there that can relate to this. Also, I’ll be skipping a post tomorrow as it’s my 8 year anniversary. Although, I’m toying with the idea of videoing myself getting dolled up to go out with the hubby so you can see all my beauty-related funny faces in action!