Every time I try to strike up a mutually beneficial relationship with cosmetics – you know, I buy you, you make me look better and improve my self esteem (much like the relationship between sugar daddy and trophy wife) – I realize that my efforts pretty much amount to putting pants on a cat: it seems like a good idea at the time but ultimately, it’s not any where near worth the effort.
I was thinking about this last week after going to a wedding where I quite possibly managed to make myself look halfway decent. Let me underscore the term “halfway” because really, I don’t want you to think I’m being coy and humble. It really was “halfway,” like two steps to the left would have turned me into Tammy Fae and two steps to the right would have turned me into Charlize Theron in “Monster.”
The problem is that I don’t know how to use the tools. Set lipstick, eye shadow, foundation, mascara, concealer or eyeliner in front of me, and there’s at least a one in six chance I’ll end up either gouging my eye out or accidentally eating something. It’s like putting clay in front of someone with no hands or paints in front of a blind lady. Except in those instances they have a fair chance of at least creating abstract art, something which is rarely if ever appreciated in the application of make-up. Which is totally unfair.
I’ve read manuals. I watch Carmindy work wonders on “What Not To Wear” and yet my years of just not caring and figuring, “Eh, good enough,” have taken their toll. I’m inept! I missed the learning curve years that start at 13 when you and your friends are accidentally applying enough eye shadow to look like 87 year old retirees without realizing it. But it’s okay because everyone in your class is doing it, and there’s Humiliation Safety in numbers. It’s how the government has functioned all these years.
In part, I blame my complexion (for the make-up thing, not for our government). My complexion has flummoxed me for years. I have what’s known as an olive skin tone. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great things about this skin tone, the best of which is that I rarely get a sunburn and no one ever says, “You look pale.” So thumbs up. The fact of the matter is, though, that make-up is designed for pink ladies. Yes, it’s true. Make-up is designed for women with those baby pink complexions that look great with any lipstick or blush. And I hate them. Because you know what happens when an olive-toned person applies blush? You don’t think, “Wow, that pink woman has a really healthy glow.” You think, “Wow, that olive skinned woman smeared an orca’s worth of blush all over her face. Is she drunk? I wonder if I can take a picture with my cell phone without her noticing. Of course I can. She’s drunk!” Or, um, so I would imagine.
I’ve basically given up at this point. A little mascara here, a little lipstick there, a longing glance at the blush counter every now and again – that’s my relationship with make-up. And I’m okay with it. Mostly. Sometimes. Usually. From time to time, though, I do wish I could enslave the good people of “What Not To Wear” and force them to help me achieve world domination through the awesomeness of my wardrobe, hair and make-up stylings. That’s not weird, right?