I stayed overnight at my in-laws recently and discovered the next morning that I had forgotten to pack mascara. The last time I left the house without black goop on my blonde lashes was four years ago when I had Lasik eye surgery and was forbidden from wearing it for an entire week. The time before that was when I was 12.
“We’ll have to stop at a drugstore on our way out,” I told my husband as we were hurrying to meet a friend.
“Can’t you go without make-up for a day?” my husband replied. “Hillary Clinton can.”
Well, Hillary Clinton’s a heck of a lot more impressive than me.
Making headlines for showing up at work and on TV without the usual gussying up we’ve grown accustomed to, Hillary’s ditched that expectation and is challenging North America’s obsession with appearances. Particulary those of the female persuasion.
My immediate reaction to the story was a positive and happy one, but I couldn’t imagine doing it myself.
After purchasing some mascara that promised to make my lashes look ten times longer and ten times thicker, I applied it to my right eye while my husband drove. Looking like Malcolm McDowell from Clockwork Orange ““ with one spider leg eye and one naked eye ““ I turned around to talk to the kids in the back seat.
“You look weird,” my eight-year-old daughter said, inspecting my face. When I told her I only had my mascara half done, my 11-year-old son stopped playing his computer game and looked up.
“Why do girls wear make-up anyway?” he asked. Excellent question, I thought. I’ve wondered the same thing for decades.
“I wear it because it makes me feel more attractive,” I replied. “In our society there are some men who wear it, but it’s the women who are programmed to believe their faces aren’t good enough and encouraged to fix them with cosmetics.”
Yet there are some women who don’t buy into that ridiculous notion and have chosen to go au naturel, like the US Secretary of State is now doing. I, for one, applaud every last one of them. Loudly.
I used to live across the street from a lady who prided herself on her ability to be up and out the door in five minutes flat.
“I dress, brush my teeth, comb my hair and I’m good to go,” she said, after finding out I wake up a full hour before leaving the house. She’s what I refer to as the wash-and-go-girl that I used to aspire to be. I stopped fantasizing about being that way myself when I recognized the reality that without some proper primping I look more like a scary cavewoman than the girl next door.
Of course that particular look has more to do with taming my frizzy hair than fixing my face, but I chose to put the time in so I’d feel right the rest of my day.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, says she’s happy to be at this stage of her life where she can do what she feels like esthetically and isn’t bothered by what others think.
No mascara is needed with a confidence that stunning. The real beauty is in the individual’s choice to do what feels right for them, expectations be damned.