So this afternoon I had my first ever makeover. This feels momentous to me. I’ve never been one of those women who knows what to do with make up, how to apply it, all the techniques and colour theories and all that. Most people learn as teenagers but since I was an overweight shy sarcastic prickly teenager all the make up in the world wasn’t going to make a difference and anyway my bloody mindedness put me off finding out more. I did think I ought to make an effort when I got married and several people recommended going to those counters in Boots but the women there usually put me off. It’s that plastic look they have. A look born of wearing too much make up.
This is all very well when you’re in your twenties, though I’ve always had massive dark circles under my eyes, but now I’m nearing the scary numbers in age the ravages of the years are having an effect.
I had a job interview this morning and prepared for it by not sleeping well for the previous two nights. This is a stress thing. The first night I was tending to E who’d started crying at 2.45am for some reason and I felt I was going to pass out while holding her. I managed to make it to our bed, dump her down and ask S to sort it out.
So the dark circles were in evidence. In my sister’s wedding photos taken last year there’s a close up which I find horrifying. My mother likes it and comments on how lovely I look. She is being kind or blinded by mother’s love or something but I’m riddled with lines. (To make it worse, my sister gave a copy of the picture to my husband for Christmas and he’s sat it beside the bed. I see it every day. *shudder*)
I applied make up the best I could but had a mini revelation while I did so. Because I find make up counters intimidating the stuff I use is the stuff away from the plastic women, cheaper and in a right state. The end of my concealer had fallen off and was stuck inside the lid, the foundation leaked and my mascara was smudgy and had eyelash hairs stuck in it. It all felt hopelessly amateur.
It also felt about right. You’ll know, if you’re a mum, that there’s a uniform you wear while on maternity leave or if you work part time or not at all in order to look after the children. Jeans, tops, jumpers. I have only one pair of jeans and don’t like to wear them often but this does mean that I have attended playgroups where I’ve crawled about on the floor worried about flashing my knickers because I was wearing a skirt and not the mum uniform.
The other part of your uniform is that a lot of your clothes will have encrusted bits of food stuck to them. Sometimes you notice this and get them in the wash. Quite often you don’t notice until you’re in public. This didn’t happen today, thank goodness.
Still. I was sick of feeling mumsy and dowdy and wrinkly and tired and haggard. Since I believe the best remedy for all of this is hours and hours of sleep and lots of fresh water, clearly the only thing I could do was cheat. And that meant make up.
My sister recommended Benefit foundation powder. She uses it for her own dark circles. I approached the display stand. It’s one of those which only has a minimal amount of product on display so in order to find what you want you will have to interact with someone. I was approached. Time to bite the bullet. She didn’t look too plastic. I asked about the powder. Before I knew it I was sitting on the chair while she did a colour match.
She applied the powder and then we talked a bit. I mentioned feeling haggard after having a baby. She applied some eye cream and then a liquid concealer. And then she got out a blusher. “Don’t be alarmed by the colour,” she said. Too late. And then she applied a lip gloss. The effect in the mirror was pretty ok I have to admit. The blusher was unnecessary but the dark circles had been reduced. I bought the foundation. Because I’d purchased something she offered me a free makeover lesson before I went back to work. Oh what the hell I thought and booked it in. Better late than never.
The thing is, I feel a bit weird about this. I don’t wear make up in order to impress men, I do it as a bit of armour for the outside world. And because it shows my eyes off better. My confidence has to come from somewhere, it’s not always a show of inner steel that you need. And I had odd flashes forward to E playing with my make up bag and not finding stuff to dress up with or looking scornfully at my feeble efforts to apply eye liner while she went out with her teenage friends. I shouldn’t care about this stuff. But I do.