Back when I was in my early twenties and dewy and fresh faced (and of course completely insecure about how I looked, which is such a complete waste of time for anyone in their twenties) I didn’t wear any makeup at all. My mom, who is the most naturally beauteous woman in the world, didn’t wear too much of it herself. One of the qualities I am most grateful for in my adorable ma is that she is the least vain person I have ever met. Really and truly. I suppose there’s maybe a Tibetan monk out there somewhere who is less vain, but I imagine even those monks sneak a glance at themselves in the reflective surface of a bronze buddha stomach every now and then.
Anyway, my mom never ever nagged me to wear blush, to get my hair out of my face, to put a little lipstick on. She just let me tomboy out. In retrospect I wish she had interfered a little more – maybe I would have bleached the old stache a little earlier, or avoided wearing some really tragic outfits; but I think my mom’s lassez faire approach to physical appearance in the end was a gift of pure innocence. (*Note – The one thing that salvages Madonna as a human being for me at this point is the fact that she is still letting her daughter run around with a really Frida Kahlo unibrow. Her daughter is totally gorgeous, and I actually think she’s really pretty with the unibrow – but more insecure moms would probably have had that waxed off years ago.)
So after a life of makeup-free living, a few years back a friend of mine who’s a cosmetics guru gave me a few little items as a holiday gift. A concealer, a Stila lip gloss quad, something else…Not as a passive aggressive hint (I hope…wait, was it?) but more, I think, as the gesture of someone eager to share the joys of tubes and cases of glittery colored goo. Kind of a benign drug dealer. It worked.
Cut to me, just now, going nuts at Sephora. The old tomboy in me resists, but is no match for the new, older me – I fucking love that place. It’s the opposite of my mom – a shameless palace of vanity run orgiastically amuk. I spent about an hour with my friend using mini Q tips to apply every kind of crap. We found an eye shadow called “My date’s my brother”…um, what? I tried on an eyeshadow called Wowy Maui that was way too glittery and despite burning my eyes off with makeup remover, it’s still all over my face. Then I went to the fragrance section and ended up buying some Narciso Rodrigues purse perfume. I put some one the minute I left the store but realized once I was standing online at my favorite cafe that I still wreaked of about thirty other perfumes. I glance around to see if anyone is annoyed and who’s standing next to me but Philip Seymour Hoffman, rumpled and sexy. He is wearing no makeup and smells like Philip Seymour Hoffman. I look and smell like a stripper just wrapping up for the night. Damn you, Sephora.