How to Be Beautiful Without Makeup
If you’re naturally beautiful, you don’t need this advice, but for the 99.999999% of the rest of us, read on
Last November, I hit a deer doing 75 mph. True story. I think I killed Bambi’s dad. All I saw was a flash of blond fur a second before I struck a large buck with my car. My brother-in-law calls me “the deerslayer.” Yeah, we’re that kind of family. Nobody catches a break. I also killed my car, a Mazda3, but I walked away from the accident without a scratch. So, of course, I bought a newer version of the same model. When the universe tells you something important, you should listen. If Mazda wants me to do a commercial, I’m available.
Now, you’re wondering what this has to do with the title of this blog. Wait, I’m getting to it. My new car was gently used—3,800 miles—and the radio station it was set to was country & western. I don’t listen to radio much, so I just left it there. Besides, I haven’t read my owner’s manual yet, so I don’t know how to set new stations.
So this country & western station is playing its usual you-broke-my-heart-you-cheating-slut/bastard songs, in amidst the other songs extolling the pleasures of beer. Since I don’t often drink beer, only to be sociable, these are wasted on me. Maybe I was a cheating slut once, but it’s been so long, I’m sure I’ve been redeemed. But then I hear what sounds like a ballad, a nice diversion that I’m actually enjoying. The singer, I don’t even know who he is, lists the things he wants in his woman, and I hear, “She’s beautiful without make-up.”
Well, crap. It’s hard enough to be beautiful with make-up. Now, we’re expected to look good without it? Who makes up these rules? It’s like the whole thigh gap thing—the subject of a future post—wherein physical attractiveness apparently resides in the absence of fleshy inner thighs. Who knew? Actually, I know exactly who came up with that idea. Those welter-weight sadists who teach dance and aerobics at your health club. Don’t get me started. Just one more thing they have and you don’t, a keyhole between their thighs.
While you’re trying to figure out why you would want that and why women compete with other women over really trivial stuff, let’s get back to beauty. First of all, beauty is subjective. Most women don’t think they look good without makeup because it’s our form of air-brushing. Smoothing out the imperfections all of us have. I won’t go into the whole cultural depiction of beauty in print and on screen, because you know it. That’s the standard you’ve lived by your entire life.
Okay, maybe not your entire life because at a certain age, let’s face it, you lose the battle. Grace Kelly, a stunning beauty in her youth and the future Princess of Monaco, did not age well. She was attractive, but according to everything I’ve read, she was depressed by how she looked in her forties and fifties. Yeah, sure, with discipline and surgery and the starvation diet you’re on because your metabolism has fled your body like a thief in the night, you can still be attractive. For your age. Because almost no men under the age of well, one hundred, think you look anywhere near as good as a fresh twenty year old.
Just the other day, I saw a photo of Mila Kunis, one of those celebrities without makeup shots. Mila looked tired, she had dark circles under her eyes. I’m pretty sure Mila didn’t want a candid photo shoot that day, few women would. I suspect the goal of these photo portfolios of celebrities is to make other women say, “Look, Mila isn’t always beautiful.” Then you turn the page, or click on the next photo, and you see a natural beauty. Yeah, they exist, dammit. And all the ego-building you’ve just acquired is busted to hell. Note to newszines and magazines, etc. If your goal is to make women feel better about how they look, take those photos out. It’s passive-aggressive, you assholes.
Maybe you don’t find the idea too awful that we should try to look our best without makeup on, or at least I wouldn’t if men made the same effort. Even a token effort would be good. Because it’s quite likely the guy singing this stupid song may not shave on his days off, wears ratty ole T-shirts and jeans, and considers grooming optional. So while a woman is trying to put her best face forward, literally, he’s just being a regular guy, which is mansplain for not giving a damn.
It’s a primitive concept, probably a remnant of the male reptile brain. I’ve never heard a woman defend a regular gal look. If the theory is even out there, it’s not generally accepted among womenkind. I’m not saying women don’t have their schlepping around days when our hair needs washing, our legs sprout unseemly forestation, and we wear our big girl pants—the really comfortable ones for when we feel bloated. I’m just saying we don’t defend it.
There is, it’s true, a lot to criticize about rap music—its implicit misogyny, its emphasis on sex and money and having a good time. I think this kind of music gets a bum rap because this country & western song I heard was as least as offensive to me as any rap song I’ve ever heard. It sets up double standards for women, men never apply to themselves.
Now that I’ve ranted about the incipient sexism in that idiotic song, I‘m going to tell you how to be beautiful without makeup, no matter how you look. Find a guy who can see past the external imperfections we all have to the inner you. They’re out there, but I’d probably avoid guys who drive pickup trucks. They tend listen to country & western stations. The right guy will find you even more attractive as he gets to know you better. Then you’ll both be beautiful without makeup.