I started high school in the early 70s, after some of the fake-ish fads like beehive hairdos, “go-go boots,” and frosted pink lipstick had mercifully fizzled out. Then the pendulum swung the other way. Now, for a fairly broad swath of young people, “natural” was in. Artificial conventions such as makeup, neatly trimmed hair, and personal hygiene? Out.
At our school we had a lot of girls both pretty and stylish, who still wore makeup and came to class looking quite snazzy. That wasn’t me. I dressed more like the “hippie-esque” set, or perhaps the merely awkward. To be precise, those with no particular sense of style. I mean, I showered and all, but sometimes I wore my brother’s old oxford shirts with my too-long bell-bottom jeans. Yes, to school.
And no makeup. Nothing against it, I simply couldn’t be bothered learning to put it on. There was too much other stuff to do.
Namely, at least from January into May, the Choir department’s Spring musicals. We rehearsed and performed the likes of Hello, Dolly! and The Music Man. Ah, The Music Man… now, that was a good year! I actually had a speaking role. What fun! I painted sets, made most of my costumes, memorized a bunch of other people’s lines along with my own, and generally spent a lot of time at the junior high, where we would perform. (It was the only school with an auditorium and stage at the time. Too bad it wasn’t air-conditioned.)
Eventually we got down to the wire: Dress Rehearsal. The girls all crowded into one classroom and piled our costumes on desks. Then we proceeded to do our stage makeup.
Wait, did I say “we?” Hah–that would be a gross exaggeration. I was utterly useless. Well, I could put lipstick on myself if I had a mirror. But then another girl asked me to apply her mascara. I froze. “Me? On your eyelashes?? But–what if I put your eye out?” She coached me through it with no major mishaps. Somebody else did my mascara, thankfully.
That was many years ago. Over time I did learn to put on makeup. Now I wear it most days, though I rarely take time to mess with eye shadow.
Well, perhaps I never quite recovered from the dress-rehearsal trauma, because I still have trouble with it. I’ll try a basic waterproof, which turns out to have a skinny little wand that, if possible, actually makes my lashes look shorter. Okay, so I’ll buy one with a “plumping” wand. The wand pictured on the package looks fine, but when I actually pull it out of the tube, it seems to morph into a bottle brush. I end up with what looks like shorebird tracks scattered from eyebrows to cheekbones, which must then be scrubbed off with cold cream and a Q-Tip.
Q-Tips: Buy stock.
But I’m determined to have long, pretty eyelashes, and not from mere vanity. For one thing, I have low-contrast coloring. Without mascara and lipstick I look like I have no features at all. This can upset young children. I’ve tried everything…
“No Clumping!” It clumps.
“Flexor Brush caresses lashes!” I don’t want my lashes caressed, thank you. I want mascara on them.
“Outrageous lengths!” Nope.
“Separates lashes!” They stick together in five chunks, so I resemble Betty Boop, only without cleavage.
And so I continue to practice, and search for the perfect mascara every few months, and wonder why I had to be a teenager in the 70s.
Maybe one day I will win this battle.
That’d be groovy, man.
Thanks for reading!
PS: I’m linking up with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters. Join us?