Thursday, August 21, 2014

Makeup Fail.

The other day Sir UncMo said to me the seven words that no woman wants to hear.

"What did you put on your face?"

He asked this question in the exceedingly neutral, "just curious," practiced tone of a man who is accustomed to treading lightly in certain territory.

I knew immediately that mistakes had been made.

"Oh, no." I said. "I put on a sample cream that was too light and I tried to fix it." The tinted cream from my monthly "beauty" box claimed to make pores disappear. I think it actually did make my skin look smoother. It's just that in the process, it happened to make me look like a cross between a mime and a geisha.

Instead of taking it off, which would have been the correct choice, I layered on a darker all-over cream and then touched up with bronzer and blush.

"Does it look weird?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"It looks kind of purple," he said, as I winced. "With some spots of brown and pink..."

I started cracking up at this point. "Should I continue?" he said, smiling.

"No!" I shouted, and ran to the bathroom sink to wash everything off, laughing.

The scary thing is, I had looked at myself in the mirror just five minutes ago and thought I had gotten away with it. It was not the first time my bathroom lighting and eyesight had failed me. I shudder to contemplate how many times I've gone to the office thinking I looked fine.

One of the nice things about being with someone for a little while: A few years ago, he wouldn't have said anything, and I would have spent the day looking weird. And a few years ago, if he had dared to venture a comment, it probably wouldn't have ended in laughter.

But back to the topic of emotional minefields, here are my general rules on matters regarding physical appearance. Complete honesty is not always the best policy.

- If you happen to notice that your person looks nice, you should say so. Early and often.

- If you have not noticed, or do not care one way or the other, about your person's appearance or what they are wearing that day and they* ask you about it, you should tell them they look great. Beautiful, even. Because they do.

- If you feel that some kind of look they are rocking lately is, let's say, not your favorite, but they do not ask you about it, you keep your mouth shut. That, for any sensitive person, is plenty of input.

- If they ask you about the look they are rocking lately and you don't really care for it but acknowledge that it is a valid choice that you can live with, you should tell them they look great. Or at least, fine.

- If they ask you about a look that you genuinely despise, you are allowed to say, "It's not my favorite" or "If you like it..." Any other ideas for how to say this?

- If there is an underwear or see-through situation, or food in the teeth, or bats in the cave, or you genuinely believe that they look cray (see above), you are allowed to say something, but you must pretend as if it just occurred to you and it's no big deal, even if you've been staring at the same issue multiple times now and have finally accepted that it is time to intervene.

I realize that 90 percent of these scenarios are going to apply to women. But they can happen with men too. I am going to leave it there.

Sometimes I'll be out with my mom and we will see an older lady who colored outside the lines on her face, or made some other terrible surface error. "If you ever see me do that..." we say to each other. "Shoot me." Or, better yet, tell me. We all need backup out here, and bad lighting happens.

Music: "Just Fine"

*I know that technically "they" should be "he or she" here. Screw it.

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