Friday, September 02, 2005

Make Over or Make Do

Our school had a Make-Over Night fundraiser on Friday night which involved a parent from the school, Dale, showing us his professional make up and styling tricks. He'd just returned back to Adelaide after doing Delta Goodrem's make-up whilst she was on tour, so I guess he knows a thing or two about applying the war paint.

The three of us mums on the fundraising committee - the fully-organised, quiet-achiever Kate and the ex-model earth mother Samara and I spent a few hours de-testosteroning the hall which is also used by the local soccer club. Lavender oil was burning in an attempt to rid the space of sweaty armpits and stale beer splashes and any notices relating to 'Prawn and Porn Night' or 'Tony's lost his sprigs - will buy a bundy for the bloke who returns them' were hidden in the store room. We wheeled away the huge television and instead set up coffee cups and tea bags and sugars and put up the kindergarten's pale apricot partitions to hide the rather battered and blokey black plastic chairs used by the players. Three hours later the hall looked tasteful enough for a pastel-beige episode of the Golden Girls.

There was a good turnout that night: 60 eager mums and one token gay hairdresser. This was a relief for me because it meant that I could hide at the back of the room and be the bartender and not have to pretend to be interested (or in any way knowledgeable) about make up or how to apply it. Most of the crowd enjoyed a glass of champagne or two before Dale started his formal lesson of the evening. I snuck into the back row, my face already strawberry pink from the sparkling burgundy and vodka cruiser I'd sucked down in between serving drinks.

Deb was selected from the crowd of shy-but-secretly-eager mothers. Dale expertly showed us how Deb could be made up for a big night out, even though he only did one half of her face. Jo was a bit luckier, even though she's already naturally gorgeous so that anything he did was always going to look good. Dale's anecdotes were interrupted by some rather fierce barking from the local walking his three dogs on the oval next door. I couldn't help myself: "Sorry Dale, they're the women that were just too ugly to be let in." He resumed his magic on the shy Giselle who ended up like a rock star - smoky eyes, dramatic lips and ready to punch out Courtney Love.

This was all very interesting to me as a form of visual entertainment, but I was grateful to get back behind the bar whilst the others were crowding around Dale, ooohing and aahing over his product line and seeking his advice. I own about four lipsticks; none of which have cost me more than four dollars. They last me for an entire decade because my lips are like Kenneth Branagh's which look as though someone's sliced his across the moosh with a butter knife. Also, why bother to put on lippy in the first place when, five minutes later it's found its way into your used tissue or wiped itself around the edge of your coffee cup? Having to slavishly reapply it during the day sounds like too much hard work for me. And besides; exactly what shade of lipstick would properly complement my traditional outfit of tracksuit pants, sneakers and a dog-hair-infested polar fleece? I don't think Chanel has developed the 'Couldn't Care Less' colour range just yet.

My anti-lipstick stance is supported by Love Chunks, who once kissed me after I was made-up for a work conference. Unbeknownst to him, most of my 'iced floss' had transferred to him and he was ribbed all day by his workmates: "Like the shimmery pink lips, Love Chunks. Thanks for making such an effort for us."

Mascara? If I can manage to apply it without black lumps flicking up onto my eyelids (about half the time) it can actually be a help in that I no longer look like a plucked chicken. Unfortunately I then forget that I'm wearing it and always end up rubbing my eyes with the heel of my hand. This then produces a fetching result of filling in the tiny lines under my eyes with black mascara debris making me look like a 50 year old coal miner and cloggs my tear ducts with blue-tack-sized blobs of the remaining black debris. Because we all like highlighting our eye boogers, don't we?

As for eyeshadow, I've given up on it altogether. With my deep-set eyes and blonde brows my pasty, chubby face resembles a fresh-baked scone with two currants pushed into it. Any shadow - no matter how light - makes it appear as though I've had an unfortunate episode with the car's airbags or have decided to work on becoming one of the zombie undead.

Being pale enough to be the envy of goths everywhere means that I also tend to go bright red. Hot flushes have occurred since I was six years old; sitting in silent agony during class when the teacher would say "Who stole Darryl's pencil case? You'd better own up or you'll be going straight to the principal's office?" Even though I hadn't stolen it, I'd go tomato red in terror that the teacher could possibly think it was me. Nowadays, I go red from one drink, a good laugh, or from running seven hours earlier. I can't even tell a white lie without going red. If Love Chunks says: "Hey, there were two family blocks of chocolate here yesterday. Did you eat any?" I have to go and hide my face in the dark before squeaking out unconvincingly, "Um, no. Maybe the dog did it." What on earth kind of blush would a fat apple like me need?

I've never got the hang of foundations or concealers either. I reckon they make you look worse than whatever the hell it was you wanted to hide from the world to begin with. The sticky stuff fills up every empty white-head crevice in my nose, which, being big enough already to rent out as a warehouse I don't need to emphasise any further. Any dark circles under the eyes just produce a death-mask appearance that only ends up in "Geez, are you feeling OK? Don't you think you should lie down?" questions of concern. And the neck area just never looks right, does it. It either ends up a weird orangey brown that fills up every neck ring, or there's a distinct white tide mark where the face make up ends and the bareness of the throat begins. It's a sad society we live in when we believe that our necks don't deserve to be au naturel.

And finally, hair. I go to the cheapest hair cutter I know, and she's always greeted with: "I want low maintenance hair that, if it takes me more than two minutes to do, is too hard." No wonder I had a number four head shave for ten years......

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