Saturday, August 30, 2008

Day Thirty - Appreciative August

Low Maintenance

Our school had a Make-Over Night fundraiser which involved a parent from the school, DD, 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 overseas 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 no make-up myself 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 two token gay hairdressers. 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 DD started his formal lesson of the evening. I snuck into the back row, my face already strawberry pink from the sparkling burgundy and vodka cruisers I'd sucked down in between serving drinks.

Deb was selected from the crowd of shy-but-secretly-eager mothers. DD 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. DD's anecdotes were interrupted by some rather fierce barking three dogs being walked around 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 DD, ooohing and aahing over his product line and seeking his advice.

I own 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. I can blob on down to Norwood clad in my 'I Chose Comfort Instead of Speed' outfits and couldn't give a Farting Father Flanagans' about what any well-shod, well-paid and well-endowed Eastern Suburbs Matron who needs to tart herself up before she considers entering Coles thinks of me.

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 60 year old coal miner and cloggs my tear ducts with bluetac-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 boxes of Lindt Balls 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/rabbit/child did." 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" blurtings of concern. And the neck area just never looks right under a coat of paint. 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...... I'm still the cheapest chick to run though and for that I'm grateful.


Baino said...

Well Kath, you're blessed with fine grained pale skin . . I on the other hand have that 'oily' sheen that needs a little, albeit, low maintenance foundation matte effect! I do the same with mascara though. Forget it's on and rub my eyes. The panda look almost suits me! Cruisers and red wine! God girl, you must have an industrial constitution!

Kath Lockett said...

Sadly no, Baino. Only one red wine and one cruiser and then I ended outside with the other drunk mums, scabbing smokes and feeling dreadful the very next day.

franzy said...

"I appreciate that I'm completely unattractive and therefore not worth spending money on"

Come on, Kath! You can't spend 1200 words getting totally down on your beautiful self and using it as a twisty excuse for appreciation. This is Appreciative August and you're doing it precisely because you felt that you spent too much time on this blog bitching and complaining and being a Negative Nancy.
This whole post is a typical advertisers' anti-women trick and you've completely fallen for it: cut your body up into a lot of little bits, criticise the hell out of each of those pieces (all the while objectifying and admiring and comparing yourself to every other beautiful woman) and then put yourself back together again with the sad little idea that at least you're cheap to look at in the mirror. It's not right and it's upsetting.

Don't worry, I'm not so ditzy and naive as to think that a telling off on your comments page from some big-headed young dude is going to magically inflate a self-esteem that's obviously taken decades of battering - I know exactly where this stuff comes from and why and I know you do too. But that doesn't mean that we have to like it. Unfortunately, it also means that we have to fight it.

So go to it, beautiful blogger.

Lidian said...

I am not much of a makeup person myself which is to say I use it maybe once a year. My DH likes me best in hiking/outdoorsy/casual clothes, and so do I which is mighty convenient!

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Franzy. Like most women, I've spent pretty much my entire life castigating myself over separate facets of my appearance that no concealer, cellulite cream, facial cleanser or shimmery lip gloss is going to improve for me.

I think it really has been only recently however that I can see my self deprecation for what it is - an acceptance of my less than picturesque qualities, physical and mental. There really is something quite freeing in dressing like a dag and not caring how you look and I'm sure that there are more women who'd like to forgo the warpaint and ridiculous heels but are too afraid to.

And you're right - Appreciative August is meant to be about what I'm truly grateful for and, I am, quite genuinely grateful that I'm not a slave to the mirror or need an hour to get ready for a visit to the post office.

River said...

"...pasty, chubby face resembling a fresh baked scone with two currants pushed in.."
NOT true. I've seen you and think you're quite pretty.
I don't wear makeup either. I never really learned how to put it on so that I don't look "painted", and have no idea what colours suit me. I'm thinking I might have to invest in an eyebrow pencil though, now that my eyebrows have white hairs in them. I'm not keen on that naked forehead look Whoopi Goldberg has.

franzy said...

Sorry Kath, I must admit I prevaricated about posting that comment, but I got pretty fired about women and appearance from reading Clem's blog the other day. I guess it's still with me!
I do get that you're appreciative that you're not a slave to the mirror, but part of me feels like it should be because you can actually see yourself for the beautiful woman you are, rather than an essay about you're not worth painting up in the first place. I guess that's the next step.

You're a champ - keep it up.

Ps. Single Sentence September is happening!

Helen said...

Wow, I feel all girly reading that becuse I have to admit I kind of gasped "what? No mascara? how awful!" Although I only put on makeup when i'm going out, or I'm particulatly tired and look lie death. Putting on makeup always makes me feel a little bit more ready to take on the world, although I wear it seldom enough (and very little when I do) to avoid being one of those girls who can't leave the house without eight layers of paint plastered on in the morning!

I share your sentiments on high heels though! Why be taller when you can be comfortable and not trip/bump your head on something/get a heel stuck in the doormat (true story)?

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks River - you're not too shabby on the eye yourself, you know!