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I survived my sister’s wedding Part II

on . Posted in Family.


So, now that I had bought a dress, I had to face the issue of make-up (no pun intended). I actually had already started thinking about make-up months before. At first, I had thought I could get away with not wearing any make-up to the wedding. But then various people started telling me that I had to. OK, they didn’t say it was compulsory, but the person who managed to convince me was my colleague (different from the dress-shopping one, but also another straight female one) who told me “If you are not wearing make-up, and when you take photos with your sister or the others who are wearing make-up, then you will look like a ghost in contrast to them.” No, my colleagues are not big on subtlety.

Before I continue, I should perhaps explain that I have a love-hate relationship with make-up. It goes beyond mere unfamiliarity due to never wearing any. I actually do believe that make-up is a form of oppression. Why do women have to go through so much effort just to look natural ? Don’t they look natural to begin with, the way they were created? Why is it normal for a man to spend just 5 minutes getting ready to leave the house, but unheard of for a woman? And obscene amounts of women’s salaries go to keeping the cosmetics industry probably the largest industry in the world.

BUT having said all that, I do like looking at make-up products. I am drawn to colours in any form; crayons, wallpaint, and make-up included. I like inspecting the smart packaging and clever new “gadgets” eg an eyeshadow pot with built-in brush (same principle as nail varnish). I even like the smell of some brands of make-up. If I had more money and less self-restraint, I would end up with tons of make-up in my room, but not used for its intended purpose.

Which is why I have rather mixed feelings towards make-up. Deep inside, I am against it. But so many women around me cannot live without it. And now, even men are getting into the act as well. What is the deal? I figured it probably would not kill me to give it a try. Thus I decided, I would wear make-up for my sister’s wedding.

Next question: Should I just hire a professional make-up person to handle it for me? That would be simple, however I calculated that I would need to get made-up for at least 4 separate sessions (1 church wedding, then tea ceremonies and dinners in both Singapore and KL.) Logistics seemed too complicated, so I chose the alternative of doing it myself. Dykes like DIY, right? And if I can drive a manual car, how difficult can make-up be?

For a start, I had to LEARN how to apply make-up. Appointment made with one of the stores in Orchard Road, makeover session with step-by-step instructions. I arrived at the shop brewing with nervousness, and totally self-conscious. I explained to the lady that I had no experience in make-up, and therefore she would have to speak s-l-o-w-l-y, not use any jargon, and give me time to take notes. She very kindly provided me with some sheets of A4 paper and a pen too.

After that, she frowned at my eyebrows and asked if I would like them to be plucked. I tried to get out of it, but she convinced me with “You would not get the full effect of your make-over otherwise.” I tentatively asked “Will it hurt?” and she replied “YEAH,” with as much hesitation as if I had just asked her if the Pope is Catholic. But having already agreed, and having too much pride for my own good, I submitted to her tweezers. I am sure that there are some events in life that no amount of psyching yourself up can adequately prepare you to actually experience. And I am sure that Having Your Eyebrows Plucked For The First Time would rank right alongside Bungee Jumping, or Having A Baby. I had tears streaming down my face, and she kept repeating “It will be worth it when you see the results…” It was traumatic to say the least. Apparently it is supposed to hurt less as you do it more often, but hey I will just take their word for it.

Next came the actual make-up lesson. For a split second I wondered why she had given me a stack of A4 paper on which to take notes, but as we went along, it turned out that all that paper was going to come in handy. I began with “Step 1: Wash Face“. Might be obvious to some, but I wasn’t taking any chances, I had to idiot-proof my notes. “Step 2: Toner. Use cotton pad.” I ended up with close to 30 steps. More intricate steps needed little sketches too. I even drew diagrams to indicate which brush to use when. It all seemed too complicated for my little brain.

When we were finished, I thought, “Ok, I look nice.” But it was very hard to justify the time and effort spent, compared with the final result. I really do wonder what the deal is with Looking Natural. I mean, after so much trouble with the make-up, I would have expected something more dramatic ala Chinese Opera performer. To Look Natural is something I could have achieved with Step 1. And really, I have always felt that my life is too short to spend that kind of time in front of mirrors. I cannot imagine myself, on a daily basis, getting up an extra hour early just to draw my face. And then only to sweat it all off again on my I trek to the office.

So I have come to the conclusion that make-up for me is something reserved for special occasions. (Better if these occasions happen at night when one is not subject to melting in the sun.) I continue to be amazed by women who wear make-up to work. And because this is basically the majority of the female population, it gives me lots to ponder while taking the train to work. “I wonder how long they spend putting on make-up each morning… Perhaps they don’t have too far to walk to the MRT station…” etc

After my foray into the cosmetics arena, I continue to resent a society that judges people by their appearances. And I strive for a world where one’s worth is measured based on one’s achievements, ability, and character.


# lublubb 2010-02-02 01:48
lublub said,

March 31, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Hahaha! I like the ‘about the author’ part!~

Amusing article =DDD
# rRabbit06 2010-02-02 01:49
rabbit06 said,

April 1, 2007 at 12:03 am

I’m with you on the part about society. :)
# iirene 2010-02-02 01:49

irene said,

April 2, 2007 at 2:14 pm

This is hilarious!

And I must say the most difficult part about make-up is not putting it on, but taking it off!
# victoriasecret 2010-02-02 01:49

victoriasecret said,

April 2, 2007 at 11:06 pm

hahahahha.. true.. true….

but i still think putting a light/ soft make-up is good (though i dont practice it myself). it shows that we appreciate beauty and stuffs..
# jeean 2010-02-02 01:49
jean said,

April 3, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I hate make-up.
# AnJJ 2010-02-02 01:50

AnJ said,

April 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm

This article had me roaring in the central library!

Actually i kinda prefer men who take care of their skin, pluck their brows and dress decently. It’s more pleasing to the eyes.. Men who look sloppy tend to be part of the inanimate objects of the environment. *shrugs* What can we do about the way they dress currently when women out there make do with ugly men?

LOL. I know this is not what you are suggesting. But natural does not equate beauty- think messy weeds in a garden. But being comfortable with yourself and carrying yourself with confidence, plus that flashy smile… that’s beautiful. That’s something make up cannot produce on its own.
# wwaterbaby 2010-02-02 01:50

waterbaby said,

April 13, 2007 at 6:07 pm

Make up is ok to me.. its something I only ever do on special occasions, once or twice a year.

Though I will never go through the hassle of applying it everyday, I know of some people who can’t leave the house without it. Some people are just more superficial than others, feeling that their outside look matters more than what’s inside. I don’t agree with this at all but I find that majority of people in today’s society are like that.

I guess if make up can boost a person’s self esteem, then at least it will help some people function with more confidence, so its not a bad thing entirely.
# alixnaiq 2010-02-02 01:50

alixnaiq said,

April 25, 2007 at 1:39 am

I take issue with being categorised as superficial because I prefer not to leave the house without makeup – this does NOT equate to feeling that your “outside look matters more than what�s inside”. I wear it because I enjoy applying it and how I look with it, not because I care what people think of it. It’s not as if wearing makeup has affected the way people treat me. I wouldn’t die without makeup, but I have loads of fun experimenting with different looks. Makeup isn’t a hassle if it’s something you enjoy – it can be so transformative & performative! People who enjoy makeup & fashion don’t necessarily judge others for not being interested; dismissing others for caring about these things is, I feel, a more judgemental and superficial act. And I agree with AnJ – makeup alone can’t generate confidence & beauty – but it can be a great help. :)

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