Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Find the Real

"Shouldn't you at least be wearing makeup or something? I mean if you look that ill you could at least attempt to cover it up."

(Almost accurate for the physical reaction I was tempted to give. Image from

I wish I’d made that up, but it is in fact what I was greeted with at work. Beyond the fact it’s an exceptionally rude comment to make it raises a couple of potentially interesting points of discussion.

The first is very general, and that is that frankly it sickens me how much emphasis is put on appearance, and why it’s something that everyone and their aunt feel entitled to comment on. I recognise that the fact I don’t wear makeup most of the time puts me in the minority, but the decision belongs with me. I have better things to do first thing in the morning when I get up (optional reading: I’m too lazy) and I can only imagine the state my skin would work itself into if I used makeup every day.

Most importantly though I just don’t feel the need to do so. Within my job I meet clients and visitors on occasion, but as long as I’m smartly dressed and the mane is tamed (frankly it’s something of a spectacle in itself when it isn’t) then I consider that I’m fulfilling my role correctly in a professional environment. I work in a law firm and not a fashion house, so I don’t believe for a second that clients form their impression of a law firm’s competency and professionalism on how much or how little makeup the female members of staff wear.

For most other occasions, makeup in my head is just part of the ritual of getting dressed up to go out somewhere be it gig, restaurant, club night or anything else. I have the odd day at a weekend where I wake up and feel like wearing some, but mostly it’s just not something I’m overly interested in.

However, I wouldn’t for a moment look down on people who do wear makeup to work, to pop round the corner to the shops or indeed anything else. If they want to, that’s their decision, and despite the fact I don’t use it often I do have an appreciation for just how much skill and artistry can be involved. The point about a “natural” look is an amusing one for me, because it takes a lot of hard work to create the illusion of wearing no makeup when you are in fact doing so. I’m frankly in awe of people’s skills because I’m well aware mine are just a little shabby.

For example my infrequent attempts at mascara usually go rather like this: poke myself in both eyes several times, end up with more mascara on my face than I do my eyelashes, despair at the clumpy mess I’ve created and then essentially just give up.

If I somehow manage to avoid that then the shock uses up most of the spoons I was planning on using to go out in the first place!

One of the tiresome attempts I’ve often heard to bolster the sort of looking down the nose that goes on in terms of makeup is the excuse of “They’re just wearing makeup because they’re too insecure about how they look without it!”

Some people do indeed do that. Others don’t. I’d really love someone to meet the challenge one day of explaining to me what effect they think this has on the type of person someone is, or what it has to do with the way they behave towards others.

More importantly I’d love them to explain why exactly it is anyone else’s damned business.

Makeup is just another part of self expression, and everyone’s right to dress and look how they want to in order to express themselves ought to be defended whether it’s something you personally like or agree with or not. Next time you want to complain about what someone wears, think about this: are they making you wear the same thing? The likelihood is no, so leave them be.

Albinwonderland being brilliant once again.)

The second point is more specific – what kind of selfish and blinkered individual expects that anything they are uncomfortable with should be removed from their sight, allowing their rosy little existence to remain unblemished by its corrupting presence? In the 21st century are we really back to “we’re scared of what we don’t understand”?

Nobody, regardless of whether their illness is temporary, chronic, incurable or even fatal is obliged to hide it for anyone’s comfort but their own if that is what they choose. Injury, illness, ageing and any number of other appearance-altering realities are a part of life. For illness of a more long term nature it’s also a part of your person.

Would you ask someone to hide their sexuality, their interests or their heritage just because you were too narrow minded to be comfortable with its expression? Why is poor health any different? If it’s a part of your life then why should you be expected to feel ashamed of it?

It’s the same argument used by many that “fat people should cover up”. No, they shouldn’t, not unless they want to. They’re as entitled to express themselves through fashion choices, makeup and aesthetics as anybody else. They don’t look “ridiculous” or “stupid” or “horrible” or any other negative usually carelessly thrown around, they’re just outside of the teeny tiny box of what you consider to be the parameters of beauty, and woe betide anyone who disagrees with you.  

What happened to the attitude of “Not for me, but each to their own”? If you’re too immature to accept the choices of others which fall outside what you personally find attractive or comfortable then I truly do pity you.

Why? One day you’re likely to be ill yourself. Hopefully it will be transient and of short duration. It might affect your weight in one way or another, or give you uneven skin or swollen joints or a bloated abdomen. If people then make those sorts of comments to you, asking why you haven’t attempted to mask the problem because they find it unsightly, you’re feelings will understandably be hurt. Maybe, just maybe it will teach you a lesson. 

On something of an amusing tangent, I didn't actually look ill today. I do have flare ups that are quite visible – if they last more than a day or so I start to look a little sunken around the eyes and washed out. Today however I was my completely normal exceptionally pale self.

According to a friend of mine my ghostly complexion is going to be the death of cameras one day, given it took him about six tries to take the photo below. The point is as long as you’re human and not a camera then the likelihood is my rather British pallor is not going to be that dangerous.

(I’m not convinced I believe you Shane.)

No person on this planet exists to be molded around any other individual’s comfort and convenience, so none of them deserve to be shamed when they don’t fit the narrow boundaries of the perfect little world some people live in.

I’m pleased I don’t have to live there with them.

Wishing you all many spoons xxx


  1. Wonderful, insightful blog as always. Gawd, I wish that individual could read this.... maybe send her an email with a link.... x

  2. I cannot believe someone had the cheek to say that to you! What a bloody rude, horrible person! x