Beauty is all very well at first sight; but who ever looks at it when it has been in the house for three days?
–George Bernard Shaw
(In addition to exploring what it is to not wear makeup, I’m also exploring some of my other crutches–one of which is fighting my hair’s natural texture. It’s usually either straightened within an inch of it’s life or incarcerated atop my noggin in an industrial-strength hair tie. NO MORE! My locks are running wild and free, and I’m trying hard not to freak out about it!)
Yesterday I had a crisis of such epic proportions that it can only be called a BLOGMERGENCY. Because I’ve nominally been on vacation, I had WordPress all set up to autopost entries in my absence for No Makeup Week. Unfortunately something dreadful happened (what exactly I’m not sure) and all of my entries were deleted. Lost and gone forever down the series of tubes.
I thought about re-writing the ones that I was really attached to, but it turns out that the mere thought of spending hours inside on my laptop doing work I had already done was more than my (apparently very spiteful) brain could handle. So I went to Pinkberry and sulked into my yogurt and generally felt sorry for myself.
Apart from today’s breakdown, No Makeup Week has been FUN TIMES. I’ve mentioned that I’m in New York for a bit of a holiday, and nothing says “holiday” to me than keeping my daily routine to a minimum. I have been wearing makeup on occasions, however. Occasions where I’m meeting people that I want-slash-need to impress or going somewhere especially nice, but this is far from a hard and fast rule. The other night I ended up at a fancy dinner with fancy individuals in jeans and a tshirt and an extremely moisturised face–no makeup–because my dad didn’t tell me where we were going. Not to disparage the project, but I probably would have put on some powder for the Palace Hotel. I’M JUST SAYING.
But here’s the thing about this week. It’s not that I’ve learned something new as much as I’ve been reminded of something that I’d kind of forgotten. In my last post, I wrote that makeup is something I wear to give me confidence–which is still totally true, and I know it’s true for a lot of other participants, too. When I’m confident, I am charming and lovely and socially ON. I felt like makeup was a big part of that. No; I felt like makeup was CAUSING that. The makeup made me pretty, which made the world treat me like I was pretty, which made me confident, which made others treat me positively, and so on forever and ever. It was a feedback loop, with makeup being at the very heart of it.
Imagine my surprise to find out that this assumption is false.
This week, when I didn’t have makeup on, I made a conscious choice to act like I did. To act the exact same way that I would with all of my bottled and powdered bravery on my face. I was sweet and charming and as sparkly as I could be. And you know what? The world treated me exactly the same as it did when I was made up. This was a shocking moment for me; could it be that people are reacting to how I am…inside?
In Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell describes Scarlett O’Hara as not being beautiful, but that men seldom realised it when caught by her charms. I don’t think I was beautiful today when I went to the deli for dinner, but I was confident and engaging, and I was treated like the most gorgeous person in the world by everyone that I met. If you treat the world with happiness and kindness it really does seem like it will be happy and kind right back, dark circles notwithstanding.
I’m not stupid enough to think that inner beauty trumps outer beauty every time, but I’ve been reminded that it’s charm, not perfected skin, that makes people the most magnetic. As George Bernard Shaw said, beauty catches the eye, but the novelty of that wears off. You might notice the prettiest girl at the prom right off the bat, but you want to get to know the most charming. Manners, kindness, caring–those are the things that people REALLY notice, and those are the things that matter.
Pretty is as pretty does. Turns out that it’s a cliche for a reason, and I’ll never forget it again.