For me, it’s earrings and I rarely make this discovery until I’m too far along in my commute to turn back and correct my error. Bracelets, necklaces, rings – I can go without, but earrings no! A friend of mine solves this problem by keeping an extra pair in her glove compartment. Time after time I resolve to adopt her pro-active approach, but time after time I forget all about it – until the next time I discover my ears are naked.
Through the years, women have had this same relationship with make-up.
The Greatest Generation
For our mothers (I’m speaking as a baby boomer) it was lipstick –red lipstick. How shiny and perfect a brand new tube looked as I sat on the covered toilet seat and watched my mother purse her lips and smooth it on; good enough to eat. But after a few uses the perfect point
rounded out, lost its smooth texture, and after a few weeks it was a flat ledge of red barely rising above the tube, even when the bottom had been swiveled as counterclockwise as it could go.
Moms spent almost as much time blotting the color as they did applying it; Kiss-kiss press-press on a precisely folded tissue, then one last glance in the mirror. Evidently some moms were less adept at this last step, and their kids came to school with a good-bye kiss
stamped on their cheeks.
No doubt women of the 50’s were influenced by the glamorous movies stars of the forties with their blood-red lips shaped into a bow.
Boomers are known for revolt so maybe that’s why I eschewed red lip stick and slathered my lips in white – milk of magnesia white. Some of my friends were less radical, going for Pepto Bismol pink. But, if I may talk for my gen-gen-gen-eration, we could do forego lip color in a pinch, but eye liner – I shudder to think of a day without eyeliner. And notice the present tense of shudder, even to this day, if I haven’t applied eyeliner I feel like a ghost.
A couple of years ago I got together with four of my high school girlfriends and we were reminiscing how back in the day you walked a fine line when applying eyeliner – too thick and the nuns would send you to the bathroom to wash it off. Too thin and who knew you were wearing it? T, who had her share of trips to the bathroom commented that even now on her 6:30 AM grocery runs to Shop-rite, when there are perhaps five other shoppers in the store, she has apply mascara before leaving the house.
Who made us this way?
Now when it comes to twenty-somethings, my observation, limited as it may be, is that we may have a throwback to our moms, but their obsession of choice pales in comparison. Take my niece. A few years ago, she was traveling to Mexico at a time when airport security levels had risen to orange. She was concerned that TSA agents might confiscate her lip gloss.
Lip gloss,I thought, sheesh. I was going to say, losing a tube of lip gloss is hardly worth getting worked up about,
but then I substituted eyeliner for lip gloss and decided to keep my mouth shut.
Speaking of planes, lip gloss, and millennials, last week the New York Times travel section included an article filled with packing tips from Silicon Valley twenty-somethings who spend a disproportionate part of their time traveling the world for their tech companies. Every strategy was aimed at avoiding checked luggage andstow one soft sided duffel or wheelie bag overhead, instead.
One young woman recommended saving precious space in the plastic quart bag by leaving all your makeup home save for a jar of all in one lip and cheek stain which, and I quote “gives a rosy pop to cheeks and lips.
Rosy cheeks, what a fresh-faced, wholesome look I thought. I tried to think of who might influence this generation. Maybe….
What about you? Do you have a must-have or I can’t leave the house without beauty embellishment? Leave a word in the comments section, literally one word, that’s all it takes. You can remain anonymous.
And you male readers – Sorry but I guess you’re going to have to sit this one out. Umm, maybe not.