Monday, July 7, 2014

Before you start (or continue) following social customs, take some time to think it over.

Unrelated point: Read Genesis Deflowered by Matthew Stillman. He turned Genesis into an interesting story filled with sensuality.

Around 1982, I was in college studying to be an actress. Like any young woman my age, I criticized every aspect of my own appearance. My eyes were too deep-set. My nose was too big. My hair was too curly and wild.

Women with normal eyes told me they spent ages trying to make their eyes look like mine. Women with normal-sized or cute pixie noses told me that they wished their noses were "more interesting." Women with straight hair assured me that they would pay good money if they could get their hair to look like mine.

I asked around, and I found that women with straight hair wished desperately for curly hair. They spent a great deal of time trying to force their hair to hold curls. Meanwhile, women with curly hair wished desperately for straight hair! They spent a great deal of time trying to force their hair to be straight and smooth. Women with dark hair wished it were lighter; women with light hair wished it were darker. Women with red hair wished it would be anything else.

It wasn't just women, though. It was a school for the arts, so perhaps not a great sampling, but the men were just as insecure about their appearances. Their beards were too thick or too thin. They were too tall or too short. Their hair, like the women's, was the wrong color, thickness, or texture.

With a few rare exceptions, everyone I asked seemed to hate his or her own natural appearance. When I assured them their noses were on straight or their hair was actually gorgeous, they just smiled at me as if I were a naïve child. They knew that if they hadn't spent an enormous amount of time "fixing" themselves, they would not be permitted to walk around in public at all.

I was expected to use make-up to make my eyes "pop" and products to tame my hair into something that it was not. I was supposed to ignore the fact that other women were working just as hard to make their eyes and hair appear more like mine.

If I were to conform to these ideals, I would have to spend a great deal of time each morning "putting on my face" and "taming" my hair. Every night, I would have to spend more time counteracting the damage done by the morning routine. I would have to get special soaps, shampoos, and other products that would clean my skin and repair my hair. I would have to continue to do this for the rest of my life.

I could not understand why it would be a good idea to start every morning of my life trying to change my appearance. I thought it would make a lot more sense to just accept what I look like and hope nobody turned to stone if they saw my bare face and natural hair.

When I get up in the morning, I brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed, brush my hair, and leave. I can be up and out the door in less than ten minutes from a dead sleep. Nobody has turned to stone. Nobody has sent me home for being ugly or to jail for indecent exposure.

I don't feel sorry for women who wear make-up. I don't want anyone to feel she has to defend her decision to wear make-up. I just want us to accept and believe that make-up is not mandatory.


Veronica Tuggle
vtuggle[AT]centurylink.net
Mountain View, MO

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