Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Like to Let Myself Go

Makeup keeps getting built to last longer.  There are two-part glosses involving a stain and semi-permanent lacquer, 24-hour liquid foundation that brings to mind corpse paint, and now mascara meant to last several days.  Hazel Bishop invented the first "kissable" lipstick in 1950 and it was an instant hit.

Accuse me of oral fixation, but I enjoy reapplying whatever I'm wearing on my lips.  I like to perform little beauty tasks and chores.  Up until last week, I've enjoyed shaving my legs.  I like getting into disarray and then pulling myself back together.  Those little grooming errands are a break, sort of like smoking a cigarette, I suppose.  You step away from the table, look in the mirror, tidy your hair and fix your lipstick.  It's fun.

And in a larger sense, I like to let myself go a bit.  Every August I seem to let it all go to hell: my hair spends most of its time pinned into a clump on the top of my head.  I stop wearing anything remotely creative.  Then when fall comes, I get all excited about scarves, earrings, boots and haircuts.  I even enjoy gaining a few pounds (A FEW) because it leads to a minor thrill when they peel back off.  I don't appreciate a blow-out as much unless I let my hair run wild in the streets for a while.  

It must have been in one of these down cycles when a close friend described me to someone (in front of me) as a "bombshell who doesn't take care of herself."  Compliment?  Fighting words?  She just shrugged when I asked for clarification.  I spoke with a different friend once about the issue of repetitive beauty tasks.  She said when she showered, she always felt slightly guilty for "washing off yesterday's valuable lotion and hair products."  Whereas I relish the opportunity to reapply.

Sometimes I like things to last; I loved good-for-months eyelash extensions and hair relaxing.  But I would take them for granted is they never wore off.  I ebb and flow between taking care with the details and going around utterly uncultivated, and I kind of do it on purpose.  Am I the only one who feels this way?