a powder, lotion, lipstick, rouge, or other preparation for beautifying the face, skin, hair, nails, etc.
cosmetics, superficial measures to make something appear better, more attractive, or more impressive.
Spectrummy Daddy and I went out on a date on Friday night to celebrate our anniversary. We get out together every 2-3 months, which is seldom by anyone’s reckoning. Our plan was to get the children to sleep and then I would collect my friend B, who was babysitting. I’m convinced the kids knew we had plans to ditch them, because they took even longer than usual to get to sleep. By the time I got Cubby down, it was already half an hour later than when I said I’d pick up B. I hadn’t tidied the house, changed clothes, or done my hair and make up. I left Spectrummy Daddy to tidy the house while I tidied myself up, as best I could in less than 5 minutes.
I got dressed, very quickly applied foundation, powder, blusher and mascara when I came to an abrupt halt. No lipstick. I no longer owned a single lipstick, or lip gloss. In the five years that I have been married, and (for the most part) not employed, I’ve seen no reason to buy make-up. The make-up I owned before getting married has lasted me until now. I know, you’re supposed to get new stuff every few months or so, but it always seemed like such an unnecessary luxury on one salary. As I don’t wear make-up on a day-to-day basis, Pudding doesn’t really know about cosmetics, which I’m okay with. I don’t want her to be insecure about her appearance. I want her to know that pretty is meaningless, and she is truly beautiful, inside and out. On the odd occasion that she has seen me dressed up and wearing make-up, I get a “pretty mummy” compliment from her, but she doesn’t know the artifice involved in my appearance.
This does not mean she has no interest in make-up. Presumably to her it just looks like art supplies, and Pudding is an artist. Lipstick is particularly appealing with the colours, twisting mechanism, or little dabbers and brushes. So over the last few years, every single one of my remaining lipsticks has been smeared onto walls, clothes, and carpets, until finally on Friday night I discovered there was no more.
All evening, I just didn’t feel right. My appearance was off, and it made me uncomfortable. Suddenly my clothes felt tight, and I felt all the weight of a stone (14 pounds) heavier than I was when I got married. I know how vain that sounds, but I don’t think of myself as a particularly vain woman. These days I cut my own hair, and I don’t go for facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, like my friends. I can’t seem to figure out how to devote enough time to myself, when I already feel that the kids don’t get enough of me.
Last week I showed Pudding my wedding photos. I asked her who she saw, and she said, “Daddy.” I asked her if the lady was Mummy, and she replied, “no, that’s not mummy. That’s pretty mummy.” It made me smile, but there is a difference between the woman in those photos and the one I am now. Not just a difference in beauty, but a difference in self-esteem. That woman knew how to take care of herself. This one is too busy taking care of everyone else. That woman was fit, relaxed and energetic. This one is dull, tired and worn out. Once in a while, I miss the old me.
On Saturday we went to the mall, and I visited Sephora, which has been my place of worship since I lived in Paris. I bought products for my lips, cheeks, eyes, and skin. I even bought new products I’m going to have to google to find out how to use properly. Apparently five years is a really long time in the cosmetic world, things have changed. For the quarter of an hour or so in there I concentrated solely on me. It took me back to lunchtimes on Oxford Street picking a new eye-shadow to go out that night. It felt really, really good. And anyone who says you can’t buy self-esteem has never seen me spend $75.60 and fifteen hedonistic minutes in Sephora.
I do realize though, that these are nothing more than “superficial measures to make something appear better, more attractive, or more impressive.” I know that I have to get some time for myself, exercise, and find some way to get the kids sleeping well so that we can too. But until then, I can put my mask on, and feel good about myself. Because a cosmetic fix will work, for now.