The fine art of making up
By Norm(an) de Plume
I could not help being rather intrigued by Madmax's contribution to the
'Clothesline' a couple of weeks ago. For those of you who didn't get to
read it, it was his theory on why women wear make-up. And if I got it right,
his explanation was that it is because women have a genetic disorder that
causes severe insecurity that compels them to apply these 'chemical concoctions'.
Fair enough - everyone is entitled to an opinion.
One of the earliest known examples of using make-up dates back to the
Egyptians. This was during a cookout when one Egyptian woman said to another,
"Say, don't you think this soot will look lovely on my eyelashes?" You
think this is bad? In Greece and Rome, the women applied white lead and
chalk on their faces to attract attention. I will make a wild guess here
and assume that kisses on the cheek were not all that popular at the time.
But of course, the Victorians were better - apparently they thought that
puppy urine made people fairer - hopefully it does not form part of modern
To be fair to the 'fair sex', I know that most guys would complain if
a girl isn't looking her best. Often do I hear the conversation, "She's
okay-looking, but she doesn't make an effort to look her best," etc. If
you don't believe me, then take the word of an ancient Roman chappie called
Plautus (who majored in philosophy) who said, "A woman without paint is
like food without salt". Not that I am saying that women should do it just
for the sake of such comments, but that's just the way it is. Admit it,
not many people will fall for a girl with a moustache. So perhaps too much
criticism of girls and their make-up might not be justified, at least from
But this is not to say that make-up does not have a dangerous element.
You see, the purpose behind spending many hours applying make-up is to
ensure that it looks like you aren't wearing any! Now this is worrying.
At least in the 70's and 80's you could easily tell whether someone was
wearing make-up, they made it quite obvious. But nowadays, you can never
Let me illustrate - my friends who are swimmers tell stories of how
the girls look drop dead gorgeous before they take the plunge into the
pool, but once they come out.... well... they aren't all that beautiful.
But a quick trip to the changing rooms fixes the problem, they report.
On the other side of the scale, I should point out that while make-up
probably originated as a means of making people look better, this objective
seems to have been corrupted of late. I refer to the people made up in
black or other equally ghoulish colour. Perhaps the best explanation is
that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Still, you must be thankful for small mercies these days; at least the
make-up doesn't kill us guys. That's what happened in Italy a few centuries
ago when someone invented a face powder called Aqua Toffana, which had
arsenic in it. After about six hundred or so dead husbands/boyfriends later,
the inventor got the chop.
We might as well face it, make-up has been around for quite some time
(and not just for girls too - men used it in the olden days and nowadays
the tradition is carried on by a select few like Boy George and Marilyn
Manson ) and it will be around for some time too. So let the girls wear
it -what's the problem? People ought to have the freedom to look their
best. After all, looks aren't everything - maybe make-up is.
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