Everybody knows by now from women's magazines "on the street" questionnaires that men prefer us all in a simple white T and jeans and a bare face. So sexy! So casual!
In case you need a reminder, behold this recent Shape article on "What Men Really Think About Your Makeup." Some sample quotes:
"Men want to kiss a woman's face and not the makeup that's on it. Who wants to feel like they are kissing a mask?"
"I think you can tell a lot about a woman's personality by the makeup she wears. If it's heavier, especially during the day, she's more exaggerated and theatrical and may be hiding something. If it's lighter, she's more down to earth."
"Nobody wants to kiss a clown!"
"All three of my ladies (my wife and two teenage daughters) are naturally beautiful, so I like when they wear no makeup or just something to highlight their big, beautiful eyes."
"I think most women, my fiancée included, are pretty enough and don't need a lot of makeup."
How does this piss me off? Let me count the ways.
First of all, no one "needs" makeup. I hate the implication that makeup is something ugly women use to make themselves look less ugly, which is the flipside of "my fiance is pretty so she doesn't need makeup." Makeup is about enhancing beauty, not covering up ugly.
You may have noticed by now that there's nothing subtle about my personal beauty ideal. I like the tallest shoes, the tightest skirts, the highest hair and the biggest tits possible. It's funny that Jane "Makeunder" Pratt ended up with a Managing Editor with the style aesthetic of a drag queen an a Beauty Director whose black eyeliner you can basically pull from her cold, dead talons. If nobody wants to kiss a clown, I'm sort of in trouble, because I'm basically a sex clown.
But even more than being annoyed by the implication that there's one right way to be sexy, I'm dubious that men have even the slightest idea what they're talking about when they say "no makeup." Most guys I've dated couldn't explain the difference between a skirt and a dress, so forgive me if I am hesitant to believe they fully grasp the uses and appearance of various cosmetics. In fact, I hypothesize that they actually don't know the difference between no makeup and natural-looking makeup.
Which is why these same dudes who prefer us make-up free can turn around and drool over the world's most beautiful models and actresses, not one of whom they've ever seen with a bare face.
And in the end that's what really, really pisses me off about the whole thing -- that we can read about how men don't like us to wear makeup on page 39, then turn to page 40 and see photos of gorgeous models who spent hours in the makeup chair or ads for the very same cosmetics we don't need.
It's the disconnect of being trained since birth to look a certain way, only to have dudes turn around and go, "Don't you know we hate all that stuff on your face?" Like it was our idea! Like women collectively woke up one day and thought, "Wouldn't it be awesome to slap a bunch of chemicals and dyes on our faces every morning from now on?"
We've got a multi-billion dollar industry doing their best to remind us daily that we need what they're selling, so don't act all befuddled about where we got the idea that we looked better this way. Plus, it's not like men don't still expect us to look beautiful. They just don't want us cheating with cosmetics. Hope your face is naturally flawless!
And while we're talking, don't you ladies know how annoying it is that you're all hung up on your weight? Sure, we expect you to have a great body. But don't be one of those lame girls who orders salads on a date. We like to see you eat!
Most of the time, when men say they prefer "natural beauty," they don't mean that they're ready for us to start leaving the house the way we roll out of bed in the morning. They mean that they want us to look perfect without appearing to try.
Basically, it's a trap.
And look, if you're a dude who is genuinely turned off by a made-up face, that's your business. You can't change your preference any more than I can suddenly become attracted to skinny dudes. But there are enough women out there who will fit your ideal that you don't need to go around sharing it with those of us who don't.
Because in the end, the only person we're obligated to please with what we put on our heads, bodies, or faces is ourselves. And while I'm aware that my mode of self-representation is often more impressive to women and gay men than the dudes interviewed in these kinds of features, I just can't stop being a big ol' larger-than-life, red-lipped Glamazon.
Luckily for me, some men DO want to kiss a clown.