Read more from Sable on xoVain!
All right, is everyone done freaking out about Beyoncé’s new piece de resistance of an album yet? That’s like asking a 7-year-old girl if she’s done playing with the unicorn she got for Christmas. The answer is no. The answer will probably be no indefinitely. Forever, no.
Did you download Bey’s whole album from iTunes? Or did you search tirelessly through bit torrents for some free pirating (no judgments)? The latter will find that it was actually IMPOSSIBLE, which does not surprise me because if you told me Beyoncé ran the Internet I would believe you.
After dissecting Bey’s videos, which possess nearly the conceptual breadth and multidimensional savvy of Vogue’s September issue, my personal favorite was "Pretty Hurts" (also my fave song on the album). Why? The story! The social commentary! The beauty pageantry!
I mean, that part with the model coach slapping his grubby mitts all over Beyoncé’s heavenly jambons, like, “You gotta get rid of all this thick!” -- made my eyes water and my hackles rise, just saying.
Of the many many looks Beyoncé was throwing us throughout her opus, we at xoJane chose the following look as our newest Beauty Dare. It’s basically the Regina George boob-cut-outs of beauty looks. I mean, if Beyoncé is doing it, we probably will all be doing it eventually.
The regular makeup is pretty simple. I used the lightest sky blue in this Wet’n’Wild Fergie “Photo OP” eyeshadow palette. Then I traced an elongated cat-eye with Kat Von D’s tattoo liner. With budge-proof liquid liner pens like this, it helps if you trace the shape first before filling it in completely to nix oopses before you make them.
I added a swipe of Buxom’s lip gloss in White Russian for the pale pink lip and that’s pretty much it for the “normal” stuff. Buxom makes a waterproof eyeliner that is pretty great in terms of opacity, it’s like putting coal on your face in a convenient pencil applicator. I had to be really careful about not touching my face and accidentally smudging it though.
After my face was applied, Olivia and I got together on a sunny post-snow Sunday in Brooklyn to walk around and see what happened. We decided on doing all the lazy Sunday afternoon activities one does. Shopping! Eating! Gawking! Olivia and I agreed that it’s enough to make us never want to leave our homes. But since I’m so freaking hip and NEED to be a trend-setter sporting a popular of-the-minute music video’s look, I, too, dragged around like, “Look at my face but don’t make eye contact with me!” I had errands to run anyway.
THE HEALTH FOOD STORE
First stop was Khim’s Millennium Mart, the ubiquitous Brooklyn chain of overpriced health food stores. I browsed the aisles relatively undisturbed. I vacillated between Annie’s Real Aged Cheddar microwaveable mac-n-cheese and the white cheddar alternative. I took a penny, left a penny.
As soon as we stepped outside and walked past a sidewalk sale of old CD’s, assorted dinnerware and household knick-knacks, an old Polish man leaned over asking, “Is that a tattoo?” I briefly entertained the thought of saying yes, but judging by his hardened face and faded hand tatts, I was not about to get wrapped up in a conversation about my face decor just yet.
A few blocks later, I had almost forgotten that I had weird stuff on my face until Olivia would point out here and there all the weird looks I was getting from passersby.
“That dude legit checked you out,” she snickered. Meanwhile, his lady friend gave me the stinkiest of stink-faces as she tapped her cigarette, annoyed. Smoking in the winter must be very vexing.
I was feeling mildly self-conscious but sported an aura of steely confidence as I stared straight ahead, walking tall. Occasionally I would catch a few questionable glances, for which I was glad Olivia was around to chat to, lest I break down in nervous anxiety and start shrieking and pointing wildly at everyone, “IT’S YOUR SOUL THAT NEEDS THE SURGERY! AND YOUR SOUL! AND YOUR SOUL!” And so on and so forth.
We popped into my local haunt, Videology, for a sip and to say hello to my pal, Jesse, who hosts their weekly Star Trek marathon every Sunday afternoon.
I plunked down at that bar and demanded a seltzer, my drink of choice. The dude next to me in a backward cap and thin metal-framed glasses inquired, “So are you like doing some Face Off thing?”
“Yeah, totally, just 86ing the whole thing,” I replied, “I’m just so tired of this face, it’s all gotta go.”
He shrugged. “Eh, worked for Nicholas Cage.”
THE FLEA MARKET
After a quick drink, Olivia and I sauntered back outside and went to the Brooklyn Flea, which is in this warehouse space on N5th and Wythe for the winter. I hadn’t been there in a long while but still enjoyed browsing the vintage they’ve got going on. Plus, Olivia was in need of some new sunglasses for her trip to Cali.
Unsatisfied with the selection, we made our way to Artists & Fleas, another vintage-laden market in the neighborhood. They also have an impressive spread of independent jewelry designers. I found myself drawn to this table of gemstone necklaces and bracelets -- and as it happened, the lady running the booth asked me immediately what the deal with my face was. It’s a conversation starter, if nothing else.
“Oh, have you heard of an artist named Beyoncé?” I coyly asked.
“Yes, I’ve heard of Beyoncé,” she laughed.
I told her it was a look from one of Beyoncé’s new album’s videos and she listened intently, smiling at me the way a distant great aunt smiles at you when you tell her you’re majoring in experimental performance art with a minor in poetry -- like, good for you, one day you’ll find yourself, hopefully.
A strange phenomenon happened whenever someone would call me out and ask me what the deal was with my face-- my voice would get slightly higher pitched, all of my sentences would end on an upwards inflection and my vowels would become elongated, like some Ivy League valley girl -- I know words, I just sound like I don’t? I was becoming “the face” or whatever my brain’s perception is of how “the face” would talk. Give a man a mask, they say.
Olivia and I left A&F empty-handed and decided to stop for a coffee break around the corner. The alt barista stared quizzically at me as if I was playing a joke on her.
“I’m just curious,” she prefaced, “Do the markings on your face symbolize anything?”
I likened her question to what people probably ask her all the time about her tattoos (which is part of the reason I haven’t gotten any -- I’d get real sick of having to explain them/myself to people all the time). Sorry, cutie, I can’t tell you that this means anything other than BEYONCÉ. She was not familiar with the video I painted my face in reference to, but said she’d look it up when she got home. I hope, for her sake, she does.
After coffee, we headed out and parted ways. The sky had become overcast and gray and the wind was actually unbearable. I made it back to my apartment, un-harassed. In NYC, it seems like everyone is use to seeing freaks walking around so people rarely blink twice. However, given a pause, folks will often take no time asking what’s up if you’ve got a dotted line framing your face.
The weirdest part for me was how I behaved like some personality ambassador for “the face” as soon as I started talking about it. Who is this girl with a dotted-line on her face who is so eager to please and live up to society’s unachievable beauty standards? Does anyone care?
Olivia was telling me I was getting a lot “oh, you poor thing” looks of compassion from people but I was too busy avoiding eye contact to see. They probably thought I had just come from a cosmetic surgery consultation or maybe fell asleep at the party with my shoes on.
Beyoncé, you have shed a harsh light on what all those other modeling documentaries on Netflix that I’ve been consuming could only partially grab of my attention. Given how much the public eye scrutinizes her, she addresses it with the grace of a British Royal. I hope you’re happy with all your success, Bey. You’re making people all over the world happy and once again, starting an outrageous trend that could really catch on.