I'm the Worst: I Can't Leave the House Without Makeup

I blame Oklahoma.
Publish date:
June 15, 2011
makeup, insecurity

In Oklahoma, where I grew up, there is a time in a young girl's life more treasured even than her first road trip to Dallas to visit KT's Porn Barn and buy 6-point beer.

It's the day, usually around 13 or 14, when the Avon (knockoff) lady comes to your house and gives you a professional consult, showing you your correct shades of thick, gloppy foundation and four-color eyeshadow palettes and how to use them (hint: not sparingly).

And since that day, when that saintly woman showed me how to cover my own (dull, lifeless) face with a brighter, better, more waterproof face, I've never really gone back. Even after moving to NY and witnessing the easy, natural sophistication of leaving the house wearing a mere dollop of moisturizer. Even after hearing the "America's Next Top Model" axiom that has reverberated tellingly in my head ever since: "Makeup is for ugly girls." Still, I haven't gone a day without my foundation-powder-eyeshadow-eyeliner-mascara-blush-lipstick regime, even during a bout of pink-eye in college. (I just bought a new mascara I could infect and throw away.)

And hey, that's cool! We can all be different kinds of ladies, and I am the gobs-of-makeup kind, just like my patron saints Dolly Parton and the late Tammy Faye, whose names no one shall profane.

But what worries me a bit is the way I've felt the few times I've stepped foot outside my door without makeup, usually when I'm riding the train to the gym circa 6 a.m. I call it "putting my face on" because without out it I feel faceless, transperant, essentially unseeable. At some point, I started to see my made-up face as my default, like when I dyed my hair various shades of red for so many years that I started to sort of believe I was a redhead. Seeing my actual face is jarring -- That's what I look like?

I know this is lame. There is nothing wrong with my face. I think my little crinkly crow's feet are cute as hell. Like, there's a bitch who has done some smiling! See, here it is, all facealiscious and functional, never having been ripped off by a chimp or anything.

But ask me to leave the house like that and you might as well be tossing a kitten in the snow for as long as I'll last out there. Advice please. Should I wean myself off a product at a time, or go cold turkey? Or can I just continue to keep my naked face as a treat for my future husband? (Happy wedding night, my eyes aren't naturally smokey!)