Would You Curl Your Hair In Public?

Or clip your cuticles? Pluck your eyebrows? When it comes to public grooming, I want to know where you draw the line.
Publish date:
April 30, 2012
beauty etiquette, hair curling, beauty rituals, public grooming

Waves in transit

I spotted this woman at a Connecticut train station over the weekend. Even though there was a restroom right behind her fully equipped with electrical outlets (I checked), she chose to curl her hair out in the crowded main concourse.

Grooming etiquette is hazy territory. From nail clipping on the subway to teeth flossing at restaurants (yes, I've seen this) everyone seems to have a different threshold for public preening. Plus, people are pressed for time, which means private rituals like cuticle nipping (shudder) and hair curling sometimes happen in unlikely places.

For me, certain things on the public beautification spectrum are unavoidable. I will always apply some kind of lip balm ever hour or so because my lips are relentlessly dry and if I don't reapply gloss or whatever I start licking my lips LL Cool J-style. Great for him, gross on me.

I'm also guilty of treating my desk like a personal beauty station on certain days under the probably misguided assumption that people around me understand what I'm doing is part of my job. It's gotten to a point where other girls in the office join in the deskside beautification too, requesting hair styling and makeup application before leaving for the night.

In my humble opinion, all beauty things should be done behind closed doors, and I really want to be better about this. Mainly because of something I read in Talking the Winner's Way by Leil Lowndes -- one of my favorite Cat Marnell book recommendations. There's a whole section detailing how unprofessional public grooming is. I don't have the passage here in front of me, but the takeaway is winners don't tend to themselves in public. Remember when Angelina Jolie applied lip gloss at the 2011 Golden Globes? She had presumably let her guard down and was being a human, not a powerful movie star.

OK tell me, have you ever groomed yourself in public? If so, what were the circumstances? Where do you draw the line on open beautification? Do you dare me to try a whole range of beauty treatments out in New York City and see how people react?

Follow Julie on Twitter @JR_Schott.