What My Little Girl Taught Me About Makeup

6 years ago

If there is a gene for self-decoration, I don't have it.  I admire fashionable people.  I boggle at their creative abilities and the truly bizarre joy they derive from spending time and money in the seventh circle of Hell the mall.  I used to watch "Fashion File" every Sunday morning, could make educated commentary on a given designer's spring or fall collection, and could even pick out knock-offs walking down the street.

But I gave up pretending like I know how to dress myself years ago.  My husband is in charge of buying my underwear because, while I prefer to wear rather smallish bikini type panties, I inevitably bring home things that look like boldly printed pillow-cases with conveniently placed legholes.  I bought myself the wrong-sized bras for the better part of a decade.  Until the hubs picked one up for me on the way home from work and my outlook on life improved drastically.  And jeans?

It's probably better not to talk about it.  Let's just say that errors were made each time The Gap changed the cut and style of their jeans.  Very unfortunate errors.

I rarely wear makeup.  I have a haircut best suited to a quick rinse and a distracted tousle.  I have a rotating uniform composed of blue jeans and t-shirts, with a single pair of yoga pants or my beloved Prana cragging pants to keep me clothed on laundry day.  My feet wear sport socks, all-season loafers and Birkenstocks.  I do have a few dresses, a skirt, a pair of go-with-everything black pumps, some gold strappy sandals.  I am a girl.  Really!  It's just that decorating myself doesn't interest me much.  I mean, I like the idea of it.

I also like the idea of zip-lining through the Brazilian rain forest.  But I'm not going to do that every day, either.

Have I mentioned that I have a five-year-old daughter?

My daughter knows a lot of little girls whose mothers aren't like me.  Their mothers are stay-at-home mums with a full collection of immaculate Lulu's, who get their hair styled and coloured at least once a month, wear Tieks and Uggs, and never do the school run without make-up.  Danica finds them fascinating.  She watches them with the kind of interest a National Geographic explorer might reserve for a particularly rare and captivating butterfly.  They're so beautiful, Mummy! 

bright eyeshadows

Credit Image:Melissa Gray via Flickr

And their little girls have pierced ears, wear nail-polish on their fingers and toes, can lip-synch to Katy Perry and China Anne McClain, own more than three pairs of shoes, and have Barbie make-up compacts in their backpacks or on their dressers at home.  They have Barbies.  AND a collection of fairies and princesses and other non-Playmobil-looking things.

My daughter was at the Magic Mirror in the Disney Store last night, while a wonderful "Cast Member" scanned tag after tag to make each princess appear in the mirror for her.  When Danica told her she hadn't seen them before, you could've heard frickin' crickets chirping for the time it took that poor young woman to recover.


I'm not a big fan of Barbie.  Disney is a licensing machine that followed Lightning McQueen into our lives and will never leave again.  I've accepted it.  I know that little girls love to practice being grown-up ladies, and I am fully aware of the joy that a smear of lipstick and a tiara can give them.  It's magic.

I know.  Sort of.

One of my daughter's friends had lipstick on today, and I dealt with it poorly.

Danica: "She's wearing lipstick today!"

Me, sharply: "Well, that's her own mother's bad decision!"  FAIL.  I knew it was stupid and defensive the second it passed my lips.  Who am I to judge any mother's decisions for her daughter?  I mean, what is the harm in a little lipstick?  Right?

My daughter knows me well enough to leave it alone for awhile.  We got through our morning rush, she got off to school, and the five-man crew and I settled into our routine.  We were eating lunch together when she brought it up again, apologetically.  Worried that I was mad.

"It was probably just Chapstick, Mum.  No big deal, right?"

Me: "It could've been lipstick, too, honey.  It's okay."

Danica: "I'm not old enough to wear lipstick, though."

Me: "No, I don't think you are.  Maybe only for really special occasions."

Danica (grinning, now): "And nail polish!  Could I have nail polish on special occasions, too?"

Me (grinning back at her): "For sure, sweetheart.  We'll try to find some without any bad chemicals in it, okay?"

Danica: "Woot!"

Me: "It's just that you're so beautiful, you don't need lipstick or nail polish or any of that stuff.  You're so beautiful just as you are."

Danica: "Well, duh!  Makeup isn't for making me beautiful.  I'm already beautiful.  It's just for fun!"

Speechless, I focused on my food, took a sip of water.  Smiled wide and shook my head a little.  She's right, of course.  I told her so.  It is just for fun.  I mean, duh!  What I didn't tell her is how much she amazes me.  Every day.

I'm sure she's figured that one out on her own.


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