On the days I don’t wear makeup and a guy smiles at me, I think, “Get it girl!” I can’t be bothered to do hairstyles or shave my last year legs. And yet, I am buying more makeup at 40 than a 20 yr. old stripper. I like the shiny things and the promises of packaging someone fought for in a design meeting. What if we were born wearing makeup? Would that then justify the paint job we leave on the dead as they are lowered into obscurity? Let’s be honest, it always looks bad, like a crack hooker who just can’t accept her social mortality. When even death is too ugly, out comes the paintbrush. Eternity demands a good foundation. It’s not coming off.
August 9, 2018
We age as the rest of the world watches, she thought, but somehow, we are the last to know.” –Dennis Lehane, Since We Fell, 2017
Recently, I was speeding through a suburb of Grand Rapids and noticed a fancy schmancy new construction in progress. Always hungry for a new restaurant to gorge myself on, I fantasized and drooled until I saw the large bold sign announcing it would be a plastic surgery center.
Disappointment fell on my face as I realized I was probably ugly to someone in addition to being fat by their standards. There was already a plastic surgery center in the same neighborhood. Is there ugly in the water?
I know women personally who have had “work done” as it is often phrased. My position has always been, well, it’s your money, but if it was mine, I’d buy a taco truck and my weight in coffee.
And yet, there is mounting pressure to mold yourself into an ideal vision at every turn in the digital age. The filters alone on SnapChat make me question why I can’t see your real face instead of looking into this big eye caricature of self.
Is this the new art? Would you call it art? I’m not sure anyone has. And yet, we are very open to body art right now as evidenced by the trends of rainbow hair, body piercings, and tattoos.
People of the future who dig up our graves and find this evidence will probably have more profound things to say about art of the body than I.
In the past few years, I have fallen into a bit of makeup obsession. I assign a lot of blame to my Instagram famous sister who is a beauty school graduate and cosmetic genius although eventually, I would have been lured by the siren of sweet marketing.
Is it the same for other body alterations? At what point are you drawn in to consider something as radical as surgery on your face? Sure, you could die in that moment of subconscious cutting, but isn’t it a worse crime to inflict your ugliness on society?
The fact that we put makeup on the dead seems to suggest we have trouble with that ultimate step from the path of life to the afterlife. We are not willing to look into the face of familiarity and gaze upon transition.
I’m willing to bet we fear death and ugliness equally. Death is ugly to us. It causes us to consider the end of our existence in such a final way that even religious and non-religious people in the U.S. seem to treat the corpse in the same manner.
The creation of a glitter encrusted casket was truly an eye rolling moment but you know, those bitches were trying to market the millenials into dressing up their descent into something fabulous. Even when you’re dead, at least people will think you are fucking cool even if you can’t be there to see their shock and awe.
It is truly personal what you do to your face or body and not really anyone’s business. Whether cultural, religious, or trendy, it makes some people happy to have some control in how they look. For the same reason, people will wear Crocs and bitch, I never understood that shit.
So, turn the other butt cheek the next time you see a new Ulta or plastic surgery center rising out of the ashes of corporate stardom; we made this shit.