I didn’t exactly grow up as a girly girl.
I didn’t enjoy dressing up or trying on my mother’s heels or her make-up. I basically just played around (rough-housing, even) and enjoyed being a kid. I just ran around with my friends and cousins, playing tag or langit lupa oragawang base. My after-school activities involved a lot of dirt and a few scratches here and there from sneaking in and playing where I wasn’t supposed to go.
My mom used to scold me for refusing to dress appropriately for school events that require parental presence. I just don’t see the point. She would have to resort to scolding and bribing and even corporal punishment for me to get ready.
That sweet set-up didn’t change much when I started high school.
I think, in general, high school meant social experimentation – social drinking, smoking, make-up, dating, etc. I’ve never really experimented on make-up or dating, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that I did not enjoy dressing up or putting a lot of effort into my looks. I just went to school, ruffled the some authoritarian feathers here and there, and laughed with my friends. Dances and proms weren’t really my thing. It’s just something I have to dress up for. I mostly looked forward to the “after party.”
Attending the country’s premier university didn’t really help with my looks, either. In a university where you can show up in class wearing your pambahay (house clothes), which you wore the night before in your dorm room, wouldn’t really instill any additional “womanly skills” such as putting on make-up or planning a wardrobe.
Even after I joined the corporate world, I still did not learn any womanly grooming techniques that most ladies have already mastered in high school. I joined and embraced a company that didn’t have a dress code, so I basically showed up at work just wearing a shirt and a pair of shorts. My footwear collection comprised of flip-flops and when I feel like dressing up, I swing for the proverbial flats.
To be honest, I would describe myself as a “selective feminist” (actual feminists, please don’t stone me). Selective because I am strongly against typecasting women because of their looks. So, I didn’t really see the point of dressing up or painting my face just for the sake of looking more attractive. Does attractiveness make you more productive? More competent? More effective? Actually, there might be a scientific study about that in some ivy-covered hallowed hall somewhere. But my point is: I don’t have to look beautiful to do my job well. And also, I’m too lazy to dress up and wake up a little earlier just to have enough time to put on some make-up.
But three months ago, things started to change. I’m still against judging women based on their looks (except maybe in a beauty contest), but I am now in love with make-up.
I still work in a company with no dress code, but now I go to work in Makati, the country’s most prominent business district. My mom, sister, and girl friends often tell me that I should start putting on some make-up because now I work in Makati. At first, I was adamantly against it. I got this job even without make-up during my interviews, why start painting my face now?
Eventually, they wore me down.
I decided to seek help from my officemate who sells a famous make-up brand (*cough* Avon! *cough*). My love affair started with natural-toned pressed powder, which made my pores and facial blemishes disappear with just a few strokes. My face, right before my very eyes, became brighter, clearer, and radiated a more natural glow instead of my usual pale or pasty or oily complexion. I honestly could not believe how a simple swipe erased my facial imperfections (do we have pressed powder for the soul?).
Then I tried on some lipstick. With expert guide from my officemates, I chose a reddish-orange hue, which they said would compliment my fair-to-beige skintone (depending on my mode of transportation that day). I chose a color called “Lucky Orange,” which proved to be really lucky indeed. The shade worked really well with my complexion, almost as if I’m not wearing lipstick. At first, I just dabbed the tip on my lips, making sure I don’t put on too much for the fear of looking gorish, but then I learned the art of sweeping your lipstick across your lips to make them look more plump and kissable. I now have three tubes of lipstick varying hues of orange and red for any time of the day. I just love how it transforms my face from “I couldn’t care less about how I look” to “don’t hate me ‘cause I’m beautiful.”
Then, to complete my make-up starter kit, I raided the mall for some blush (with no less than my boyfriend in tow). I settled for the most expensive blush I can afford (well, more like the one I decided was worth it) and it make me look sunkissed – as if I just spent an afternoon frolicking under the sun and my cheeks can’t help but radiate with a pinkish-reddish hue, ready to beguile any unwitting human (okay, maybe that’s a bit too much).
I am currently contemplating on taking my make-up skills to the next level: eye make-up. If only I could get over my fear of accidentally poking my eye out with my eyeliner or mascara.
In the past three months, I learned that women shouldn’t be judged based on how they look, but if they truly enjoy dressing up and dolling up, then there’s nothing in the world that should stop them. I think beauty really is subjective – it depends on how you see yourself.
If a little blush here and a little lipstick there will help make you feel like you can take on the world, then go ahead, girl! Paint the town red! …or lucky orange, whatever compliments your skintone.