Still baring her biscuity visage to the world, this week Pippa Evans has to very patiently explain why wearing makeup isn’t about attracting suitors to a bloke who thinks “I still would!” is some kind of compliment.
A man in the park offered me the chance to give him a blow job and I didn’t have make up on. Is that a win? (I declined, politely. Not very politely.)
Wearing makeup to attract a mate is in some cases true, but that it’s the sole reason is total bollocks. Makeup is a source of comfort, of pride, a weapon in our armoury, a part of a ritual that says, “The day has begun!” Few women wake up every single morning thinking, “Best get the tinted moisturiser on – I want to get laid!”
I was chatting to a guy on the train. Chatting to people is one of my greatest skills. Plonk me down next to a stranger and I will start talking. I love stories, love hearing about other people’s lives. I am nosey. Sometimes, however, a certain breed of man assumes that talking to them means we’ll probably have sex later.
The man on the train seemed very nice: worked in “Finance” (and like most people who work in “Finance” refused to elaborate on what that actually means – the enigma continues), loved Scotland (voted No) and then we got onto this project. Once I had explained that I wasn’t wearing makeup for 100 days he said: “I love a woman who can make me laugh. Appearance isn’t important.”
I replied that was very noble but probably bullshit – at least in the first instance. We are none of us immune to a hottie.
I added the project wasn’t about getting men to fancy me without makeup, but rather seeing how not wearing it affected my self-confidence. Seeing if I noticed any difference in the way I was treated in the world at large and in my own little bubble.
“But the only reason women wear makeup,” he said, “is to be attractive to the opposite sex.”
“No,” I replied, twitching with that weird WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! rage that sometimes cascades over me, “…that is one reason some women wear makeup. Most women wear makeup to present the world with the person that they want the world to see. Just as we don’t start a meeting with, ‘Hi, I’m going through a divorce and haven’t slept for months’, nor do we want our face to give that away. Makeup is a tool.”
After a brief moment of silence, Finance looked up at me from his M&S sandwich and said: “Well, just so you know – I still would.”
At which point I moved train seats. As a heterosexual woman, married to a super guy who treats everyone he meets with the same level of kindness and respect, I have to say that some blokes are total dicks.
It’s a shame, really, that men that don’t get to work with makeup, which is such a fantastic product. Or if they do, they get ridiculed. Makeup allows us to present a version of ourselves that, sometimes, we didn’t even know existed: sexy vixen; slick business woman; natural beauty; wild child – we can create new and different versions of ourselves. Choose which of our personality traits to draw upon on any particular day. For many women, makeup is empowering.
This experiment, I am slowly figuring out, is about whether that balance of power is with us or with the makeup industry. My fear is that as long as the makeup industry tells us that we are not good enough without the makeup, that makeup becomes something we have to have for that self-confidence, rather than something that gives us a boost. Cocaine instead of a cuddle.
Biscuit I most resembled this week: Jammy Dodger (weird red bits around my nose. Possibly from excessive exfoliation. Note to self – just because I can’t use concealer doesn’t mean I should try to sand my face down).
Time I spent actually worrying about not wearing makeup: Not much actually. Monday I had a script read-through with a lot of producer types and felt like everyone was looking at me, but actually they weren’t. In said environment, that’s probably worse.
How many people have asked if I am ok/ill/tired: Still no one. I shall take a celebratory picture of the first person.
Next week: Meeting a makeup expert extraordinaire – without any makeup on.
Pippa Evans is a comedian, improviser and the co-founder of Sunday Assembly. She lives in London.