"What is that?" My husband asked, as I grabbed my purse and slipped on my shoes.
"What are you talking about?" I asked in return, knowing full well what he was talking about.
"On your face. What’s on your face?" He peered at me.
I sighed. 'It’s makeup, Chris. Surely you’ve heard of women wearing such things."
"Oh," said my husband, good-naturedly, as we walked out the door, "It looks weird."
I know that most women would not appreciate their partner telling them that they looked weird as they were headed out the door to meet friends, but this? This I did to myself.
When I met my husband, I was 24 years old and fresh from having spent a year on a communal farm in Israel. Prior to that, I was a hippie/punk/feminist/undergrad and nowhere, in my vast repertoire of interesting ways I was spending my time, did a makeup case ever come into play. I had been studying Emma Goldman, not Estee Lauder, and learning how to apply sustainable farming practices, not eye shadow.
Even as a teenager, makeup was something I had just never really learned how to do, so I just learned to do without it. I was young, tanned and readjusting to urban life when I met my husband, and he fell in love with me au natural. Sure, I might have spruced things up now and then with a bit of mascara or lip gloss, but in general, my husband was not used to seeing me spend any time on a makeup ‘regime.’
He has told me on many occasions that when he looks at my – or any woman’s – face, he likes to see my face. He’s not in the least bit controlling about such things, just states it as a simple personal preference, the way I might simply state that I prefer that he – or any man – cleans the litter box instead of me, or that he – or any man – not bedazzle their pants with their clipped-on Blackberry.
As the years have progressed, however, so has the need for a little… help. I guess I must be doing something right, because Chris has never mentioned the cover-up I now use to hide 5 years of interrupted sleep, or the blush I may now put on to detract from the crow’s feet appearing around my eyes. It’s true, my makeup bag is an old Robeez case, but I am getting savvier at the use of makeup as camouflage.
As for the fact that my husband thinks I look weird when I up the ante and put on a little eye shadow or lipstick? Well, I’ll take that as a sign that when he looks at me, he does not see me as an aging mom, struggling to retain some youth, but as the fresh thing he fell in love with.
And that feeling is the best kind of foundation I could ever put on.