Make-up or no make-up?

Occasionally I decide to do some baking, and when I do, I like to shut myself in the kitchen and catch up with some radio programmes. This afternoon I was listening to Womans hour on BBC iPlayer. As often happens, I heard part of a programme and found my mind drifting. There were two women debating the use of make-up. The presenter told us that both women looked beautiful, and that one of them was wearing full make-up, whilst the other wore no make-up at all.

The woman who was made up said she doesn’t even let her husband see her without make-up. She felt it was a respect thing to always look the best she could for other people, and that it was true for men as well. She felt we’d have less respect for President Obama if he wasn’t wearing a beautiful suit, and he hadn’t bothered to shave.

The other woman said that she felt sure that most people would like to be respected for how they actually were than because they were always looking beautifully turned out.

As a woman who rarely wears make up, my initial reaction was to side with the unmade up woman. It isn’t that I’m so confident about my looks that I feel I don’t need make-up. It isn’t even that I’m 63 now, so I don’t feel I have to bother. I didn’t really bother with make-up when I was young and wrinkle free. It was simply that I didn’t really ever think about it much. 

Recently we were at home waiting for some guests to arrive for dinner. I was all ready, I’d had a shower, washed, dried, and straightened my hair, and had put on a nice skirt and top. Five minutes before they were due, I suddenly realised I hadn’t even considered make-up, and I rushed upstairs to put some on. Obviously not a lot…I was back downstairs when our friends arrived. When I think about why I did that, it was definitely out of respect for our guests. I knew that they would be nicely dressed and that the woman would be wearing make-up, and that they would have made the effort because they were coming to see us.

I don’t know why wearing make-up should signify a respect for others rather than being a self centred thing, but I think it does in a lot of cases. If you’re in the public eye in any way, even as a receptionist, the fact that you make the effort to look nice gives a good impression.

My husband sometimes doesn’t always shave if we’re staying at home, but will always shave if we’re going out, and I appreciate that. It shows a respect for me.

Recently I had a hospital appointment. I don’t know why the doctor was beautifully dressed and had perfect make-up. I suspect that she just enjoys them, but the impression she gave was of an immaculate woman with an attention to detail that would cross over to her work. She looked professional, from her lovely hair right down to her very expensive stilettos, and I felt an immediate trust in her. Would I have felt the same had I been confronted by someone like the person I see in the mirror in the morning? I don’t know. Probably not immediately, but I think possibly after a conversation. The point is, that doctor’s appearance gave me an immediate trust in her. Had the tables been turned, it would have been a while before she had got the measure of me, and perhaps conceded that make-up was not that important.

And as for President Obama? It wouldn’t matter how charismatic he was, if he was scruffy even his biggest supporters would have doubts about what he was telling them. In his case, appearance does matter.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: