Monday, February 25, 2008

The Makeup Conundrum

I know the New York life is hectic and maybe to a greater degree frenetic for many. I mean we are always running; work, school, more work, the kids, the laundry, the pet, the spouse, significant other, boyfriend, girlfriend, (some serious juggling here), more work. I mean endless running. Who needs a gym? Seriously. So insignificant activities like let’s see, putting on makeup often gets done on the run; in the car (often whilst driving) and for many, on the train.

In this city that never sleeps, we are decidedly unabashed, unfazed and fearless. Most of all very little surprise us, but many things fascinate us--like an intense makeup (I mean beauty) session on the train. I know, many of you thought “of the sexual kind,” and I am sure that happens too. But no, a lot of women get their “glam,” on during their commute. So, my ever so frequent makeup lesson continues ad nauseam on the A train. Let me share this grossly, ghastly, over-the top display with you. Good thing I started this blog.

Now this skill requires deft, skill and a healthy dose of confidence (maybe slight narcissism). The young lady has clearly planned out this daily regimen. I mean she comes packing some; (serious make-up kit), armed and ready. By the time she gets to my stop, she’s already in full throttle: the canvas, err; I mean face is already primed and ready for paint. The foundation is already on; the eyeliner lines thick and full. Many back and forth motions with the pencil clearly took place (don’t poke your eye out). The eye shadow is an endless series of swaths from corner to corner. I am thinking, aren’t your hands tired? Aren’t you a wee-bit self conscious? I mean I would be. I clearly lack the mettle for this kind of thing.

Now after this exhaustive bit, I know what’s coming next, (of course, remember I see this every morning). It’s the eyelash sweep, better known as mascara time. It’s upsweep, upsweep, upsweep; too many repetitive motions to list. Now that makes my eyelids flutter—better mine than hers, right. We don’t want to see her blinded by this action, now do we? By this time, panda eyes are weighty, dark and weighty. But the work in progress is carefully examined in the hand-held mirror. Check, check, check; expression says, “I’m satisfied with the work so far.” So she whips out the blush-brush, a few strokes on the cheeks, then lip-gloss on pouty lips; a careful moisturizing of skilled hands with sweet-smelling fragranced stuff, a reach for what I think is fake magazine read, and finally, makeup session‘s over.

What do we do after this display (performance)? Should we continue to ignore her? Well I can’t claim to have. Do we applause? Take out our digital cameras, cell phones and click away? But something tells me this was not for us, not about us, and if I should guess, we were not even there. Her focus is too unflinching. I am left to wonder, did she take a shower on the train? Just asking.

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