keeping up the mystique

Friday, November 30, 2012

If you excuse me the long rambly post, I wanted to chat a bit about mystique. Or the lack there of, when it comes to your beauty routine, in a relationship.

India-Jewel (xojane) wrote a post recently talking about how for her, her extensive beauty routine would most definitely remain secret from any significant other ('How Much of Your Beauty Regimen Do You Hide From Your Partner?'). Rather than 'ruin the magic' she would keep up appearances because, well, that's what the other person was expecting when they started dating her right? Now originally reading this I didn't have much of a problem with her attitude because I have my own routine that I don't think is always the most flattering (skin masks anyone?) and if I don't feel all that cute covering up my zits then when would I let another person see all that? But ,as they often do, the comments below the article made me backtrack on some of my thoughts.

As someone's who not in a relationship it's hard for me to imagine my beauty routine as interesting per se, but according to a lot of people, men often view it that way (yes I recognize I'm generalizing, but I said I was responding to the comments ok?). I guess if I can visualize a relationship where each party finds the other sexy in sweats (a look I personally don't think is all that great on me), is it really that much of a step to see 'him' being ok with 'her' face being covered in green clay? I guess not, but it's a step. And in my brain I think I still see a difference between some admittedly goofy looking face treatment stuff and me putting on makeup. The eye work can be sexy, the application of false lashes can be different, but when I'm making my skin look like what I wish it could be? That is my covering my own insecurities and I don't think I'd want anyone witnessing it.

ooo sexy
Yes, yes I've read all about how men rarely - if ever - notice the differences in a woman's skin after applying makeup. But it almost doesn't matter if they notice because I notice, and the truth is I'm not doing it so much for them as I'm doing it for me. I guess that says it all now doesn't it? My routines are 90% for me, as I guess I've grown enough as an individual to care less what other people think. No I can't dye my hair purple because I work in an office and accept the limitations of that position, but when I'm doing my makeup I'm doing it so I feel pretty.

Except for those times I put on foundation to avoid those 'are you sick' comments. Fuck those guys. I'm not sick or tired, just slightly paler than I pretend to be. OK?!

Now India-Jewels progresses this argument to being akin to how once in a relationship she wouldn't be ok with 'letting herself go'. I admit to having my own judgey moments where I wish everyone would wear fun, comfortable, flattering clothing but even when I do that I can't help but acknowledge that my own use of the word flattering is subjective. That imaginary other person has no responsibility to me; they can wear whatever the heck they want to and I should keep my nosey nose out of it. I-J takes offense at one particular comment that looks to separate the two points and the whole reason for this post I guess is the fact that I agree with the commenter more than her. I-J choosing to judge the woman in sweats in Olive Garden as someone who's 'let herself go' should be recognized as subjective. I'm not saying she should immediately be perfect and never think badly of another person on the basis of looks ever, but there is, I feel, a separation between one's beauty routine and 'letting themselves go'. Each person has a different idea of how they think they look best and rather then undermining a solid article discussing her own choice when it comes to routines, I would have preferred she not gone the judgey route. I don't that being open about what you do to look/feel nice should be equated with 'letting yourself go'. If you feel good, your partner feels good, then everything's good right?*

What do you think? Would you hide your own beauty routine from a significant other? Do you ever find yourself judging others for 'letting themselves' go? I wanna know!

*I do not equate beauty routines with using the toilet. Sorry to let you down but I really really feel like the door should be closed for all that kind of business.

Kiko said...

I don't have a beauty routine so I'm not commenting on that part. Except to say that I don't think I'd be too comfortable just having someone - except perhaps my small child - just sitting there watching me. Because I get self conscious when people do that for any reason. Including dance, for more than the first time it takes to demonstrate. But on the second part...

I understand the criticism against "letting yourself go". I do take some issue with the idea that, once you have a SO, you don't have to be your best anymore. Sure, you may not have to try so hard all the time to impress someone.. but I refuse to do that anyway. I want someone to fall for me the way I am, no makeup and excessively rational/debate-prone and all. I don't want to fake who I am to get a guy. To some extent, though, we all do that - we try to come up with fun things to do together, we put thought into a birthday gift, whatever it may be. And yes, I do think it's bad to stop trying to be your best for each other or to do the most you can for each other just because you're stuck together now. That can include no longer bothering to dress in ways that even you feel prettier in, and just opting for comfy all the time even if you yourself doesn't think it's attractive. You can maybe let up in some ways, but I think it's often taken way too far, and that's part of what can kill a relationship. I agree with you, though, in saying that it's not for anyone else to say what that means in that particular relationship. We don't know the context of any particular incident, and we don't know how that relationship functions.

Now - I do judge people who come to court in ridiculous outfits. If you are trying to get the judge to think you are a good parent, please do not show up in court in a t-shirt with a marijuana leaf on it. Also, "dressing up" for court does not mean as many sequins as you can find in your closet, even if that works for "dressing up" for friday night. =P

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