Sharing one bathroom (well, there’s a small half bath in the basement, but it seems to be used only in case of emergency) in our family can lead to some hard questions from the kids. Like this one this morning, as I was getting ready for work while Perpetual Motion Boy (6) came in to brush his teeth.
[staring at the wonder that is the eyeliner pencil]
PMB: Mom, what are you doing?
Me: Putting on make-up, honey.
PMB: Why do you have to do that?
Me: I don’t have to do it, love. I choose to do it. See, I put it right here on my eyelids.
PMB: But why would you do that?
See? Hard questions. At this point I paused to think of exactly how to answer this one. Before I came up with the answer, PMB was, in usual fashion, done brushing his teeth and gone in a flash. I still contemplated, though, what exactly I should say. Do I think it makes me more beautiful? Well, even if I did, that is certainly not something I want to teach my young son! He considers me the most beautiful woman there is, and I do not want to change that quite yet.
So, my answer, if this question ever is asked again, might go something more like this:
Me: Well, I wear make-up as a kind of conformity to some arbitrary standard of beauty, that says women with unadorned faces are somehow inferior in beauty. It makes me, in some ways, look younger. And our society puts a large emphasis on this type of beauty.
Sounds a bit ridiculous, huh? I can’t see myself going without makeup to work anytime soon, but sometimes I think I should. What exactly do I want my children to grow up and believe about women? That a beautiful woman is one with makeup perfectly applied? That a professional woman must wear makeup to work, conform to a certain unspoken standard?
Maybe we just need our own bathroom.