Last night I went to Ulta and bought some new makeup. The last time I went to Ulta was when I was in high school, and my mom asked me to go pick something up for her (cuticle clippers, if I remember correctly, which I assure you I do). Recently, I've been meaning to go to pick up some new makeup, especially after reading this.
The last time I bought any new makeup (besides, you know, mascara) was last May in Paris, where my sister and I spent a good two hours at the giant Sephora on Champs-Élysées, trying on different nail polishes, lip glosses, perfume, eyeshadow, and every other makeup-y type item you can imagine. It's one of the best memories I have of Paris (with apologies to the Louvre).
Anyway, so, with a desperate need and want for new makeup, I was pretty darn jazzed to open the mailbox yesterday and find two coupons to Ulta inside. One was a "Buy $10, get $3.50 off" and one was a "Come to our store and get four free gifts; no purchase necessary." Life was rocking. I got my four free things and also bought some lipstick and eyeshadow.
And now, I'm going to get defensive and such: I know that sometimes there is a little bit of a stigma against being "high-maintenance." I don't want to be high-maintenance; I don't want to be the kind of girl who needs two hours in the morning to put on my makeup. And yet, and yet. . .
I like looking good. I feel better about myself when I'm wearing something nice, or when I can leave the house at a moment's notice and not worry about not having brushed my teeth, my hair, or my eyelashes. I feel better when I get up, shower, put on makeup and do my hair, rather than hanging around in my pajamas all day, even if I have no plans to go anywhere or see anyone. And, I enjoy putting on makeup and making myself look pretty.
I wear makeup everyday. I always do my hair. I try to wear some sort of jewelery most days. I repaint my toenails frequently. I also read a lot, write, cook, make friends, learn new skills, and otherwise try to improve my mind. I'm tired of the idea that brains and a nice physical appearance are mutually exclusive. One of my favorite professors in the world told me that when he first saw me in an intro level history class, he thought "she looks like a very nice girl, but not terribly bright." I wasn't at all offended by that because, "hey, I look 'nice'" and also, well, I sure do love that professor, so he could say what he wanted (and also, I know he was right - that's very much how I look; then I open my mouth and wow people with my vast brain(Ha!)).
Good looks and brains are not mutually exclusive, and I don't think girls should have to apologize for taking care of themselves, as if that somehow makes them less credible or more flighty. You always hear that dumb saying about "not judging a book by its cover," but usually that just means that you shouldn't judge someone just because they are ugly or overweight or have tattoos or greasy hair or dress in all black or what have you. But is it okay to judge someone for looking presentable and well-dressed? And, political correctness aside, people will judge you. It's just the way it is. And I'd like to make a good impression.
I would never apologize for trying to look my best for a job interview. Few women would apologize for trying to look good for a date or for their significant other. And I will not apologize for trying to look good for myself. I care about what I look like. Period. It doesn't matter to me if no one else sees me - I get satisfaction out of looking in the mirror and seeing myself looking good. I enjoy taking care of myself, and I do not believe there is any reason to be embarrassed about that.
It does not make me less smart, less nice, less worthwhile because I choose to spend some of my money on makeup or spend part of my morning putting that makeup on my face. It just makes me nicer-looking.