Okay…so go with me. This whole thing has thrown me into a space of observing. I am not reacting nor “proacting” to anything going on around me…just listening and watching.
Funny…everyone (I mean this literally) who has crossed my path today has made mention of “The Naked Face Project.” Because I am a Charlotte native and because of my work with Girls on the Run, people GET it. They understand that my intention is not to “pick sides” but to create (as we do at Girls on the Run) a safe space for dialogue around issues that matter.
Which leads me to an entirely different question. As one fabulous woman wrote me yesterday (you can see her comment on the previous piece) Who cares? Why does this matter? Something about this seems ridiculous.
First of all…I know for sure that this won’t matter to everyone. Women who don’t ever wear make up will probably not be interested in the conversation and that’s totally cool…but those of us who do…there is something weird and uncomfortable about this ”mattering.”
Let me share a quick story. My son is 16 and has this propensity to wear his jeans pretty low on his hips. So low in fact that his boxers are frequently peeking out from the top of them. The other day we were heading to a doctor’s appointment and I kindly asked him to “Please pull up your pants.”
His response. “It doesn’t matter if I wear my pants like this.”
My response back to him…”Well if it doesn’t matter then you won’t mind pulling them up will you?”
I feel the same way about this experience. If make up didn’t matter then going without it wouldn’t be a big deal…the conversation wouldn’t matter and like I said…for those of you who don’t wear make up…this whole conversation probably DOESN’T matter…but for those of us that do…the ensuing dialogue on it mattering feels awkwardly important.
This morning at the gym I was approached by a well-known Charlotte business woman. She quietly pulled me to the side, in the locker room. ”This whole conversation has me totally on edge. I’m successful in my career…accomplished in my field…and tied to my made-up face. I can’t imagine walking into a professional setting without it. How can that be? I can conduct board meetings, stand before our employees, navigate any intellectual conversation within the area of my expertise, but the thought of going naked faced…terrifies me. I worry that I will not be taken seriously…and worse yet…that I will be passed over for someone else. Something as silly as whether I wear make-up or not shouldn’t matter that much.”
Today at lunch I went to our local Y to eat in their “home-cooking” cafeteria. Charlotte’s business leaders congregate here for great food, good talk and lively dialogue at the “round table.” The wooden round table sits approximately 18 people, mostly men in their late 40′s to mid 70′s. I sit at this table everytime I am there. I love to participate in the debates that occur here. The round table is safe…politics, religion, “family values,” nothing is off limits. Respect for varying viewpoints lives here.
Today…all of the men were laughing with me about the project…doling out the much-deserved ribbing. Many began their “take” on it by suggesting that the project had nothing to do with them.
One man in his late 60′s spoke up. “I’ve always thought that women who were without make up were absolutely beautiful. To me…the most beautiful woman pulls back her hair to reveal the complexities of her naturally beautiful face.”
(About 9 of the men at the table were listening in.)
Today there was one other woman at the table…and she was in her late 60′s…early 70′s. “I don’t know. Lipstick can really make a woman’s eyes pop. I’ve told some of my friends that they really need to add lipstick to their daily beauty habits…to improve their appearance.”
I loved listening to the two of them talk. They were actively engaged in a dialogue on our cultural views on beauty. Even better, they eventually got into the conversation of relationships, sexuality and power. The whole thing was absolutely fascinating. I got pulled into a nother conversation before they finished. I don’t know how it ended.
But I do know I’ll just keep listening, observing and being in the space.
I do have to report a couple of housekeeping items. (These are absolutely of no specific interest to the bigger conversation, but just amusing outcomes of going without my daily “beauty habits.”)
Deodorant is back on my “have-to” list. For me deodorant is a hygiene issue. Go ahead and laugh…but I just didn’t know that I could “stink” so much!
My eyelashes are almost invisible they are so light. I had no idea that my eyelashes were so close to blonde. They are also very thin. I’m beginning to like the way my eyes look without the make up. My eyes look very kind and tender…I think.
And my legs itch…not because they are dry…but because of the stubble. The stubble bothers me the most when I’m trying to sleep. Funny to become THAT aware of my legs. I do have to admit though…that…just like a kid, I’m really loving this experience and delighting in all this new and entertaining information my body is giving me!
This is really hysterical…oh Lawd. What have I gotten into… From stubble to power.