The Black Lash Backlash

My boys’ battle to keep their little sister from growing up continues its tireless and frustrating path.

With the two oldest off at college, Bodie now soldiers on alone, at home. However, it turns out his cause may yet take on a national scope.

Consider this recent scenario. During dinner, Bodie glances at Pea and notices her long, full lashes. “Pea, are you wearing MAKEUP?” he asks, not so gingerly.

photoHe reaches over, pinches her lashes between his thumb and forefinger, gives a good yank and examines the residue. “See? My fingers are BLACK! That means you’re wearing mascara,” he shouts.

“I just wear a little bit,” my eighth-grade girls replies.

“You shouldn’t be wearing ANY makeup,” Bodie advises. “You’re too young.”

Pea takes another bite of pasta to avoid a reply. So, I come to her rescue, more or less. “Bodie, what are you going to do next year, when Pea is with you in high school?” I ask. “Do you expect her to go make-up free then?”

Yes,” he says. “And when I drive her to school, I’m going to keep a sponge in the car so I can wipe her makeup off.”

“You know, Bodie, lots of girls who are forbidden to wear makeup just put it on in the school bathroom,” I suggest.

“Okay, so I’ll get Pea’s class schedule and follow her around school with my sponge,” he asserts.

Glad he has that one figured out. And, fortunately, Bodie may find support in his make-up free crusade.

Although check-out line tabloids routinely splash “shocking” “stars without makeup” photos across their pages, in an effort to debase the celebrities’ beauty-queen status, some models have begun championing the natural look.

In fact, last week the New York Times Style Magazine ran an article subtitled, in part, “A face without makeup looks wholesome and shows confidence.”

Rachel R. White’s article mentions that at the recent 2014 collection runway shows, “There was little or no makeup… with models channeling the confident girl who’s too cool to care.”

White quotes Tatcha skin-care founder Victoria Tsai, who notes that models have realized, “When you step out from that veil of makeup, you are inviting people to look at you as a person.”

I think we all should give ourselves permission to do that — at least from time to time.

However, the article cautions, the look only works for those who have taken great care of their skin, with sunscreens and expensive lotions. I guess it’s too late for those of us who slathered on baby oil and sunned ourselves with aluminum-foil-covered record albums.

Tsai points out that in Asia, where the “no-makeup trend” has existed for quite a while, “They spend more money on skin care and less on makeup.”

I definitely fall into that camp (witness my recent Orogold bill), and hopefully my daughter has grown up believing, as I do, that “less is more” when it comes to face paint. Thankfully, my husband agrees.

The general public may have started to climb on board. Last week, my kids’ former nanny Sara Bradley-King Compaglia  posted a Facebook link to Karen Alpert’s Baby Sideburns blog, which advocated attempting makeup-free week. Alpert was inspired by her young daughter, who asked for lip gloss because “I want to be pretty!”

Alpert wrote, “I know that one day she’ll want to wear lipstick and eyeliner and glitter eye shadow and all other s&#@ that’s going to drive me up an F’ing wall, but I don’t want her to think she HAS TO wear it to be beautiful.”

So, Alpert decided to go makeup free for a week, and cover up every single mirror in her home during that period.

Compaglia decided to join in after seeing her own 19-month-old daughter attempt to apply blush. “NOT what I had in mind for her!” she noted.

As for Pea, while she definitely prefers a “natural” look, she won’t forego the foundation that covers the red spots that are the bane of many teenagers’ existence. And, having honed her makeup artistry through dance and choir performances, she loves helping me “doll up” for big nights out.

So, I decided to speak with Bodie privately about his ongoing concerns. “Why are you so worried about Pea wearing a little makeup?” I ask. “She’s a good girl, she’s really balanced and grounded, and she isn’t boy-crazy yet.”

“I just don’t want her to think she’s older than she is,” he replied. “Girls who wear a lot of makeup are trying to look too grown up.”

I can’t argue with his desire to preserve her innocence a little longer. At least, he suggests, until he departs for college.

–  Linda Williams Rorem, 25 November 2013
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  1. Love it!! Sweet Bodie, sweet Pea. I adore those kids. Can’t wait to hear how it all unfolds in high school. I have a feeling in my gut that Pea is going to do whatever she does, even if it’s dodging her brother’s sponge, with grace and confidence – this makes me smile broadly as I imagine it. And Bodie will certainly keep the boys in check! Every little sister should be so lucky!

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