My Journey Into Make-Up – Part 1
Written by Jennifer Eolin
My first exposure to make-up as a child was in the form a larger than life Barbie head who was hacked off tragically at her shoulders and mounted like a taxidermied southern belle in hollowed out, cheap pink plastic. Yet, despite her obvious shortcomings, I couldn't help but notice that she was smiling. I remember being very concerned about this dichotomy and thinking, “What could bring such a sincere and happy smile to this body-less head? Because if it were me I would be FREAKING OUT.” (PS – I've always been anxious.) Anyway, the answer to the question: Make-up. (Oh sure, and she was plastic and wasn't actually alive. Shut up.)
Back when I was growing up in the 70's, the only real color of eye shadow was blue, but I did notice it was available in two exciting shades: old lady blue and regular blue. Wheeee! That was as far as the palate of eyeshadow extended as far as I could tell at the tender age of 5. (Note: Disembodied Barbie came with blue eyeshadow. As far as I could tell, it was just “regular blue.” End note.)
By the by, I should tell you that I personally did not own Disembodied Barbie. Oh heck no. Make-up wasn't important to my mom and she saw no use for this sort of toy even though I begged and pleaded. (And yes, I am still a little bitter about not owning one. Bygones.) So like an alcoholic sneaks cough medicine at the 7-11, I would go to my friend's house to get my fix of applying stale, chalky blue powder via a Q-tip to an inanimate object. It was a rush I couldn't explain. I had a NEED to apply the color blue to this plastic head. I needed to see her plain, ordinary eyelids become “regular blue.” NEEDED.
My friend who owned Disembodied Barbie was completely on board with enabling my need. She patiently watched as I swabbed on large amounts of “regular blue” eyeshadow and “clown quantities” of blush. (Or “blusher” as I remember it being called. Anyone else?) When I was done creating my masterpiece, Disembodied Barbie looked like she she might break a sweat if she entered a church, or like she got into a street rumble with a bag of oranges. Let's just say, I was a little heavy-handed with the color.
Back on the home-front, my mom got me a surprise that didn't involve Mattel at all: NAIL POLISH. It was a translucent pink that my dad pointed out that he could see on my nails only if he squinted really hard. But it didn't matter. Disembodied Barbie who? Screw her, I had nail polish now and I felt like a complete grown-up. At 5-years-old I was ready to get a desk job and start buying and selling people, all thanks to being armed with a little bottle of sticky, pink goo that mostly made it's way into my “nail gutters” and never really stuck to the tops of my nails.
True story: I used that nail polish until it was empty. At one point I even added water into the bottle to make it last longer. (Hey, it works for hand soap!) And now as a 30-mumble-year-old adult I have my own a shade of “regular blue” eye shadow and a bevy of nail polishes. Whenever I use them, I think back to how magical I thought these items were as a child. And I have to say, I still kinda do.