I read an article on Psychology Today‘s website that said women are more likely to buy lipstick in times of economic recession because they want to “attract mates ‘with resources.’” This annoyed me, but not because the results of the study implied that a woman’s thoughts are as simple as, “I need pretty lips in order to snag a man!” Women are obviously more complex than that; even with scientific research and results, we all know there are many other motivators at work in a person’s search for love. No, the bigger thing that bothered me is that although I’d like to meet a nice guy, I don’t want to bother with lipstick. Makeup is already difficult enough as it is.
Admittedly, I’m a bit jealous that dudes haven’t had to figure out the makeup game. Their low-maintenance look can be as quick as shaving their face and swiping on Chapstick (and clearly I’m referring to normal, everyday guys, as male celebrities are an entirely different story). A lady’s low-maintenance, no-makeup look usually involves at least four products. I think I’m actually aiming low with that four products guess, but again, I’ve never been great at the art of makeup.
I’ve worn makeup since sixth grade. It was simple at first; I was allowed to wear a little bit of foundation and mascara. Powder and eyeliner made their way into my makeup bag in junior high. Various eye shadows hit the scene in high school. I kept adding stuff but the routine never really changed. I never learned the difference between foundation and concealer — I thought they were the same thing — and powder went on top of that. I smudged my eyeliner every morning and swiped a touch of eye shadow over it. That’s it.
I read a ton of teen magazines and of course there were beauty tutorials and how-to guides and product recommendations, but I’d get confused and overwhelmed by all of the information. Ultimately, I just didn’t care enough to research everything. I didn’t think one concealer could really be all that different from another, or that one type of mascara could do something different to my lashes than some other brand. I wanted to look presentable, but I didn’t want to go crazy in the pursuit of the perfect blush.
So why did I even bother with makeup? Because once I started wearing it, the routine became normal. I have light-colored, super-short lashes that kinda disappear into my eyelids, and after a while I felt weirdly yet legitimately naked without at least one coat of mascara. Like any other young adult, I had zits and acne scars that I wanted to cover. And yes, I wanted to feel pretty and confident so that maybe a boy would think I seemed pretty and confident. And eventually a boy did, and he was sweet and complimented me all the time, but I don’t remember him ever saying, “Wow, I love what you did with your makeup!”
Makeup didn’t matter to guys then, it didn’t matter to the guys I met in college, and I haven’t met any who seem to care too much about it now. It seems silly, then, that women supposedly rush to buy lipstick in a recession in an attempt to attract male attention. I’m all for wearing makeup to feel pretty, to feel good about yourself, to feel good around other people. We all need confidence boosters, and if yours is found in the makeup aisle, then that’s totally cool. It’s fine and normal to want to look good for your own reasons. But doing something like that out of fear of loneliness doesn’t seem rational. It seems like poor financial planning.
Thanks, partie traumatic, for the image!
Megan S. is an associate editor at Dating & Hookup. She's a big fan of pop culture, comedy and essay collections (but just a regular fan of any sport that isn't softball or golf).
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