08 October 2009

I Never Learned How To Be A Girl

How is it that I never learned how to be a girl? A real girlische girlie girl?

When I was a child, my mother would get dressed up to go out to dinner, or to the ballet, and she'd put on make-up (and Youth Dew). Not a lot, but a spot of blush and some lipstick, and maybe a little eye shadow. And she always painted her toenails, and for a while she had a hairpiece, a fake bun thing that attached to the back of her head with a comb.

In the past week, two bloggers have posted about the contents of their bathroom cabinets: Mayberry's daughter had a "playdate makeover" which involved serious quantities of lipstick, eye shadow and nail polish, and Ilina catalogued the astonishing amount of "product" under her bathroom sink.

I confess to owning two bottles of nail polish - one pale pink for bribing the child ("I'll paint your toenails if you let me cut them first"), one dark metallic grey to horrify the husband. My usual morning toilette is simple: I take a shower, put moisturizer on my face and legs, brush my hair, apply deodorant, and I'm done. I'm semi-convinced that the reason that the skin on my face looks good is because I never wash it. Instead, I rely on the water rinsing off from the top of my head. I don't wear eye shadow, mascara, blush or lipstick; I never polish my fingernails; I paint my toenails with the afore-mentioned dark grey once every couple of summers; and though I did dye a blue streak in my hair twice this year, I've never otherwise colored my (greying) hair.

My daughter, therefore, is growing up with an unpainted role model. I dress casually, in jeans 95% of the time, I make my own pie crust, I patch and repatch her patchwork quilt. I'm some kind of quasi-hippie, crunchy around the edges. And I'm worried about backlash. Is my daughter destined to grow up and never leave the house without foundation and fake lashes?

30 comments:

InTheFastLane said...

homemade pie crust is the best.

And, I didn't wear any makeup until I graduated from college. I never carried a purse until my daughter was 3. I am still a minimalist when it comes to girlie-ness (although I do paint my toe nails, and wear skirts and dresses on occasion). But, SOMEHOW, my daughter was born as a HUGE girlie girl. Even before I ever carried a purse, she would grab a paper bag and call it her purse. She is so much more "girl" that I ever was and never taught her any of that. But I still rock the girl power and all that :)

Somehow, they are who they are, with or without our help.

Vodka Mom said...

you are the best role model she could have.

You are authentic and brimming with integrity.

Some day, she will thank you.............

de said...

yeah, but...

what were you like when you were 15?

Because I wore as much make up as Ru Paul then.

Kelly said...

I briefly flirted with full makeup and lots of hairspray when I was in junior high. One good, windy rainstorm was all it took for me to realize the folly of my elaborate look.

I couldn't have learned about the benefits of being au natural any other way. I totally plan to arrange a similar AHA! moment for my daughter when the eyeliner fairy starts to whisper in her ear.

jo(e) said...

Cosmetics are a mystery to me. I've never understood why some women feel obligated to put gunk on their faces.

Perhaps the ritual of putting it on has some value to women? That's all I can figure.

My daughter's 23, and I don't think she's ever owned any make-up at all. I guess I thought that her generation didn't do the whole cosmetics gig. But perhaps that's because I teach at an environmental college; the young people I see on a daily basis are probably atypical.

Melissa said...

My SIL is about average in the girliness department, even though she lives in Dallas. But her girls? The 7 year old cannot leave the house without a bow, and the 5 year old screams if her clothes don't match. It's amazing...

She will be what she'll be. And you'll love her anyway. :)

mayberry said...

Meanwhile: My husband has a cow every time my son (age FOUR) wants his nails painted. Yeah, he's worried the boy will learn how to be a girl.

mayberry said...

Oh, but P.S., guess what father & son did last weekend? They made pie crust (and pies).

alejna said...

Based on what I have seen of your girl's style, I think she'll be one who want to express herself creatively. She doesn't seem princessy-girly in the standard uber-pink way that I've seen in other girls of her age. If she goes through a make-up phase, perhaps it will be more in a goth way.

I rarely paint my nails. Maybe once every 2 or 3 years. But I did go through a ridiculous nail-painting phase when I was 14 or 15. I mean ridiculous, painting-my-nails-nightly-to-match-my-next-day's-outfit ridiculous. How many hours did I waste waiting for my nails to dry? I wish I could have them back. Happily, it was a short lived phase. And one I blame on a friendship with a much more girly girl.

These days, I'm much like you in my daily toilette (except these days I don't get to shower every day). I dress very casually. I have no patience for "doing" my hair. Or face. But I do like to dress up and make myself up on occasion. I feel like I'm getting into costume. I always did love playing dress-up.

Mary G said...

I did theatre makeup for years but have never used it on myself. Raised two daughters who use very little; moisturizer and mascara (the red head needs to do this or her eyes look like boiled green eggs). Some people with monotone colouring look better with added colour, though. And it is fun to play with the stuff, likewise hair colour.
I do get tired of the ads that promise you miracles if you use their product. Only under stage lighting does that work.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Just so long as she doesn't do so much that she becomes a slave to it.

The Girl Revolution said...

We'll still let you call yourself a girl.

painted maypole said...

i think she'll figure it out for herself. ;)

i'm just glad to know that I'm not the only one who has to bribe her girlie to get the toenails trimmed.

Lady M said...

I wear some makeup, but the only bottle of nailpolish I have was one that was given away free at BlogHer two years ago.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I agree with Alejna -- your daughter definitely has her own style. Maybe she'll be fed up with the limitations of stores & instead make her own clothing? That's what my sister did, for awhile.

BTW I stopped coloring my hair in March. It's quite short, so by now all the color is gone -- and I'm almost completely gray. I like it, actually.

To jo(e)'s point: I didn't wear makeup for years but now that I'm older (38) I rarely leave the house without mascara and lipstick. Oh and now that my tan is gone, I wear blush too. I think it makes me look more vibrant. I have also started wearing patterned clothing, where before I only wore solid (muted) colors... I think that before I wanted to disappear, whereas now I don't mind being looked at.

nonlineargirl said...

My mom never knew what to do with my hair. I never learned what to do with hair, and now Ada and Mira will fail to learn what to do with it.

Kyddryn said...

I was raised by a woman who kept Elizabeth Arden in business (and helped some sales-associates make record sales and buy new BMWs) and scoffed at the "...leather faced hags who brag they only wash with soap and water, no wonder their faces look like handbags!"

I managed to fail Girl 101 anyway. I barely wear lip balm (Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer rock the house, yo)(for FTC purposes, that last was NOT a paid endorsement)(unless Burt wants to give me a few tubes of Guava or Champagne after the fact)(but that doesn't count, does it?) and all the rest of that frippery is beyond me. I only wear makeup for stage, and that's entirely different. More "Kiss meets Tammy Faye" and less "Girly-Girl".

Perhaps your little one is better off knowing that her face is beautiful as it is and she doesn't need the trappings of chemical femininity to make her attractive. And if not, there are hundreds of Elizabeth Arden sales girls who are gathering dust since my grandmother left the country - I'm sure they would be happy to help.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Angeline said...

Me too!
*hi-five*
That's why I was hoping and praying so hard that I get boys!!!
*giggle*

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

I am the girliest of the girls.

And Too is a serious Tomboy.

She will be fine and dance to her own drum.

ree said...

If she wants to go painted, she will. That's just the way these things happen - we can only influence them so much - there's a whole world out there to see. ;-)

Gwen said...

Only if you tell her not to.

No, really, I suggest a field trip to Sephora. And please invite me.

The LIbrary Lady said...

The girlie girls will take to it no matter what you do. I hate nail polish but JR revels in it and has even painted my toenails for me. And SC bites her nails to the quick, never mind thinking about polishing them!

I have foundation but almost never use it. That's about all the makeup I own.

And I am considering letting my hair stylist take the gray out of my hair. I'm still feeling mixed about it--hate doing stuff but the gray is bugging me and the gray hairs are even frizzier than the rest of my hair. I've got an appointment today so we'll see.

Life in Eden said...

I too only have 2 bottles of nail polish -- nude and nude-r. I do however try to wear concealer for my dark raccoon eyes, and a bit of mascara. But as I've aged, I've given up quite a bit. My mom was not over the top, but was of that 50s mentality where you never left the house in sweats and you always wore lipstick out. My life it too crazy now -- if I have the chance to go out, I've got to take it. Putting on makeup may mean the difference between going and being stuck at home. Now that I have a girl, I wonder what she will be like. Being that she freely bites her brother to get her way ... I'm thinking I won't have much impact anyway.

wheelsonthebus said...

hey, we have the same morning routine -- and the same worries about our daughters

Anjali said...

I don't wear makeup or jewelry, and dress in jeans and t-shirts. It looks like I'm raising three girls just like me. We have so little pink in our house of 4 women!

cactus petunia said...

Watch out, Mommy! I'm a former hippie. Dyed in the wool. Thought both my naturally-born-at home-children would be crunchy granola eating, Birkenstock wearing bona-fide children of the new age. Boy, was I wrong. One is a technology-hooked metrosexual, and the other wears eye shadow, high heels, highlights her hair, and has french-tipped toenails. You just never know how far the apple will fall from the tree.

FreshHell said...

Not necessarily. My mom had (and still does) tons of makeup, was very clothes-conscious, owns a million pairs of shoes. Me? Not so much. I don't even own a hair dryer. I apply a slight bit of makeup in the morning (foundation-the kind that's supposed to dry up pimples; blush; eyeshadow), but otherwise my morning routine is like yours: I shower, comb my hair and go. I also put on clothes but they have to be comfortable and work appropriate. The bit of makeup, the earrings are my concession to girliness. Both girls went through the pink and purple princess phase and Dusty came out of it hating all of it and now loves her black t-shirts and Converses.

Bee said...

I am somewhere in the middle -- and I'm thinking that is the worst place to be! Although I don't go in for nails, waxing or any of that stuff, I do waste both time and money on a sort of no-makeup makeup. I'm envying your streamlined routine. I could also save a lot of money if I gave up the highlights. Sigh. But I have mousy hair and eyelashes and I much prefer then when they are "enhanced" a bit. I do love quasi hippies, but I'm just not one, quite. Although I do believe, deeply, in homemade pie crust!

Kyla said...

I didn't start wearing make up until a couple/few years ago, when I realized it makes me look just a TAD older and gives me more clout when speaking with KayTar's physicians. I can't stand being spoken to like a child and without make-up, people tend to think I'm somewhere around 12. Of course, even though I wore make up to the hospital during my volunteer shift this week, I made the mistake of wearing a ponytail and everyone seemed to think I had suddenly become much, much younger. I just wear tinted moisturizer, blush, and mascara...nothing fancy. We only have ONE bottle of polish and it belongs to KayTar!

niobe said...

I don't think I've ever seen my mom wear make up or nail polish. And she had zero interest in fashion or shopping. I kind of liked the fact that she was different from all the other moms.