Mascara - to Mask OR to Marvel?


There was a line on London’s underground underneath a few make-up items which read “A whole new way to mask in 90 seconds” .


Which prompted a pondering; make up - - What does it really mean to us women? Is it a confidence giver, a camouflage trickster, weapon to seduce or tool to recluse? A cure for insecurity, tonic for anxiety or antidote for timidity?


Might we be wearing make-up as an aid to try and look younger, thinner and sexier?


Are we concerned that a man may not accept us unless we are all glitzy, ritzy, bright and shiny, nails varnished, hair polished, eyelashes extended and blemishes concealed?


Whatever the reason from this pool of assortment, one thing is certain - - - we are increasingly and at large using make up to mask as opposed to marvel. Here is what I’ve witnessed:


Scene: London underground commuter’s train, morning rush hour. Protagonists: 4 women different ages, stages, colours, shapes and forms. Action: Full on make-up session. Yep, with all the bobbing up and down, Newton’s laws of motion in full swing, train speeding, breaks squeaking and passengers observing, the carriage resembles a beauty parlour rather than a means of transport with the added bonus of free audience.


Increasingly, women can be spotted applying makeup whilst texting, walking, talking, eating and checking out the beauty in the car next to them. Buses and trains make-up sessions before alighting for work destination have been around for a while. But there is a newer, more unfamiliar ‘trend’ on the block - - make up sessions in cars, mostly at traffic lights but also whilst in motion too, plus when standing and even walking on escalators. Talking of safety hazards!


One gets a sense of a feeling of anxiousness amongst some passenger observers particularly of the opposite gender when mascara, essentially a small fairly sharp brush is used so close to a part of the body that is super delicate and sensitive where all that’s needed is an abrupt jolt, sudden break, a stumble….for the white of the eye to be robbed of its purity…


On the other hand, it is impressive how these ladies manage not to look like a toddler who has just figured out how to open mum’s make-up bag and is hopelessly mimicking her normally careful movements whilst applying lipstick, mascara and blusher (all in one) in an open, free style manner. Credit to these women for the skills, for I normally struggle to highlight a few words in a book I might be reading on a train or a bus, without going above or under the designated area, let alone attending to each eyelash with any precision.


And so one wonders whatever happened to those Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn days when each morning and evening women sat in front of the dressing table, gently, lovingly and deliberately brushing their hair, marvelling each movement and tenderly applying cream, make up and perfume before embracing the day or settling down for the night? Where have they gone and