Who? Men, of course!
Although I guess they have their excuses.
I noted, not that long back, that it is rare that you will come across a woman out on the street who hasn’t given SOME basic thought to her appearance. Clothes match, are clean, are interesting – even when they really are a million miles away from anything you’d wear yourself. Accessories pop: they add; they highlight. Its part of the training, drummed into women through a dozen years of childhood, and then incessantly policed year on year thereafter.
Too, there is a fair amount of stuff to learn. Putting eyes together for a night out is likely to involve at least five items: that’s liner, shadow, pencil, mascara plus, maybe lashes, plus another shade for the inner corner (and one more for the browbone), not to mention those who opt for the ultra-showy and apply a different liner underneath.
That’s a lot of product to pull together and co-ordinate.
Anyway, again, its not that all women do this: many, many don’t bother.. . or do so, but far more subtly. The point is that most know what’s going on: how many little pots and palettes went into a “natural” look, and how hard someone has worked to look as though they are wearing nothing at all.
Whereas blokes.. . Oh, dear. I get the distinct impression that as a tribe, the vast majority rarely look at what they wear from one day to the next. Things ruffle. They dis-co-ordinate. They hang out. For a supposedly visual-dominated bunch, they pay very little attention to visual aesthetics. And, of course, they have no idea, mostly, what goes on, make-up wise.
Which is why, earlier this week, I had a giggle with a girl friend up in London. I was wearing lashes: not exactly an everyday thing, but something I enjoy occasionally. We met, we hugged: her eyes flicked across my face and her first words, almost, were: “nice lashes”.
Cue mini-detour round the topic, before getting back to much more serious stuff like.. . (ah, but that would be telling!).
Discussion continued until her partner came in. He looked at me. “You’re looking good. Er. Have you done something special?”
I think we allowed ourselves about thirty seconds worth of teasing before we explained. “Oh.” No: he hadn’t noticed”. But why would he? I suspect he possibly believes my hair is REALLY this colour, or that the highlights are just the result of too much sun.
Same sort of thing happened not that long back in slightly sadder circumstances. I’d been upset. A few tears. And surrounded by men and women, it was a female friend whose first (sotto voce) reaction was: “you need to fix your eyes”.
Nothing spectacular: just the merest smidgeon of smudging. But enough that a woman would know, and a male acquaintance, stood by her side, noticed nothing.
Curious. And of course, nothing except that you know what you know. There’s a lot of indoctrination in the making of a woman. So much that, in the end, most women forget just how much they know about certain things. Similar, but different, as far as blokes are concerned.
And thereby grows a chasm.