Fifty Shades of Beige

I have now reached the point in my life where the phrase “I woke up like this” has begun to be an expression of abject horror rather than a positive, self-affirming testament. Yes. It’s happened. Gravity, that most unwelcome of guests, has finally gate-crashed my life party and shows absolutely no intention of leaving. A word of advice to the twenty-somethings of today: enjoy it while it lasts. Take all the pictures you can, because in a few years, harsh lighting will not be beneficial to you or anyone in your direct vicinity. You’ll be me, hiding from fluorescent light the way a vampire avoids daylight.  Avoiding flash photography at all costs.  Learning how to wield Photoshop and filters like weapons of mass destruction. Save yourselves!

It’s time to bring out the big guns. Contouring is a thing now. It’s all about finding the undertones and using shades to shape your profile. I’m not talking about the old standby – drawing two vertical brown lines down your nose and smudging it with your fingers in a vain attempt to sharpen the schnoz. No, this is the big leagues. Start out with an arsenal of crazy pastel coloured primers and concealers, drawing all over your face until it looks like a paintbox exploded all over it. The trick is in the blending. Blend with a sponge until everything comes together and finally emerge looking like a lifelike humanoid. Hey, it’s a vast improvement from looking like death warmed over. I wish I could contour, but I was never very good at art.  I’m awful with make-up.

This hasn’t stopped me from checking out make-up tutorials, though. They fascinate me. You know the ones. Thirty second quick hits where someone teaches you how to get a smokey eye, or pencil in thick eyebrows and create a fuller lip.

If you ever need proof that truth in advertising is non-existent and are finally ready to handle cold, hard reality, google make-up tutorial videos. They make me wish I was more dexterous with a brush. They also make me laugh myself silly. I especially enjoy the ones where the one doing a tutorial looks like a complete dog at the start and a scant thirty seconds later emerges looking like Kim Kardashian. There was one where she had skin so bad, it almost made me feel better about myself and my high school pizza face. But voila, through the miracle of makeup, she turned into someone you could see wearing a sash and competing in a pageant. It’s miraculous, it’s horrifying and it also makes me very glad I’m not a guy.  It’s a master class in bait-and-switch. You could go home with Beauty and wake up with the Beast. Buyer beware.

I love these videos. What’s that, you say? They’re insipid, shallow and promote impossible standards of beauty? How dare you. These video tutorials are a testament to hope, willpower and a can-do attitude. They’re inspirational! Inspirational, I tell you. These little video snippets are there to let everyone know that if you work hard enough on something, you will succeed because you now have the power of the perfect cat eye and can proceed to win at life.  Hate the way you look? Save the surgical procedure for when the going gets really rough. For now, pile on enough make-up and be the new and improved you.

The moral of the makeup tutorial is this: these days it’s virtually impossible to look like what is now considered an attractive human being without a decent amount of spackle and grout. With the right kind of product, anything is possible.




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