Mascara and Meat

By the time I left the house on Saturday at 13:28, I didn’t look too bad. Just twelve minutes earlier, my fate seemed to be threatening a rather less attractive outcome.

Of course I enjoy looking and feeling beautiful just as much as I’m sure any woman does, but I’ve never quite managed to get to grips with the whole make-up thing.

I watch in awe on buses and trains as women whip out their coloured compacts and wands of mascara, patiently painting on a new improved version of themselves. If I were to attempt such a feat, even standing still on solid ground, I could hardly be expected to get through the ordeal without performing some grave injury to myself or any unwitting bystanders.

Last week, in preparation for a wedding I rooted out the dusty canvas bag that contains my ancient and meagre collection of beautification materials. Special Occasions like Weddings require Making an Effort, which for me means applying make up of some sort.

My regime followed its usual route down the path of hope, lightly skipping on to curiosity, stumbling into frustration and then a final sharp turn into the cul-de-sac of unmitigated stomping rage resulting in a black eye (fortunately not permanent) and a rather unbecoming toddler-style tantrum.

In attempting to apply mascara I had managed to get the stuff all over my hands and face and eyes, conveniently avoiding any actual eyelashes except for one cluster of lashes joined together by a large clump of charcoal goo that clung desperately on.

On hearing the tormented wails issuing forth from the bathroom my lovely flatmate fortunately came to the rescue with various creams and potions to redeem my Courtney Love meets Marilyn Manson grunge look and I was able to leave the house with my face paint intact. Only the most diligent of observers would have noticed the hint of my previous trauma – a slightly bloodshot left eyeball.

Well, this is all very amusing, but what does it have to do with food I hear you ask. Not much I suppose, but it did get me thinking about how our priorities affect and influence our lives.

The wedding was in the afternoon and in the evening I went on from there to a party. By all accounts it was a pretty good party. It had beer and wine, it had intelligent conversation with good looking people, it had music and dancing, it had a giant tub of salty pretzels, and most importantly it had meat.

Although decked out in Salmon pink heels and a delicate printed silk dress, when the steak, burgers and ribs appeared all sense of decorum abandoned me. A sort of red mist descended. We gorged ourselves on the delicious protein and charred fat. It was through this haemoglobin induced haze that I detected the incongruous thought:

Never before have I given the merest wisp of consideration to spending £17.50 on NARS ‘Fire Down Below’ (pure blood red) lipstick, or £36 on MAC ‘Wonder Woman Eye Shadow X4:Lady Justice’ (in shades of ‘Insurmountable’, ‘Deep Truth’ and ‘Bold Babe’) yet the previous morning I had quite happily parted with £19 on 2 kilograms of beef brisket for brining.

It suppose what it boils down to is priorities. Although I consider myself willing to face my fears and try new things, rarely do I venture forth into the murky world of maquillage. Perhaps my love of meat will keep things that way for some time yet…

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