Today in the New York Times Magazine there’s a series of photographs by Jeff Mermelstein of women applying make-up while they’re on the subway. Mermelstein admitted that snapping the photo of someone doing such a thing was likley to get him into some trouble he didn’t want. But when he started he realized these women, no matter what they were applying, were far too focused on perfecting their look to even notice that their photograph was being taken.
I had always been taught that make-up is something you apply in the bathroom. You shouldn’t do it when you drive, because you’re liable to drive off the road. You should never do it at the dinner table, because it’s just simply uncouth. And as far as the subway goes, it also seems like a strange place to line your eyes or lips with color, then whip out the eyeshadow, too. If you wouldn’t floss on a subway, why apply a full face of make-up?
While one of Mermelstein’s subjects admitted that she was self-conscious in applying her make-up on the subway, another said: ‘‘You look better when you first arrive, because your makeup’s nice and fresh.’’ True; but can’t you just hit up a bathroom before your make your appearance at wherever you’re headed? Wouldn’t that make it even fresher?
There’s also the fact that applying your make-up on any form of moving transportation could lead to mascara in your eyeball instead of on your eyelashes and lipstick that finds its way on your cheeks as opposed to your pucker. So while you’re going for “fresh,” you actually may come out looking like a clown, and unless you’re a member of the circus, this is probably not the look for which you’re going.
Do you apply make-up in public? And I’m not just talking about lip gloss; I mean everything, the works. Have you ever noticed someone staring or even taking your photo?
It seems you can’t go anywhere anymore without someone taking someone’s photo while they’re doing something that the person behind the camera thinks is weird/interesting/great/awe-inspiring. Would you tell that person to fuck off, or smile and pose? You might as well do the latter because you never know if the one with the camera is from the Times, and you’re about to have your 15 minutes.