One day, last summer, I was riding the Long Island Railroad back to my Aunt’s house from a training day for an internship. I felt like I was going to bleed out through the blisters on my feet and my entire body was throbbing like I had run a marathon. So, I put in my earphones and watched a woman put on her makeup while riding the train.
There’s something incredibly peaceful about putting on makeup. It wastes time in the morning. But this woman started slapping on makeup just before sunset.
She had great skin, but put on concealer with a heavy hand. Then she took out a well-loved bronzer and started putting it all over her medium-toned, freckled skin. I was slightly disturbed by how dirty her brushes were and that she was using her fingers on such a dirty train, but hey, I was still rapt.
What really stood out to me was how she put on mascara. I never invested too much thought in it. I just swiped upwards and prayed that none got on my eyelids. She twisted the mascara wand like hairdresser does during a blow-dry. She held it so taught that her eyelids stretched away from her eyeball. It was like a scary surgical procedure. She did this for a number of minutes until it looked like a spider would crawl off of her eyes.
I wonder where she was going. She was probably on her way to a party in Montauk. It just reminded me how open people are in New York. She was putting on makeup on the 5:00 o’clock train to Babylon where everyone could see her. She didn’t even care.
In Los Angeles, everything was supposed to seem effortless. People wanted effortless wavy hair and makeup that looked like you weren’t wearing any makeup. They wanted a natural, even tan and to smell like the ocean without wearing perfume.
It’s just an interesting juxtaposition.