The pains of beauty

This post was prompted by the sight that met me one morning as I entered the bathroom and found the lovely Mrs Sixwotsitdorf desperately trying to tame her whiskers, a process that not only requires hot wax but also garden scissors, rope, a shovel and a fair amount of duct tape – the latter one being used to muffle her own screams as she pulls off the earlier mentioned wax which she applies with the shovel after first trimmed the unlikely amount of hair under her nose with the garden scissors (I´ve honestly never been clear on what the rope is for.)

In any event, watching this and feeling fairly certain that we can all agree on the fact that women really need to do this, I mean; where would we be if women were judged simply on their intellect and persona? Mayhem, starvation and general anarchy, that´s where. So I´ve put together this little guide of beauty care through the centuries for everyone to get their inspiration. You´re welcome.

We have for example the most beautiful of them all, and a constant role beauty1model for all women to live up to; Nefertiti. There are suggestions that beauty in her part of the world and time was even a part of Ma´at, the way one perceived the world.

And in all fairness, who wants to perceive the world through “ugly”? None of us do, just admit it.

This gave a spiritual dimension to putting on makeup which women of today is clearly lacking; instead of just mucking away with mascara, eyeliners, blushers and stuff, they put their heart and soul into it. The even considered beauty as something holy. But. Then there is another thing. What is beauty, who is beautiful and how do we, or someone else – I am clearly flawless – go about obtaining said beauty?

But the ancient Egyptians with their eyes, primarily, painted with crushed malakite stone, a copper based ore, and kohl, which apart from fat contained a number of metals, weren´t the only ones to have seen the importance of beauty. They would eventually suffer from the occasional pink eye, and insomnia. And mental disease. But that must be more important than looking plain. Mustn´t it? I´d rather be insane than ugly. (As tragedy, the old Greek kind, would have it, I have turned out to be both insane and ugly)

Lead has played an important part of history. I mean, why not add a highly poisonous substance to your body if the goal is to look better. The fact is, that you won´t die the first 100 times or so that you add it to your facial powder. The aim was to look pale, and we have to respect the fact that it at one point was high fashion to look as if you dived head first into a sack of flour, what could it possibly matter if it *eventually* affected your health? When your skin peeled away, you could always hide it with a thicker layer of makeup. Add a little arsenic and mercury to the mixture and you were set to go. Someone who had the correct attitude to her looks was Marie Gunning, the Countess of Coventry, and one of the first official victims of beauty, dead from lead poisoning at the age of 27 (which should put her up there with Janis, Jimi, Jim, Kurt and Amy as far as I´m concerned).

Then we have the corset. Take a cone formed contraption, have someone Catherine de Medici introduce it in France and soon you will have a serious breathing problem among women. But they looked like hourglasses and that was nice. We need the corset back, not least because the wives of the time didn´t have the air necessary to scream at their husbands in them.

o-CURVES-OF-YOUTH-570Another highlight in the history is the malady of double, or triple chins. There is a cure. Just strap a construction to your head and tighten those chins. It looks incredibly painful, and you can hardly wear the thing in public, as no makeup in the world would hide it, but there is no problem one can´t get around.

I could on. But I won´t. Point is: don´t whine about hot wax, garden scissors and rope.

Jeff Sixwotsitdorf (who uses makeup as soon as no one sees him)

Sources:

An empty mascara

Lot´s of lipstick

An ugly face (my own)

A bottle of wine

A cracked mirror

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