Like most of my terrible decisions, I did it for a guy. Well, the guy. About six years ago, my now-husband Artie and I finally decided to meet up for drinks after four months of OKCupiding. We both came straight from work and brought a few friends. I was an hour late. He was a pitcher in. But somehow, it was perfect. We made out like crazy, sang Kelly Clarkson karaoke, and by the time I got home, I already had a cute text from him.
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Everything from our meet-up on was awesome. Almost suspiciously awesome. Those stereotypical things people say about men and dating (The mind games! The ghosting! The douchebags!) just didn't apply here. Artie was upfront about his feelings, what he wanted, and when we would be hanging next (which was usually ASAP). I was soOoOo happy — but also terrified that it wouldn't work out. I had so many gorgeous single friends who couldn't meet anyone or only met jerks. Why was I so lucky? Did I really deserve someone this amazing?
Soon enough, we started crashing together on the reg. We usually stayed up super late watching movies (or "watching movies"), so I never knew when the right time to take my makeup off was. I didn't want to get bare-faced at 10pm. and then be hanging out bronzer-free until 2am. or later. The prospect of us spontaneously running out to grab a midnight beer or — even worse — getting busy without my cat-eye intact was too risky. So I slept with my makeup on.
For a beauty editor like me, this was basically sacrilege. I was breaking possibly the most important rule of skin care. If any of my peers knew my secret, the judgement would be real (and rightfully so).
In the mornings, just like Kristen Wiig's character in Bridesmaids, I would sneak out, dust on more powder to soak up any oil, resharpen the wings of my liner, coat on some more mascara, and then slip back into bed. Artie never really noticed, probably because he's a dude and didn't give much thought to my makeup (except when it was on his sheets or when I was taking forever to get ready).
I figured that when things got more serious, we'd establish routines, and then I could give my skin a break and work up the confidence to show my real face around the boy. I was wrong. We went to Jamaica for a week about three months into dating, and I wore makeup the whole time (beach and all). When I showered and washed my face, I would quickly reapply my makeup before getting dressed, drying my hair, or anything else.
On the third day of our trip, I was about to start up my sneaky primping sesh when Artie handed me a Red Stripe, grabbed my hand, and pulled me out onto our little balcony that faced the ocean. He wrapped his arms around my waist, kissed my neck, and said we were actually in a "living postcard and he just wanted to soak it in with me."
It should've been a super-romantic, sexy #swoon moment. But all I could think about was how my hair was probably looking cray since I hadn't combed it out post-shower and I'd only blended half of my tinted moisturiser in.
I slipped away from his grip, and told him we could pregame or make out or whatever he wanted as soon as my hair and makeup were ready. I'd be quick! And he looked kind of bummed that I couldn't just be in the moment with him. He told me I could just relax around him and didn't need to be a glamazon 24/7. I said that he was super sweet and I really appreciated it, but then headed back inside and busted out the mascara.
After about six months of alternating sleepovers at each other's apartments and schlepping my makeup and clothes between two boroughs (the struggle!), we agreed to shack up. And still, I went to bed wearing makeup. Yes, it sounds gross to me now too. And my skin didn't look great. My pores were pretty clogged, I had little white permazits in the center of my forehead, and overall, my complexion was dull and meh. But considering everything I was doing wrong, it should've looked way worse.
I wasn't exactly worried that if Artie saw my real face (my imperfect skin, my squinty eyes, my short lashes) that he'd be turned off. He seemed too cool, smart, and evolved for that. But I wasn't sure that I could be fun, confident, sexy, smart or the person I wanted to be around him without my makeup flawlessly applied. In a way, my makeup had become my armour. It let me dictate how the world saw me. I could handle shit when my brows were penciled in and my lipstick freshly applied. Without it? I felt exposed. Not in control.
Now, I realise that the control thing had a lot to do with it. I was constantly doubting myself and us. I worried that whatever fairy dust making our relationship so magical would fizzle. He could change his mind at any time! See some hottie on the subway and peace out! The only thing I could control was me. And as silly as it sounds, my makeup — the ritual of applying it and the way I could manipulate my appearance — was a constant in my life that I had power over. And I wasn't willing to part with that power — even if it meant my skin would suffer.
After about a year of cohabital bliss, I wrote a story —probably my millionth! — for Cosmo about the importance of removing makeup before catching zzzs. And then I decided it was time. This boy loved me. And no eyeliner or lipstick in the world could control whether or not he stuck around. So I came home from drafting up the fresh-faced article, scrubbed off my makeup, and explained to Artie that I needed to give my face — and my relationship fears — a rest. Of course he barely noticed the difference and said that I looked even more beautiful without it. He seemed really content that I was finally comfortable (or at least trying to be) just showing him the real me.
I still don't feel as sexy or powerful without my war paint. I probably never will. But knowing that I could be 100 per cent myself with no enhancements or tweaks around Artie has made us closer and stronger than ever. It's fun and confidence-boosting to be freshly waxed, blown out, and fully glammed for your S.O., but there's an awesome kind of intimacy in trusting someone enough to let them see you when you're exposed and vulnerable. Knowing that he loves me and wants me just as much on Sunday mornings when my messy bun is 90 per cent dry shampoo and my face is completely bare makes me feel really lucky.
And yes, my skin is looking way better these days too.
Via: Cosmopolitan US