Tag Archives: beauty

The Many-Faced Girl

If I ever need a good laugh, I think about a story my sister Jessie told me years ago:

Me, Jessie and the infamous running hat. I have this photo framed and hanging in my office.

Me, Jessie, and the infamous running hat. I had this photo framed. It is currently hanging in my office.

She was in a bar. She’d just gone for a run, so she was wearing her running hat. A gaggle of North Carolina sorority girls stood between Jessie and her friends, giving her no choice but to part the pastel sea and walk through them. In doing so, she gave one of the girls a polite “s’cuse me” smile.

This girl turned to her friend and said, “Ew. That man’s smile is scaring me.”

To this day, that story brings tears of laughter to my eyes. Jessie still laughs about it too (which is one of the many reasons I love her so very much). It didn’t break her spirit. And it certainly didn’t keep her from wearing that God-awful hat.

But it got me thinking about the smiles I give people. If Jessie has The Scary Man Smile, what smiles do I have?

This is what I’ve concluded:

The Go-To Smile: A haunting toothless grin most often seen behind the windows of unmarked vans. I certainly don’t want to think of this look as my go-to smile, but the photo evidence is overwhelmingly grim. The truth, as they say, is not always pretty.

GoToSmile GTSmile2

GoToSmile3

The Solar Eclipse: When I contort my face and body in unnatural ways to appear naturally beautiful. Accomplishing this look is no small feat, which is why I only do it when I’m in the market for a new Bumble picture.

The Solar Eclipse is a slippery little devil and can only be captured under the most perfect of circumstances (hence, the name Solar Eclipse). You see, it involves a complete alignment of the stars: when one is photographed doing “the skinny arm” from one’s good side, all the while maintaining a dazzling – yet natural – smile and appropriate degree of back-bending sternum protrusion. Like a real solar eclipse, it’s incredible when all goes according to plan. But on the flip side, should all fail, you wind up looking like a complete and utter fraud. (Exhibit A).

Exhibit A – Failed Solar Eclipse. Reason for failure: excessive sternum protrusion. One degree further and I'd be folded over backwards at the waist.

Exhibit A – Failed Solar Eclipse. Reason for failure: excessive sternum protrusion. One degree further and I’d be folded over backwards at the waist.

The Obligatory Smile: A decent shot at a smile, but completely dead behind the eyes. Most often used in group photos or in the presence of children.

Obligatory Smile

The “Pizza Plz” Smile. A horrible facial affliction that knows only one cure.

Front row beauty queen.

When it is time for pizza.

PizzaPlz

When it is well past time for pizza.

The Come Hither Smirk. And now, an anecdote: In college, I would circle the University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball team like a hyena herding its prey. It was easy, really. Every Friday night, they congregated in the same spot, against the same wall, at the same bar. So I’d take laps around them, each time yelling out, “Devinne?? Devinne?!” as if I was desperately looking for my friend. With each passing, I’d deliver a powerful performance of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was deeply concerned for Devinne. But on the other, I was cool and confident –impossibly glamorous even in a time of great distress.

I’d orbit them time and time again, dramatically tousling my mane as much as my Bumpit would allow. I pretended not to know or care who they were. “John Wall? What’s that?” In my (arguably delusional) mind, I assumed my aloofness would intrigue them. “Who’s that little girl?” They’d say. “The one with the immaculate spray tan and mischievous smirk? Why is she so upset? Why is she so out of breath? And – by Jove! – why is she so indifferent to our fame?!”

Did any of this work? Of course not. But my Come Hither Smirk – resting bitch face with a chilling side of crazy – is alive and kicking.

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Beauty 101

I made an unimportant decision that I am certain no one will care about. Thus, it seemed only natural to post it on social media.

But first, some background:

I’ve worn thick black eyeliner since the seventh grade. I remember the very day I debuted this edgy look – it was at a beginning-of-the-school-year picnic. I came to get my books, pick up my schedule and decorate my locker with pictures of Vin Diesel. I was excited for the new school year. You see, sixth grade wasn’t exactly my best look. I was soft. Meek. My favorite pair of jeans had an airbrushed panda bear on them. I didn’t quite scream, “cool new girl,” so seventh grade was going to be my year to prove otherwise. I was going to be tough. I was going to start wearing Hollister, and, by God, I was going to wear eyeliner.

Why do I remember this day so clearly? Because my crush took one look at my face and asked if I’d been punched in both eyes. (And yet, it never deterred me.)

Lipz2

Here I am testing the Kylie Jenner over-lined lip technique. This was before news broke that her lips were, in fact, surgically enhanced. Who knew!?

Today, while my makeup regimen varies by occasion, it most often involves the same thick application of eyeliner, a heavy masking of my forehead vein and a half-assed attempt to make my lips look less like mealworms. To transition my look to nighttime, I double up on bronzer and brush blush over my collarbones for a faux sunburnt glow.

I know what you’re thinking – this girl sounds like a professional beauty blogger. A real threat to the Kardashian Empire. And you’re absolutely right. However, I recently coined a makeup technique that goes against everything we big-time beauty bloggers stand for. I call it: The Underwhelmer Whammer.

The Underwhelmer Whammer is a strategy based on the controversial business mantra: Under-promise and over-deliver. What does “under-promise and over-deliver” mean? It means setting the bar very, very low and then – surprise! – blowing it out of the water. It means promising to have a project turned in on Friday and delivering it on Wednesday. And it means never, ever bringing home a man whilst wearing a padded bra.

For years, I’ve applied this technique to my wardrobe and hair. The first time I curled my hair for work, a male coworker told me I looked “nice,” and like I “gave a shit” that day. Now, I’ve decided to take it one step further. I’ve decided to, as they say, “give less shits” about my face.

Here’s how it works: Monday through Friday, I will remain mousy and makeup-free. At first, it will be shocking.

“Oh, JoAnne!” they’ll say.

“What’s wrong?” they’ll say.

“Did you just give blood?!” they’ll say.

“Oh no, is it Joan?!?!?” they’ll say.

"Bronzer-less pallor."

“Bronzer-less pallor.”

But as time wears on and my coworkers’ eyes adjust to my natural plainness, they’ll become more comfortable at the sight of my veiny eyelids and bronzer-less pallor. They may even forget I ever had eyebrows. That is, until…

WHAM!

I decide to wear makeup one day, and I roll in looking like an airbrushed goddess.

The Underwhelmer Whammer: a new beauty vlog coming to YouTube this fall.