Saturday, 12 April 2014

Airbrush Strokes

The other night, I caught the Nutty Bus for the first time for a couple of years. The Nutty Bus is basically the late night bus servicing South Manchester and the usual passengers are either drunk, tired, students or a combination of all three. You can read about it here.

I had just been to see one of my favourite bands, The Wildhearts, at the Manchester Academy and was looking forward to my bed. I wasn’t interested in the usual amusing conversations and shenanigans that occur on the Nutty Bus.

I was upstairs, had my trusty iPod serenading me and was hoping for an event free journey back home.

And then I looked out of the window and saw a sign that caught me unawares. It said:

HD Airbrush Makeup

I had a temporary moment of insanity when I forgot where I was, who I was with and what I was actually doing.

I blurted out the words: “HD Airbrush Makeup? What in God’s name is that?”

Sadly, after my moment of madness, I realised that I was not with anybody I knew and the music in my ears had made me shout out the words at a volume that was quite loud.

About twenty pairs of eyes suddenly turned to look at me and, feeling rather embarrassed, I said “Sorry” and pulled out my phone to make believe that I had something important to do. Some people chuckled; some people winced; some people gave me withering and disgusted looks because they assumed I was drunk.

I wasn’t drunk at all and I could feel the shame manifesting itself in the form of a fairly major blush.

I actually used my phone to look up the term HD Airbrush Makeup and was astounded that it actually exists. If you are a female reader,I am absolutely certain that you know exactly what it means. For male readers, HD Airbrush Makeup is basically a powerful formula that you can apply to your skin (on you face and body) that is used to seamlessly cover blemishes for those people who work in High Definition television, a medium that is so crystal clear that it will seek out any warts and imperfections that conventional makeup can only conceal on Standard Definition.

And this got me thinking.

Why on earth do women bother to use makeup in the first place? 

And why would magazines bother to airbrush photographs of people who we know are full of imperfections?

Generally men do not use makeup. There is no need. Okay, vain men, metrosexuals and those appearing on TV will want to pretend that people don’t know about their blotchy skin. 

But nobody is fooled really.

For women, however, wearing makeup is an absolute must, an essential part of their daily routine. I have looked at Mrs PMs makeup collection and, while she is not as bad as some women I know, she has a fairly large collection of goo and substances, the names of which I simply do not understand and the purpose even less so.

I would like to ask any female readers this: 

If you wear makeup to impress a man and make him believe that you have perfect skin, luscious lips, enthralling eyes and wonderful hair, how do you think he will react when the inevitable happens and he eventually sees you as you really are, sans makeup, lipstick and all manner of goo that makes you look absolutely radiant?

Do you really think he will change his mind about you when he wakes up and sees you next to him devoid of makeup and looking clearly as nature intended? If you fear that or the man loses interest when he sees you as God intended, then the man is simply not worth knowing.

Recently, there was a Facebook campaign were ladies tagged their friends to take a selfie with no makeup all in aid of a fantastic cause: cancer awareness.

Some female friends of mine actually did it, which amazed me. On those rare occasions when I logged onto Facebook, I found myself staring at photos of female friends as I had rarely seen them – a fresh face completely sans makeup showing warts and all.

And for a while it was very refreshing to see women breaking free of the bonds of makeup incarceration. I was happy to see blemishes I didn’t know existed. Okay I got a little bored after a while but at least I knew that women can actually dare to reveal their true selves.

Of course, I have seen Mrs PM without her makeup and the truth is I don’t care whether she wears it or not. I am sure when she reads that last sentence she will cry out “ARE YOU INSANE??” and she will not understand where I am coming from at all.

Celebrities can actually get away with looking good simply because most if not all photos in dreadful magazines such as Hello! are totally airbrushed. Airbrushing photos makes me laugh, particularly when the tabloids obtain photographs of famous people caught unawares, displaying all of their flaws. If I were to meet, say, Madonna, I would be happy to chat to her whether or not she was covered in expensive makeup. I would think nothing less of her if I spotted that she really does have wrinkles that we never ever see in magazines or on the television.

She’s 55 years old, for God’s sake. 

Of course she will have wrinkle.

I also have a confession to make. I have an airbrushed photo of myself. Now before you start calling me a hypocrite, I didn’t want it to be airbrushed.

A couple of years ago, we went on a cruise with Mrs PM’s dad and on one night we all had to dress up in penguin suits (well the guys did anyway). Mrs PM’s dad insisted on buying a proper studio photograph of the four of us and while I was sceptical I didn’t want to rock the boat, so I reluctantly agreed.

When the photo came back a day or two later, I was quite shocked.

“I know I look quite young for my age,” I said to Mrs PM, “but that photo is bloody ridiculous! What on earth have they done to it?”

The cruise was from Seattle to Alaska, with 90% of the passengers being American, a nation that seems obsessed with looking young having the body beautiful.

Here are two photos. The one on the left was taken on my own camera, about ten minutes before the one on the right, which was taken by a professional photographer and then airbrushed, without my permission.

As you can see, I have no wrinkles, no blemishes and even my horrible hair has been tweaked to look only mildly abnormal. I barely recognise myself and I am certain that if I were to suddenly achieve overnight fame, then the whole world would think I looked like a plastic dummy with mad hair; somebody like this:

Or perhaps I could revisit the beauty shop I spotted on the Nutty Bus and ask for a regular HD airbrush makeup makeover every week until I reach the age of 90, at which time no amount of makeup will stop me looking like this:


H2b said...

Hi Mr PM,
I totally agree with you. I don't wear makeup, not even on my wedding day, upon the request of my husband. I don't even brush my hair or brush my teeth.

Just kidding.


Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi H2B,

Phew! I almost believed you.




Elephant's Child said...

No make-up here either. Not since I was a teenager when I probably wore enough to last me my whole life.
And I read somewhere that your average woman consumes more than two kilos of lipstick in their life. Eeeeuw.

River said...

I don't wear makeup except for extreme occasions such as my wedding, my daughter's wedding, a Christmas dinner party I once went to. I never went through the learning stage as a teen, so now it just feels uncomfortable having all that stuff on my face. I do wear sunscreen all year round though.
I think the natural photo of you is much better than the airbrushed one, you're quite handsome.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Two kilos of lipstick?

That's incredible. And they probably eat most of it too.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Sunscreen is essential for me when I am in hot countries - or here in the summer - because without it the sun burns me mercilessly.




Jackie K said...

I wear minimal makeup and have for years: light foundation, mascara and a natural shade lipstick or gloss. It works for me. When I met my husband I never wore any makeup but I was 24. Then as I stayed longer in Greece I got caught up in the culture there where women are very well groomed and for the next few years I wore heavy makeup and good clothes - I love the photos of myself from that time, I look like a TV presenter! I've just been on 2 weeks holiday and when I'm not working I wear zero makeup and love it. But when I'm working I still wear my minimal makeup on the weekend. Funnily enough when I take days off wearing makeup I do think my skin and face start to look better. But that could be wishful thinking.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Jackie,

Mrs PM is exactly the same - though she has never really worn heavy makeup.