Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Applying make-up in public - the Thoughtful Dresser poll

A substantial majority of you believe that there is no reason not to apply one's lipstick in public. I do feel that this may be a cultural matter, with Americans more likely to regard it as something best done in private.

For myself, I see no reason at all not to reapply one's lipstick at a restaurant table, I do it all the time. Perhaps taking out a lip-brush, lip pencil etc might have the effect of lessening the mystique. And for this reason, reapplying your whole face, putting on mascara etc, I would regard as best left to the privacy of the ladies room.

I have, after an early morning departure, put my make-up on on at my seat on a train or on a plane. Why cause a queue to build up in the bathroom? And I don't often find the conditions there, the light and the general sanitation conducive to applying make-up.

I'm charmed by the sight of young women applying all their make-up on the tube, which indicates bravado and a steady hand. And you can sometimes pick up tips.


California Dreamer said...

Cultural differences, yes. Not being blessed with the tube in this corner of the globe, young women who are running late are known to apply make-up while driving on the freeway. Not so charming.

Anonymous said...

And unfortunately, in my commuter train experience, the charming makeup application includes the not-so-charming eyebrow tweezing and fingernail clipping and a generous helping of hair-brushing and styling.

So for me it's not that I'm particularly troubled at the lipstick application, it's that I get anxious thinking that this person may not stop until she has flossed.

Miss Janey said...

Miss Janey is American and sees nothing wrong with re-appying lipstick at the table. Any other grooming beyond that, however, should be taken to the ladies room.

Anonymous said...

I think it is really bad form and insulting to those others around the table. I have primped at home to be at my best for myself and my primp in front of them is really bad form. Linda

rb said...

I'm in the US (San Francisco) and I apply lipstick at the table.

I think the key is to keep it to lipstick, as you say, and to have a beautiful compact & tube of lipstick. I like Chanel.

I do end up in a quandary about lipstick when we've been served a snack at a meeting in the boardroom. It seems unprofessional to me to whip out the compact. So I now decline the snacks. Better for me anyway.

Meg from The Bargain Queens & All About Appearances said...

I'm in Florida and I try to not reapply makeup much in public. A quick swipe of lip gloss isn't too bad, but I definitely wouldn't want to see anything more than lipstick at the table and even that might be too much unless they can do it discreetly.

When I went to London, I did end up doing mine in the train from the airport because I just did not have the time to do it elsewhere and I couldn't get to it easily while on the plane. Fortunately, I was surrounded by people in my traveling group who could probably have cared less.

Marisa said...

I think the following:

a) No applying makeup if you are in the presence of other people - ie: in the middle of conversation, with friends or people you know etc. It takes your attention away from them and gives the message that they aren't that important which is just rude. If you can by all means retreat to the ladies room or the corner before it and prevent queueing if that's what you are concerned about by using a compact mirror.

b) On the train restrict it to lipstick and do so in a demure fashion - by all means take the time required to do it properly but don't make the entire endeavour into a caberet act - in public behave in a ladylike manner. Hair may also be readjusted if it is being clipped or retied but no brushing/combing etc. And do it the moment you sit down and arrange yourself on the seat so that once you are done for the rest of the ride, your fellow passengers don't have to be treated to a show that they may not want.

c) do not apply makeup while driving - this is just stupid and inconsiderate to anyone else on the road and anyone else in your car because your mind should be focused on your driving. Get to where you are going, park the car and if you must, make sure you are alone in the car and apply makeup before you get out.

My barometer for such things has always been along the lines of: "Is this rude? Is this good behaviour? No matter what my personal convictions or politics is this how a lady would behave? Is it polite to those around me?"

Oh and I am from Sri Lanka in South Asia and the only situation I would think of where it would be considered rude to apply anything at all in public would be in a place such as Saudi Arabia etc where while they don't mind you not covering up completely if you are non-Muslim, they would still prefer you to keep things that they consider personal like personal beauty etc out of the public eye.

Just my two cents.