Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Laverne and Zsa Zsa

For weeks, Blair has been begging me to let her do my makeup.  She's really good at all of that, having been to several private instructional sessions and constantly reading and watching the newest online tutorials.  It's just one of her passions.   

I thought that would be a good bonding activity for us before she left for school, so I finally obliged late one night.

Before I get into that, let me start by saying that I grew up between two boys, ok?  I'd venture to guess that a lot of girls who grow up with all boys are not the prissiest of women....especially if they're not the oldest.  That's not to say that I sit around in my camouflage cargo pants with my legs apart, cleaning under my fingernails with a pocketknife and a pinch of Skoal bulging under my lip, but I'm certainly not all things pink, glittery, and frilly either.  As a matter of fact, I can probably count on one hand the times in my 47 years that I have worn pink.  One of them was a bridesmaid dress and another was likely the day I was brought home from the hospital.  I'm sure there were other times sprinkled in between those, but not too many.  No, I'm more of an earth tone kind of girl.  Pastels make me feel like an Easter M&M.  Garish colors make me feel like I belong in a ball pit. 

I guess I'm kind of in the middle of the femininity scale.  I'm not dripping with it, but I do enjoy dressing up and looking nice when the occasion calls for it.  I may do my nails for special occasions or for church, but it's not a do or die situation.  Most of the time, I look down at their scratched finish and think, "the women who wear this stuff must not work with their hands much."  You won't find me in sparkles, feathers, fur, or anything too flamboyant.  Blair would even say my favorite clothing color is black and I can't deny the comfort that I receive from wearing that hue.  I have the basic clothing foundations, but you won't find a purse, jewelry, and shoes to match every outfit in my closet.  I go for comfort in the sleepwear department and my default setting for a lazy day is a worn in pair of jeans and V-neck tee.       
These preferences apparently go way back. My kindergarten teacher called my mother one morning to report a problem, "Joni won't come into the classroom today.  Do you know what might be the matter?"  Well, she knew exactly what was the matter.  Despite my protests, she'd made me wear this awful, bright red outfit with pom pom fringe on the sleeves and pants.  In my 5 year old opinion, I looked like a sombrero.  I should've been hanging on the wall at a Mexican restaurant.  I was too bright.  Too busy.  Too brassy.  And I wasn't going into kindergarten looking like that.   

This aversion to being overly ornate can happen when one grows up with a boy on either side. Not only did I have all brothers, but 90% of the kids in our neighborhood were boys.  There were always boys around....knocking on the door wanting to ride bikes, fish, or get up a game of something out in the yard.  Your choices were to go out and play with them or stay inside and your Mama asking you to vacuum the gold shag carpet. 

There was no contest for me.

When you played with boys, you wanted to dress comfortably and do your best to blend in.  You'd be the last one chosen if you came out looking like a delicate flower.  You were there to play and if you weren't taken seriously, you might as well go in and vacuum.      

I still remember my favorite school outfit....it was this green pair of jeans with a mottled t-shirt that had a monkey in a palm tree on the front.  It had subtle, green piping around the sleeves and collar and I felt especially good about myself in that.  It wasn't too dressy.  Wasn't too shabby.  I would've worn it every day of the week had it been up to me.  I know y'all had an outfit like that.  The days you wore it, well, they were just a little better than all the other days.

Here are some other memorable, childhood ensembles and my feelings about them have been documented with film. 
    Busy, floral print. Ostentatious collar. Tight elastic sleeves that left marks.
   Not happy.
Solid color. Earthy tone. Soft fabric. Clean lines.
Fast forward a couple of decades and Blair is born.  Ever since the air hit her, she's been drawn to the sparkly things of life.  I'm not sure how that happened......maybe she got my share and her share of prissiness, but she came here with a love for all things girly.  I've never seen anyone get so excited about new makeup brushes, jewel encrusted phone cases, little purses, or eye shadow palettes.  Who spends $60 of their hard earned money on eye shadow?  She loves the dainty, the delicate, the lacy, the fancy, the elegant.....oh, and hair done up in all sorts of ways. 

We all know and love women like that.  They've always got the nail appointments.  Never leave home without looking just so.  Would never go to the grocery store in yoga pants.  They've always got the hair done....all teased....the makeup just right.  They get excited about things like lip liner, the Kate Spade fall lineup, and frilly sleepwear.  They love pink and anything that catches the light.  They have more purses and shoes in their closets than are found in some small countries.  They are put together, let me tell you, and I, for one, am duly impressed with their attention to detail.  It is super hard work and not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.    

So that brings us to where we are now.  Blair wanted to "do me up".  Kind of like Zsa Zsa Gabor wanting to spruce up Laverne DeFazio.  I guess she'd been wanting to do this because I just wear enough makeup to keep the buzzards from circling me.  Just enough to keep people from flinching when I walk up to them.  Yeah, if you startle people, you might need to put on a tad more cosmetics, but I digress. 

Well, we settled on the front end that I didn't want anything too heavy.  She agreed and spread her tools out across the floor and, like an artist, she began to paint the blank canvas that was me.  Who knew that works of art have so many layers?  It was like painting a house.  The prep work, priming, painting, the second coat, the trim work.  It takes a long time to go through all those steps.  She brushed, rubbed, smoothed, and blended.  She made noises as she worked and, between each layer, she would lean back and tilt her head to the side to check her work.  She explained how this color complimented that color eyes and putting eye liner here instead of there made you look younger and this color on the lips made you look this way or that....and on and on.  Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she was in her zone.  She squealed with delight, "Oh, Mom!  My gosh, you look beautiful!"  You never know how to take compliments like that, you know?  Like before I looked like a wart covered ogre who lived under a bridge.
So, it's hard to tell in the picture, but here's what I'd look like if I got up an hour and a half earlier every morning, spent $60 on eye shadow, and could remember everything that she taught me, but since none of those things are gonna be happenin', this may be your only chance.......
Oh, well. 

I had fun letting my girl do her thing.

The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.  I love that she and I are so different in some ways and that we can celebrate that and laugh about it a whole lot.  The things I love and admire most about her are the things that are most unlike me. 

Funny how that works.         

She never ceases to amaze me......my girly girl.

Night, y'all!    


  1. Gorgeous gal you are! Blair sounds like my Caitlin when she did a make over for me, they get in their zone. Haha, I'm the walking dead if I don't put some sort of color on my face. But with the heat and humidity, forget about it. Wait! Pink and dewy sweat! Have a cool day Joni, Kathleen in Az

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! You and I have the same feelings about this heat and humidity. There's just no way to look good in it!

  2. "That's not to say that I sit around in my camouflage cargo pants with my legs apart, cleaning under my fingernails with a pocketknife and a pinch of Skoal bulging under my lip, but I'm certainly not all things pink, glittery, and frilly either. "

    Funniest thing I've read in a long time. Love your writing and the stories about your family.

    1. Thank you, Teresa. I appreciate you reading so much :)

  3. Love love your blog!!! You're my kin sister as I'm just like you. Never have been the girly type. I have a son, but I have a daughter in law now and she is the girly one.

    1. Thank you so much, Debbie! I'm glad we understand each other :)