Tuesday, 22 September 2009
It wasn't like this when I was at school
Took daughter and friend out for a quick pizza after school. Sitting there looking at them, both 13 years old, with full make up on, I asked them if there was much of a queue for the loos to re-touch the paint. Oh yes, they said. There is, apparently, an informal system, where whole years go in at a time. Year 11, queens of the school as the sixth form presumably make up elsewhere, get first dibs at 12.15. Daughter, who is year 9 (12.30 is their appointed time at the mirrors) said she was in there leaning on the wall waiting for a friend, as the year 11s were there, leaning at the mirrors, re-touching, when a year 9 came in, and wiggled her way through to the mirrors to start wielding the mascara. As one, the year 11s stopped talking, and turned and looked at the year 9, who scuttled off. Once she'd gone, conversation, and re-touching, restarted.
Good grief. I can remember passing an older girl on the stairs in my time at school, pinned in to the corner by Miss Hansford the Dragon Art Mistress, being torn off a strip for wearing eye shadow. Girls caught would be marched off to sick bay to scrub their faces. Innocent as the dawn, spots all aglow, we would face the school day. Not a trace of mascara, not a whiff of lipgloss.
Told the girls this, who announced as one that if they were not allowed to wear make up, they would leave and find another school. They NEEDED make up, they both announced firmly. Reflected on the irony of this, as there they sat, dewy skinned both (well, the occasional spot, but nothing too terrible), bright eyed and glossy, not a square inch unmade up, opposite me, no longer dewy skinned and galloping towards fifty, pretty much in the same unmade state as I was at school, though now it is my wrinkles that face the day, all unadorned.