I was getting ready for a party last week and decided I needed false eyelashes.
I also needed someone to apply them for me, because in the law of lashes, the first lash you apply yourself goes on beautifully, and the second will have you poking your own eye out until you give up exasperated.
I ducked into a MAC counter and was greeted by the most wonderful sales assistant. He had a buff gym body, with very impressive biceps, tattoos creeping all the way up his neck, and a full face of impeccable makeup, including emerald green gloss eye shadow.
“What type of lashes do you want?” he enquired. “Well, like yours really,” I replied, because his makeup was superb.
“Oh I have two sets on today,” he said, so we decided I only really needed one and then we had a very nice conversation about Dita Von Teese and Marilyn Manson and how much we loved their respective makeup looks.
I find it an absolute treat to go into stores such as MAC and Sephora which have long championed the LGBTQI community and made the world of makeup so inclusive.
From the court of Versailles, to Jagger to Bowie, Robert Smith from The Cure, Kurt Cobain, any amount of Goths, glam-rock bands and cabaret performers, I just love men in makeup.
Being a makeup junkie and an ex-beauty editor who finds it physically and emotionally impossible to walk past any beauty counter without trying at least four products, I’ve always loved to chat to the makeup artists, and the guys who have the chutzpah to be rocking a Cher look at 10am.
Makeup is transformative and fun, but when it is non-binary, it is also subversive and sexy.
I was making up a flatmate of mine years ago for the Mardi Gras parade, and he wanted to go as Virginia Woolf. We knew we had set ourselves a task as he got into his sombre cotton frock and wool shawl, and I pulled out the grey eye shadow, but voilà – a bit of shading and Virginia he was.
It looked so fetching we decided he should wear it all the time, but 20 years ago, that would have been a brave move.
I’d love to see more and more men in makeup, just as an everyday event. I was thrilled to be served by a young bartender with long blonde hair and eyeliner and nude lip-gloss the other day, he looked like young and pretty David Lee Roth.
How cool if you went into the motor registry office and the clerk looked like Joel Grey in Cabaret or your electrician turned up in Aladdin Sane makeup.
African and Indian cultures have long embraced men in makeup, and I’m hoping it will become a global trend. I am not someone who thinks going makeup-free is liberating. More like depressing, really.
If the entire world wore eyeliner and a touch of blush, I think we’d get along better.