Holiday Makeup

When I was a kid, the women I admired the most were the ones who put make-up on first thing in the morning on weekends and holidays. This meant they saw themselves more as women than as cooking-cleaning-disciplining-yelling machines. With the makeup they were signaling that they wanted to be liked by men. This meant they were likely to smile more, scream less, and be easier-going. Kids automatically veered towards the make-up wearing ladies in the house because they were more open to playing with the kids or at least not as likely to police their every move.

Obviously, make-up isn’t necessary to be a happy woman and not a screeching harpy. But in the USSR, everything was designed to crush both womanhood and manhood. You needed to work hard to not feel like a sexless cog in a gigantic production machine. Men had their own rituals of maleness, just like the women had the weekend makeup.

If only you knew how hard it was to get makeup in the USSR. The fact of being willing to use the precious, rare substances when nobody outside of your family would see you signaled that you valued the private space over the public. And that was. . .not in keeping with the ruling ideology, let’s put it that way.

6 thoughts on “Holiday Makeup

      1. I second Avi. That sort of thing is not… even if we’ve read quite a lot about the soviet union, those are the sort of glimpses that make it real. History books tell you who the leaders were, and when the wars started and ended. They don’t tell you what it was like to be there.


  1. Almost makes me want to try it. Almost.

    We are not doing the Thanksgiving festivities until tomorrow, as various family are working for the holiday. But this makes me want to wear nice clothes for the occasion 🙂


  2. @ Clarissa
    I could never be sarcastic: I have no sense of humour!
    I love reading about your Soviet experiences. I used to be very left-wing in my youth: I was cured of it when I fell in with some refugees from the Soviet Union in Copenhagen, where I was living at the time. They told me so many things, they changed my life. I went back to London to study Russian and later became an interpreter and translator (Russian, Danish and Italian was my language combination).

    Liked by 1 person

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