In that moment, I discovered life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.
One sociology experiment in college changed the way I think about beauty. Each week we challenged one social expectation such as standing in an elevator backwards or simply being in a crowded space without moving. The most intense of these was one full day without looking at our reflection (for a girl in her heyday of makeup and frat parties, this was asking a lot).
I totally committed to the assignment, avoiding my reflection in bathroom faucets and windows. It was the first time I went without makeup in probably, years. I was driving around my old neighborhood and a car full of boys were making crazy noises. I remember thinking, “What’s going on?” The whole day I felt invisible without my “face on.” I was beginning to revel in the anonymity of it. It never occurred to me that their cat calls were directed at me.
Their hooting and hollering woke me up and I realized, I’m still here even without all that extra stuff. It was a wonderful revelation. I could stop trying so hard. I could feel the wind on my face and forget about smudging or retouching. The less I manufacture my image to the world, the more free I am in it.
Those teenage boys taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. Life can be much more fun without perfectly done makeup and high heels.
If you’re game, I invite you to try it – one day without looking at your reflection. I’d love to hear about your experiences below.