Lily of the Valley

At a certain age many women won’t leave their home without a partial social mask called makeup. Maybe tinted moisturizer and lip shimmer. Maybe the whole deal with shadow and mascara and real lipstick. Even in the grocery store or out walking the dog, that minor skim of cover marks a woman as someone who cares about herself. And we won’t even mention appearing in public without filling those pierced ear openings. Decades in the professional workforce stamp expectations that are hard to erase.

So sitting around each morning with my beautiful book club women sans makeup produced a gentle intimacy like sisters at home together. Pale or blotchy, dry or oily, we were comfortable in our skin with each other. There were wonderful topics to discuss while lounging in bright morning sunshine and slurping at the first cup of coffee or second cup or third before anyone grabbed their concealer or powder. I’ve become sensitive to grooming of neighbor women who stop by to visit and feel honored by those who arrive with hair brushed and a clean, natural face.

When I started writing this, I thought it was a small thing, this vulnerability of being comfortable with others without wearing makeup. But even using the word ‘vulnerability’ implies some risk taking in showing a natural face, social messages that are defied about how women should look. I’ll let others take those on. If you enjoy the tubes and pots and powders, I understand. But don’t ever feel like you have to pass me by if you’re just looking like yourself without the polish.


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