Monday, August 15, 2011

All made up

Boy-o has, of late, developed a love of my make-up. 

It started in Winnipeg - came to the bathroom with me in a restaurant and watched intently as I reapplied some lipstick.  He asked for some too.  Why not?  So on it went, and he ran back to the table his Nannie and sister were sitting at, yelling at the top of his lungs that: "Mama shared her lipstick with me!" and freaking out several nearby senior citizens, whose eyes bore holes into my back.  Small price to pay for such a happy child, I'd say.

Since then, he sits transfixed as I open up my 'toolkit' and apply my make-up in the morning - asking questions about various tools of the trade with as much vigour as he asks L. about her hammers and drills and what they do.   Curious about my girlification rituals, the plucking, the shaving, the make-up, the lotion, the hair accessories.  And why not?  These are rituals that for the most part, I love.  And the natural extension of this curiosity has been Boy-o asking to put on make-up too. 

I let him put on powder, blush, or lipstick, but draw the line at eyeliner and mascara.  I'd like to keep his eyeballs where they should be, with vision abilities intact.  This has proved a delightful exercise for both of us.  Boy-o feels so special in his 'prettified' face, pursing his lips and putting a little swagger in his walk.  (I wonder if i do this too?!).  He has told me things like: "Mama, this make-up is making me feel so happy!", and one day at lunchtime, he pretended his broccoli was a brush for applying blush and proceeded to be the 'make-up artist' for himself, his sister and I.  Green blush all around.

For the most part, I am choosing to emphasize to both my tots that things I do in my 'beautification routine' like shaving, tweezing and make-up are grown-up choices.  That some people choose to do these things like mama, and some people choose not to do these things, like mommy.  I refuse to gender these choices.  I refuse to tell Boy-o that make-up is for girls only.  Because I don't believe it is, nor do I believe it should be.  And when the rest of the world parrots this shit back to him, I will repeat what I repeat about so, so many things.  Everyone has different beliefs and makes different choices.  Some people believe that boys shouldn't wear make-up or wear dresses.  Mama and Mommy believe that people need to do what makes them 'happy in their heart.' That difference is what makes us all beautiful.

For now, Boy-o has infomed me that he wouldn't really like to shave his legs.  Particularly since he sees his mama (who is iin all ways clumsy and uncoordinated) cut herself on a regular basis.  The make-up is fun for now.  A special treat for special occasions.   And that's fine with me.  Whatever happens in the future will be up to Boy-o, and his heart.

And the neighbourhood starers? 

They're just going to have to suck it up.

**I am highly aware that this post on the heels of the post about Girlio and femininity rituals seems a bit disjointed.  Yes.  I am a disjointed kinda girl.  Yes, I will fully admit to being more comfortable with my son experienting in my 'feminine' rituals than my daughter.  I could tongue-in-cheekily tell you that I am tying to turn my son gay, mostly because that is how the world outside of my wll insulated existence will read this.  But really, (of course) any person with sense in their head would (and should) read this as a deep-seated desire to let my children be who they will be, free from the societal garbage that insists that there is nothing more for them than princess and power ranger. 


  1. I couldn't agree more. My soon to be 3 year old son rocks toe polish, nail polish, lipstick, blush and sparkles from time to time. Why wouldn't he want to after watching Mama AND two big sisters?! He also looks as fab as the girls in dance attire, princess costumes and all sorts of other 'made up' outfits that, as you said make his heart happy. Boy, girl, gay, straight....are you kidding me?! There are SO many other worries in my mind. Happy heart(s)....that's where it's at.

  2. my brother, who ADORED his big sis (naturally), loved playing dress up with me complete with make up and hair barrettes when we were smalls. He loved the attention and getting to be apart of something that I did. We have wonderful memories of that creative play.