Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cosmetics and women

I was amazed to read today that the average woman spends 5 days a year looking into her mirror to put on her make-up. In a lifetime, a woman may spend an average of 46,000 pounds on cosmetics. This means that some women must be spending around 2,000 pounds a year on make up, or more.

They should put it into their pension, if Castiglione is to be believed, in "The Courtier". He writes a short essay on make-up for women (dated 1512) which should be classroom reading for girls, today. It explains why if one must wear make-up, it should be invisible. He says this is so because the essence of beauty is "nonchalance" and one cannot be nonchalant while thinking about one's face or appearance. He also says that what men really fear is "being deceived" and that is just what make-up is intended to achieve. So make-up intensifies fear.

As for putting on one's make-up in public, as some women do on the train to London, nothing for Castiglione could be more destructive of the image of a beautiful woman. To show in public how much one cares, undermines the whole thing, and probably turns the heart of any spectator cold too. Men see the deception and the vanity, and other women just feel irritation.

I wonder what Joan Collins would say in reply?

"Well, dear, that would be just fine and dandy if every women looked even moderately good without any lipstick on, or most women had any confidence at all that without make up, they would not resemble the back of a bus....dull, square and often red".

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