When I was in 6th grade my friend Maureen would come over to my house everyday. We would then walk to school together. Maureen always had two bags with her. One contained her school books and papers, the other contained outfit #2 and her makeup. She would duck into my bathroom and transform herself into the young slutastic fun girl that I wanted to be. She'd beg me to put on makeup as well, she'd hold out her horrendous palettes of drug store colors. The only two groups wearing Maybelline China Blue eyeliner were middle school girls, and test rabbits with crusty eyes locked away in a Midwestern research lab.
My mother left for work early and returned home long after school let out. I was a 1980's latch-key kid in it's purest form. An empty home from 7:30 am- 5:30 pm. Luke and Laura's torrid relationship was the backdrop to my homework. Maureen loved my house and utilized it to every advantage that she could. She could never understand why I did not want to exploit my single-parent home for all that I could. I was allowed to wear blush and Love's Baby Soft perfume. Nothing more. I feared my mother, and was convinced that she would discover my inner makeup craving slut and punish me for all eternity.
Carter has just recently discovered the joys of makeup. She has been toying with lip gloss for about a year now. We all know that the gloss is just a gateway drug to the hard stuff. Once she had a taste of that plasticy floral fruit smear, she was good to go. She pines for makeup with a larger ferocity than I did at that age. She wears a uniform to school so she is quick to latch onto anything that makes her stand out a bit differently than the other girls. Last year it was funky headbands, this year it is makeup. What is next? Tattoos? Piercings?
She came down wearing smudged black eyeliner the other day and I had a heart attack. Even the slightest amount under her 12 year old eyes made her look 16 and dirty. Not dirty in a filthy way, but dirty as in a plaid skirt wearing schoolgirl that leaf-blowing landscapers would pay money to see eat a lollipop. Dark and petulant, mysterious and oh so naughty. I get enough nasty looks from her as it is, I don't need them accented with a color swatch of attitude. I sent her back upstairs and told her to wipe it off. She stomped her foot and yelled "MOM", and tore off into her room in a rage.
As a conciliatory gesture I went to Bath and Body works today and bought her a cloying scent that she would love and a few tubes of lip gloss. Three for $10. Glossy colors that will fade off of her lips by 9:30 am, and she gets to smell like a rotten honeydew for 1/2 hour. Hopefully the bright colors and seductive names will hold her off until she takes on the eyeliner battle again. I am not willing to relent.....not quite yet.