A little context would be nice

Have you ever noticed, that all of the online and magazine tutorials that are meant to teach you how to apply makeup, assume you already know all about how to apply makeup?

"Dust some translucent sifted neutrals across your highlights," they say, "for that perky Poughkipsie-girl look! Or for evening, try a deeper harmonizing tone (a coral-y brown for autumns, mauve undertones for spring) drawn down the center of your ridgeline with a 1/4" whelk-whisker slant-tip details pointer ($45 on clearance at Sephora)."

This is not a goddamn help. It effectively locks out people who missed all the standard girl-lessons while growing up, and are now the first (or only) person in their circle who wants to start learning this stuff. I write this stuff assuming most of the interested parties are women, because statistically that's my better bet, but it's even worse on guys. Unless you know someone in the theater, or a non-geeky girl, it's near-impossible for a dude to get effective lessons on face-painting.

I gather that most people get instruction from this from, say, their mothers, or older cousins, or something. Nobody told me nothin' until I was fifteen. Another girl from school offered to teach me -- in retrospect she was probably worried that I'd take offense, but I just figured it would be a good thing to know, and it's not like I was getting any help at home. Her name was Terri, and I wish I could remember the rest, because I'd love to see what's happened to her over the past decade. She wasn't a particularly close friend, but I liked her; she had a penchant for flouting idiot rules, which her mother (4'9" and career Army) generally supported her on. (I particularly remember the time the school sent Terri home to change because jeans with holes in the knees were "too revealing". She came back wearing hot pants.)

More to the point, Terri was a teenage beauty queen, and her aunt, the ex-teenage beauty queen, sold Mary Kay. Terri was bright enough to translate all of the damn instructions into English for me, and foodhardy enough to help me the one and only time I've ever dyed my hair. (Semi-permanent, six weeks until it washed out -- and it took two boxes.) The Mary Kay samples she gave me are long gone, and I have every color of eyeshadow short of canary yellow and electric green now, but she's still the only person I ever met who knew how to put makeup on the pasty blue-eyed redhead without making it look like clown paint.

I suppose if anyone has any questions, now would be the time to ask. I tend to bootstrap myself into stuff like this -- once I learn the lingo, I can learn damn near anything else. I'm just unnaturally good at learning lingo.


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