"Woah, wait a f*cking second," my ex from long ago, Luisa*, exclaimed, studying my freshly made-up face. Her eyes scanned across my cheekbones, examining me like she was choosing an avocado in the f*cking grocery store.
I crossed my arms and rolled my mascara-ed eyes. I knew what was coming. Here we go.
"What is that sh*t on your nose?!" she pressed, pointing an aggressive finger in my face.
"FRECKLES!" I shouted, ready to explode. (FYI: Pent up years of holding in feelings will make an adult woman very, very reactive in her adult relationships, kittens.) "I drew them on. I like them, and frankly, I don't give a f*ck if you don't."
My blood boiled as I reached into my purse and slabbed on an extra layer of dark purple, glittery lip MAC gloss in defiance.
"They look ridiculous," Luisa sighed, shooting daggers through her eyes.
Her disapproving gaze sent shards of red hot rage through my entire body. She raised one perfectly arched eyebrow and declared, "You can't leave the house like that," as if she was the reigning style queen of the free world.
A few months later, we broke up.
The other day, I was picking out pictures to use for my Tinder profile. There is nothing on the planet worse than choosing a Tinder profile picture. It really sends you flying down the identity crisis shame spiral.
"How do I make myself look dateable?" I critically asked myself while attempting to find at least one semi-normal picture of myself (i.e., one in which I wasn't clutching champagne surrounded by boys in faux fur and glitter).
Finally, I stumbled upon a selfie that I didn't hate. The only problem? I'm wearing a very bold, very intimidating violet lipstick.
I mean, I don't find it intimidating (It's a f*cking COLOR. How is a f*cking COLOR scary?), but my friend Vanessa took one look at me the first day I wore it and said, "Well, I wouldn't f*ck with you in that lip color." And she's a bad bitch.
I thought, Hmm. Should I not use this intimidating lip picture as the first photo in my Tinder lineup?
I'm not looking to scare off potential dates before they even have a chance to know me. Can't we wait until the first date to do that? At least I have the chance to charm them before they go home and Google me, only to realize that I write about faking orgasms and having meltdowns on the Internet.
Then, I decided, F*CK THAT. Seriously. F*ck that. And f*ck you if you don't like my dark lipstick (or my articles about having a lot of feelings and a loaded past, for that matter. I'm proud of them). Because the truth is, you would be so lucky to have my $52 Tom Ford lipstick kisses on your body.
I'm not going to water down my style, my fierce makeup or glamorous aesthetic for anyone anymore. I'm officially retiring from that position. And if I really, really think about it, when I'm SINGLE, my style and makeup are a hell of a lot better than when I'm in a relationship. And that's because I keep cuffing with people who are threatened by my individuality and creativity.
I'm DONE playing that game. The people-pleasing party is over. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
Because I love makeup with every fiber of my being. I went to the f*cking HARVARD of makeup schools (MUD in SoHo -- I highly recommend it) when I was 23 because I loved makeup so intensely. Makeup is my art.
I love drawing an innocent smattering of freckles across my nose with my Top Shop freckle pencil. My mother used to do it when she was a badass London model in the '70s, and I think of it as a sort of homage to my younger, fiercer, impossibly cool mum. She's a classic blonde bombshell and never gave a flying f*ck what anyone thought.
And the man she finally settled down with was my dad. And he loved her because of her edgy, imaginative, trendsetting style. And he's cool as hell (I would be lucky to meet a girl half as cool as my dad).
Unlike the rest of the moms on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, she didn't have an affair with the pool boy or feel like a repressed housewife or become addicted to Valium. YOU KNOW WHY? Because she married someone who let her be her badass, authentic, fashion diva self.
If I really think about it, this is the deeper question: If my mom didn't water her makeup down for a man, why the f*ck would I do it for a woman? Ew. No. Never.
As my best friend Ruba and I kept drunkenly saying to each other this New Year's Eve, "There is a NEW Sheriff in town this year. And she doesn't take sh*t from people."
So yes, this is the year of Zara embracing her makeup with a reckless abandon. I'm going to purchase as many "intimidating" statement lipsticks as my writer's salary can afford.
I will draw large, fake-looking freckles across my nose because I THINK it looks retro and cool. Most importantly, it makes me feel like a piece of my mum is with me at all times. And I will continue to fill in my brows as drag-ish as I so please, even if it means getting Internet bullied like I did after posting this article.
Even if it means I'm single for the rest of my damn life, I would rather die alone, authentic in my "fake freckles" and violet lipstick, than marry anyone who has a problem with that.
*Name has been changed