My ex-boyfriend Topher* was one of the soundest sleepers I had ever met. He was the sort of person who required an earthquake, a marching band and the smell of coffee brewing to even consider waking up.
Every morning after 6 am, I would wriggle free of the covers — thankfully, Topher wasn’t much of a cuddler — and sneak off to the bathroom. I would hop in the shower, quickly, praying that the jets of water hitting my body wouldn’t be enough to stir him awake.
Topher and I always joked that while the living room was his domain — all his dumbbells, yoga mats and resistance bands were there — the bathroom was mine.
Accordingly, I stored the sink cabinets with IKEA buckets filled with lipsticks, foundation and eyeliner. Whatever didn’t fit in there, I put in the medicine cabinet. Once I could no longer close the doors, I’d throw it on the metal rack above the toilet.
Every morning, I would lean over the sink -- home to coffee mugs filled with eyeshadow brushes, Beautyblenders and Q-tips -- and began my routine.
First, came the primer. Then, I’d pat on the BB cream and translucent powder. Finally, a coat of mascara to lengthen my stubby lashes.
Then, I climbed back into bed with 15 minutes to spare before the alarm would buzz us both awake and Topher would lean over and ask if I would make him a cup of tea.
This was my everyday routine. When he awoke, it would look like my face just naturally looked this glowy, my skin this poreless, my lashes naturally flirty and long.
Topher never questioned it. He swore he loved me best with the “all natural look.” He promised seeing me without makeup was way hotter than watching me put on a red lip, apply falsies and contour my cheekbones.
What he didn’t know, however, is that my “no-makeup look” involved quite a few products. As far as he knew, however, I woke up like this.
It wasn’t just about him. Before we started dating and subsequently living together, I was the kind of girl who refused to even step foot outside if I didn’t have a full face of products on.
Going to buy groceries with my mom? That required lipstick. Going to class? I needed liquid highlighter.
My boyfriend and I no longer live together. In fact, we’re no longer together, period. But, single me still never leaves her apartment without her NARS Sheer Glow, even to walk my dog at 11 pm when there is virtually no one on the street.
My makeup has nothing to do with insecurity.
I can already imagine the commenters assuming that I either look like an ogre or feel like one.
I swear, I am not insecure about my skin, nose or even my lashes. Even on my worst day, I think — no, I know — I’m pretty.
Both men and women accuse us of hiding behind makeup. Reddit is littered with memes of YouTube beauty gurus, many high school-age, comparing their made-up selves to their naked faces.
According to them, you can't love makeup without being insecure.
I love illuminator for the way it makes me glow and eyeliner for the way it adds extra depth to my eyes. I do not think my face looks like utter sh*t without it.
I am confident. I consider myself intelligent, funny and pretty. I make a living telling women they are beautiful in their own skin. What kind of utter fraud would I be if I didn't believe the same for myself?
When I don't have makeup on, it's not a matter of feeling "ugly" or "lesser than." Makeup, to me, is the icing on my already perfectly delicious cake.
Sure, my cake doesn't need any icing because it's wonderful as is, but it gives it a little something extra, you know?
It's also a matter of completion. I like to line my t's and dot my i's, which makeup helps me do.
If a cute guy saw me on the street without my signature flushed cheeks and wing, he would be seeing a work-in-progress version of me.
It's not a matter of feeling uncomfortable in my skin, just a matter of not wanting to display what I find finished work.
Makeup is about sharing the very best version of myself.
I make it a point to wear makeup everywhere I go and at all waking hours. Yes, even if I'm home alone. After all, what if the delivery guy is cute?
According to a survey by skincare brand Flint + Flint, over half of women between the ages of 18 and 30 refuse to let their partner see them without makeup unless they've been dating for more than 12 months.
In other words, I am not alone.
For me, it has nothing to do with a fear a guy won't be attracted to me if he sees me without my face full of foundation.
It does, however, have to do with sharing the very best version of myself.
I don't want a love interest to see my face without makeup the exact same way I don't want him to see me snap at my parents or blackout when I'm drunk.
I want him to see the good in me and a filtered version of the bad. What's the crime in that?
He doesn't need to know that I have a birthmark on my temple or that my frown lines are already very much a thing.
Makeup is my f*cking war paint.
As a woman in the professional world, I'm constantly told to bow down, swallow my pride and take whatever it is that's thrown at me.
I don't know about you, but if I'm negotiating a raise or going on an interview (with a male supervisor, natch) I better have some f*cking red lipstick on.
If I'm headlining at a meeting, I better have my power brows on.
Lipstick and mascara help me face the world with a touch more sureness than I would have without it.
It's the same as women who insist on wearing heels. That one garment makes them feel like they can run the world. In my case, that one garment is a tube of NARS Schiap.
Look, I know my ex-boyfriend Topher loved me regardless of my affinity for winged liner.
I also know any man I date, sleep with or get serious with is going to find me irresistible with or without my bronzer.
It sure does help, though.
*Names have been changed.