I have recently re-discovered eyeliner.
I'm probably a little slow on the get-go, here, since I'm 26, and the last time I was at the mall I saw these 10-year-olds who were more heavily made up than a Miss America contestant. But I'm a little on the uncoordinated side, and I've found that I do best with makeup that can't render me blind if I mess up.
I tried eyeliner a number of years ago. It was a bad thing, very bad. I was even pastier in my teens and early twenties than I am now, if you'll believe it, and I was clueless when it came to cosmetics. But I'd started reading Glamour magazine, and their makeup tips were pretty and colorful and they encouraged me. If this 14-year-old Brazilian model in the photographs can do it, I told myself, than so can I! It didn't occur to me at the time that the model probably couldn't do it either, and the makeup she was holding was probably a prop for the photos, and the photos were likely taken in between bits of work by a highly trained makeup artist.
But I was a little slow - I grew up in a pathetically small and isolated town, and I thought I could do it. I bought eyeliner. Charcoal black eyeliner. Did I mention how pale I was? And that I have blue eyes, and that my hair was at the time fairly light? And I bought black eyeliner. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Especially since Glamour was, at the time, spreading the rumor that any woman can wear red lipstick.
Suffice it to say that even my best, most practiced efforts left me looking like a Kabuki hooker.
A few years later, when I was about twenty or so, I decided to try again. I thought maybe it would be okay if I dropped the red lipstick. But I was still terribly pale, and horribly unskilled with an eyeliner pencil. If my hair had been darker I'd have looked goth. As it was, with the beret I'd decided to start wearing, I looked a bit like a mime. I am terrified of mimes and clowns. So once again I gave up on the idea of ever wearing eyeliner.
But recently (I'm a little slow as I said) I discovered Sephora, and I decided I needed to give eyeliner one more shot. I found a Sephora brand pencil in a pretty dark copper color. I practiced. I discovered I actually looked okay if I applied to my heart's content and then used a Q-Tip to remove 75-80% of what I'd put on. I actually looked pretty good, if I say so myself. I started wearing it almost every day, and I thought I looked terribly sophisticated and alluring.
Then one day, in a fit of hormone-fueled frustration, I ended up crying about something. I expected sympathy, at the very least, from my mother. What I didn't expect was the look of abject horror on her face.
"Jill! Are you okay?"
"Do I look like I'm okay?" was my mature, controlled response. Come on, Mom, I'm crying here!
"Your eyes are bleeding!" she said, shoving a fistful of Kleenex in my direction.
As it turns out, a big part of the pretty copper color was red pigment, and my tears mixed with the eyeliner to form a rather convincing-looking sort of fake blood. I had to take my contacts out and clean them and spend a good ten minutes removing the red streaks from my eyes and face.
Oh, well. Maybe I'll try again in a few years.