Alright, before anything else: KISS and Makeup

For a long time, I said I wouldn’t blog.  Why would I bother? I always thought.  I’m in the process of finishing one novel (now done, someone please, help me out here), writing another, teaching two comp classes, and keeping a grad school library running smoothly.  I don’t have time for it.

But I saw something today while shopping with my wife, and that – well, a couple of things – has me sitting here tapping away.

Something #1:

Catherine, my stunningly hot wife (I say this with no irony or sarcasm whatsoever- the woman is beautiful, sexy as hell, and everything I think of when I think “woman” – but I’ll get there), bought a book today at Border’s by a woman named Jen Lancaster called Bright Lights, Big Ass.  It’s hysterically funny and you should read it, but in that book, she makes mention of her husband getting excited over a new vacuum cleaner.  This would have gone mostly unnoticed if something else hadn’t happened about two hours later: Catherine sent me to Target to pick up a vacuum cleaner that was on sale.  Crazy sale.  And I can appreciate money well spent, because I love spending money.  So off I went, braving other bargain shoppers, discovering our new vacuum and hoisting the box into the crook of my arm, letting it lean over my shoulder like a rifle.  And as I stood there in line, thinking that it was actually a pretty cool vacuum, and then actually becoming excited to use it, the coincidence actually tickled me and it’s that kind of thing that usually sets me on the path of a writing a new short story, only this time, I decided to do this instead.

Something #2:

We were at Ulta so Catherine could update her eyeliner.  For those of you who don’t know, Ulta is like a freaking Toys ‘R Us for the female of the species.  It sounds cliched to say that I didn’t know so many kinds of makeup even existed, but Jesus, it’s totally insane. 

So as we’re moving up and down the aisles and I’m amusing myself by picking up all of the things in cool, sleek black and silver packages (I find it relatively easy to amuse myself), I hear a woman and her husband arguing an aisle over.  Actually, I hear her say, “I’m just looking.  Can’t I look?”  She said it with a smile on her face, but her voice was wound pretty tight with frustration.  Her husband, a lumbering, stocking-hatted stump of a guy, was following her, muttering and bitching as she filled a basket with who-knows-what (it also takes me a bit to get these various creams, lotions, applicators, all of it, straight).  A few minutes later, we found ourselves in line behind them.  As they checked out and she presented her frequent shopper/rewards/bonus points/gold coins card, he shook his head in disbelief at what she was buying, and glanced up.  We made eye contact, and – here’s what did it – he gave me a look that hoped for commisseration.  He started to roll his eyes, give me a women-can-you-believe-them look, before I looked away and he went back to regarding his wife or girlfriend or whomever she was with something between amusement and contempt. 

Here’s my deal: I don’t get this.  The exasperation that men seem to feel regarding “girl stuff” (I’ll think of better terms as soon as I can, I promise) is beyond my understanding.  Look at the facts:

1. Any man who is going to judge you for being in a makeup amusement park with a woman who is clearly your wife or girlfriend is not going to mistake you for gay.  They’re not going to think that because of your proximity to Urban Decay or Bare Minerals that you’re secretly lusting for your moment to wear such brands, either shamefully or proudly.  

2. Odds are that a man who is truly going to dwell on why you’re there or what it might say about him…might have some Playgirl issues to work out himself. 

And, perhaps most simply, 3. Your wife or girlfriend is buying makeup.  Makeup.  For her face and body.   To look younger, prettier, put-together, something, anything, whatever.  Regardless of the specifics: don’t guys want their women to look good?  Aren’t you, as a heterosexual man, going to ultimately reap the benefits by being in the company of an attractive woman?

I’m a child of the Seventies.  Which means that, as many others are, I am unapologetically a KISS fan.   More on this later, including my three-year-old suspicion that Ace, Paul, Gene and Peter just might be from another planet as Marvel Comics suggested, but this encounter at Ulta made me think of something that Gene Simmons said in the days before he fell in love with plastic surgery and reality TV.  When asked by an interviewer why he liked groupies, he said something to the effect of: Because they take pains to make themselves look hot.  And because I like to have sex with women, I like women to look like women. 

You can add me to that number.  Does this mean that I believe a woman should go around pushed into corsets and sporting expensive, porn-shop garter belts under her power suits?  Of course not.  That’s what separates a normal person like me from a guy like Gene Simmons: he’s been conditioned to expect that.  I would never expect such a thing – in fact, Catherine and I routinely laugh about how over-sexified the models in the Frederick’s catalogs appear, and how it almost crosses a bizarro line from sexy to anti- in the space of a few pages. 

But why in the hell would a guy complain over his wife buying makeup, of all things?  Would you rather she gave up and spent that money on Buffalo Chicken Twister Wraps at KFC?  No – though you might not admit, brother-man, you wouldn’t.  Because I guarantee that the guys bitching about the way their girls spend money at Ulta would be the first ones to cry foul if their girls just gave up on how they looked.   But this seems to elude.  Content to rely on one of the oldest cliches in the gender world – a woman’s desire to shop – these dudes are happy to misplace their masculinity and make tools of themselves in public.  

And, as my wife pointed out in the parking lot, tucking her bag of Ulta goodies into her purse, those guys might have gotten laid if they hadn’t acted like such jackasses.  Pity.

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~ by thismarriedguy on January 12, 2009.

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