Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Public or Private?


On an ordinary day, I get into a crowded train, find a seat and I wait for the train to start. When I look up, I see a young girl across from me with all her makeup piled on her lap. Not acknowledging her surroundings, she concentrates on making her eyelashes perfect with her mascara. Now this is something ordinary I see on the train or anywhere a girl can sit and do her own things.

When I say ordinary, I mean I'm quite used to seeing this and most of the time I never question why these girls apply makeup in public. Although I don't apply makeup in public, I feel like our generation has become so busy that we have to incorporate activities into others in order to get past the daily schedule on time. But I wonder, are we busy or do we just have time management problems?

On another day, I get on the same train except with my father and immediately after we sit down he leans into me and whispers, "See that girl over there?" I look up and of course there's a lot of girls, so I reply, "Which one?" My father sort of looks at me surprised and says, "The one putting makeup on! I better not see you doing that in public." I smile and promise never to do so and we go onto our normal conversations.

On the same day I have a talk with an elderly woman and she's raging over the fact that girls do their makeup in front of the "whole world." She raises her voice and says, "Applying makeup in public is the same as getting dressed in front of everyone and it should be done at home. Whether you have the time or not." I realize that makeup is part of dressing and I quietly walk off while she chattered about the whole topic to another person.

How far can we go when it comes to applying makeup in public? I think if a woman needs to reapply lipstick it's not so bad, but if she needs to perfect all of her makeup then she should go to the restroom to do so. Some of my guy friends say that they find it uncomfortable to see girls doing their whole routine, the funny faces we make just disturbs them. Others find it amusing, some even attractive. But I have never heard of anyone saying girls should do it in public, so I guess it's best if we keep makeup "behind the scenes."

55 comments:

The Clothes Horse said...

I don't really see why girls "shouldn't" do it in public, it is really not the same as getting dressed. At the same time I feel really shy applying it in public. Especially lipstick, I think because that can look very suggestive...

La Femme Chic said...

I agree with you completely! I remember in 5th grade, my English teacher was a major germaphobe, and so she would always talk about how unsanitary it was to apply makeup in public. I just find it really strange to watch someone put makeup on in class or on the bus.

Betsey said...

This is interesting..I've never thought that putting on make up in public could be offensive to anyone. I've done it on the train before, and the man next to me simply seemed amused. he asked how i was putting on mascara without poking my eye out. haha! But i guess I can see how it might make some people uncomfortable...

*N* said...

Love your post! Its funny how all barriers between public and private are slowly deteriorating. Before cell phones a phone conversation was a private matter. Now a phone is an accessory and people brazenly walk around having even the most personal conversations on the phone in very public places.
I take the metro to work every morning, and sometimes because I'm generally rushing I ususally dont have time to put make up on before I leave the house. Which has gotten me into the habit of applying my make up on the train. If I'm applying my make up on the train i generally look for an empty car, or else I just wait until I get to work. I'd rather go without make up than have someone watching me put it on. The one time I put make up on with someone else in the train, there was one other person in the train, and I felt as if he was watching me the whole time. Applying make up is a daily ritual for me, but I feel like it's a private matter that should not be seen by the world.

S said...

Personally I would never put on make-up in public, but I don't mind that some people do.
Great, intelligent post as usual!

Fabulously Broke said...

I ranted about this a while back. I find it inappropriate, but others don't seem to mind. Mixed reviews I guess

I'm linking this

fashion herald said...

it doesn't bother me; usually i think oh, she's running late. the whole face, every day is a little much. but if it's just mascara, lipstick, fine. and please, people, no nail cutting (yes, saw a guy pull out nail clippers and snip away on the subway - GROSS).

LuLu124 said...

lol i totally agree!! a bit of a lip touch-up or a pat of powder is no problem with me, but if someone hasn't done their makeup at all and starts from the beginning to the end in a public place, i find it a bit tacky xD xoxo, lulu

KiKi said...

i never tend to leave the house without makeup ow i don't mean eyeshadow and mascara and all but i mean my base you know like my face washed conceler underneath the eyes and some powder bushed n. i don't see anything wrong with putting makeup on in public but i just don't do it or relly never need too

LaCouturier said...

mm this is really interesting! i was actually having a convo with my mom about this on the train a while back when this girl was doing her entire makeup regimen with ALL anna sui products on her lap.
i think a little lip gloss touch up here & there is fine, but a full make up session should be left for home. wouldn't you rather have the guys around you think that you look gorg "naturally"?

la-couturier.blogspot.com :)

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

i think a quick touch-up is ok if it's lipstick, but when you're sitting there covering up zits, that's not pleasant for anyone. i once saw a girl PLUCKING HER EYEBROWS in the dining hall in college. it seriously scarred me for life.

1234 said...

i would never put any makeup on in public, i find that whenever i see girls who do, i immediately get an impression of trashy-ness or phonie-ness. like as if they care too much or whatever.

Paris said...

Oh yes, keep it private, that way people think that you just roll out of bed fabulous.

Sometimes, my boyfriend and I will leave for an outing very early in the morning and so i'll do my make up in the car - even then i feel exposed and if he stops at a red light and someone pulls up beside us, i'll stop!xx

Lil' Puch said...

Fantastic post, I'm one of those girls that get their makeup at home or at the rest room at work, because I get a little embarrased of people starring at me while I get my face on. Dear I just added you to my favorite blogs' list, You have an amazing blog!!

AusAnna said...

Hmmm. I guess it depends on how you feel. Its a personal decision. I would never personally do it. Great post!!

enc said...

I vote for private, but that's just me.

Minjae said...

First of all, thanks for stopping by The Baggage Claim! I added you to the blog roll of "Other Baggage Handlers." ;)

Also, it's so funny that you happened to blog about this particular topic! I just took a sneaky pic of these two ladies maneuvering their mascara while gossiping on the metro - would have been perfect for this post haha. See here: http://www.onepictureperday.com/post/44803186/morning-commute

chuckles said...

Sure, I would love to exchange links with you... I already added your blog.

I think you can do touch ups in public like putting on a lip gloss and a bit of powder but applying mascara is another thing...

Loving the blog!

HANUHGEE said...

hahaha, what an interesting post. i've never really though about that ... well, maybe because where i live no one puts on much makeup. or maybe because we don't have trains here.

thank you! :)
well, just wondering, how on earth did you find my blog? no one ever sees my blog. except my sister. if you don't mind me asking.

Sharon Rose said...

I personally think it should be done at home, but each to their own!!

workthatwardrobe said...

I think the act of making up in public requires supreme confidence. I, for one, have never applied anything other than top-up lipstick on in public. I agree it is like dressing in public. There needs to be a little mystery and magic to the process.

girl on the wing said...

Hey, thanks for the comment - would love to swap links, I'll add you now!

Oh god, I'm terrible - I'm always having to apply make up in the car/on the bus/on a park bench (!), partly because I'm always in a rush but also partly because make up refuses to stay on my face for long.

I feel awkward about it and I'd rather not do it if I had the choice, but feeling awkward about a couple of strangers seeing me put on a bit of make up on the bus is a price I'm willing to pay in exchange for being able to get off the bus looking a bit more presentable!

atelier said...

I don't like making myself up in public, mostly because I am used to have weird faces when I am doing it and I prefer nobody to see it.

Arielle said...

I think i would feel a little awkward if I tried to do all of my make up in public but it's definitely not the same as getting dressed in public sometimes there just isn't enough time in the morning to do everything you need to do

Boutique Girl said...

Thanks for the comments on my blog, I have added you to my blog list, it would be great if you did the same?

thepreppyprincess said...

What an absolutely fabulous topic! I love it!

Lipstick? Yes
Mascara? No.
What's the diff? I don't know.

I can hear Mother saying the same thing as someone else's father, along the lines of "I hope I never see you doing that in public... a Lady would never do that in public."

You know, in the same category as so many other things that "just aren't done" with no other explanation. I think there's also something about the proximity to you of the person applying the makeup. If they are within inches, ew! The more removed the less the offense in my mind.

But on the grand scale of Public Personal Hygiene Offenses, this is nowhere near the top. The nail clippers, and other things already mentioned far outrank mascara!
TP

Vintage Vinyl said...

I don't know about putting makeup in public. It is fine for those who don't have the time in the morning, but I say, why do it in public if you can do it at home?

Sal said...

Seems like something that should be confined to home and/or the restroom. It doesn't offend me to see women applying in public, but it perplexes me a little. How good can it really look if you're doing it on a moving train.

Drivers who apply while fighting the morning traffic, on the other hand, should be kicked in the head. That's just dangerous.

Copycat Sasha said...

I honestly don't see why girls shouldn't apply makeup in public, but at the same time I can't understand how they do it without a mirror! I

Copycat Sasha said...

BTW I've linked to you! I love your blog!

Claire.x. said...

I would never do my whole make-up routine in public... but if the train is reasonably empty I will re-apply bronzer or lipgloss or whatever :]

For some reason I would be far to embarrassed to do so if the train was crowded though!!
-x-

i think thats hauttte said...

wow i havent actually thought about that. sincei dont wear any makeup yet myself, i don't think about makeup too often, but i wouldnt apply it in public. it would make me feel too stressed out and unprepared!

J e s s i c a said...

I agreeee !
I hate seeing people do this especially in traffic. When i drive to work i see atleast 2 ladies doing this. I mean why can't they take two minutes more and do it at home.
Good post !

dalia said...

applying makeups in publics is gross. especially on the subway. i am amazed at how many women i see do this - the mascara fascinates me, btw - after touching dirty railings or sitting in questionable seats next to questionable people. i'm no germaphobe, but i barely like to put on chapstick on public transit.

i sense there's also sort of danger factor, the potential of being nudged or bumped while applying, or perhaps if the vehicle were to stop suddenly, sending all of one's supplies skittering across a very dirty floor.

icky!

Make Do and Mend said...

I'm thinking home - honestly I just stare and then want to comment on what they've done...

HANAGiE said...

oh definitely! your blog is very amusing, i love to read blogs as well. heehee.

oh, btw, you lived in Japan? wow. that must be incredible. i would love to visit Japan one day. their culture seems very rich. and i would love to see some harajuku girls! japanese street fashion is amazing.

Toni Alexis said...

seems ok to me in public. i mean people practically have conversations in public. there was a similiar article in the August Vogue with kate moss on the cover!

xoxo

Beauty Confessional said...

I see it all the time in london. I saw a lady the other day applying concealer and false lashes. I was amazed that she did it on a moving train using only a little mirror

Mrs. C said...

wow nice post, im also a little bit in the middle on this. i think applying lipstick in public is fine, but everything else should be done in private.

thanks for visiting my blog! id be glad to exchange links =)

http://pursuitingstyle.blogspot.com

lisa said...

Interesting topic! I've seen some women do their makeup on the bus day in and day out. It's not something I'd be comfortable doing, but hey, whatever works.

The Seeker said...

A very very interesting question and thoughts.

I gave you a “diamond”… check my blog for details ;)

xoxo

strikeapose said...

Oh.. I definitely agree with you. It's so classless doing it in public.

Anonymous said...

omg!!this is so funny as i had a strange ordeal this morning!!i am one of those people o put on their whole make up on d train..from foundation to lipstick, eyeshadow u know the whole works!!this morning i was minding my business and putting on my make up and this old guy and his wife(tourists) were looking at me with disgust!!i just laughed in their faces and continued with my make-up...putting on make-up is not the same thing as dressing up!!!its is not injurious to the next ndividual so i dont see why anyone cannot put on their make-up in public..its not like i am flashing my boobs or anything!!for me putting on my make-up on d train is time management..instead of wasting time at home to do it i can do it on my train ride when i have nothing to do...so people who eat on the train,use their laptops e.t.c is it time management problems too?NO!!!you can get a lot if things done while on a train ride!!!!

Crispy Banana said...

I get it, and I can appreciate why the older woman, an older generation, would think it is so private. Wearing makeup has an allure, and that allure can be destroyed when a man sees it applied. It also generally seems kind of gross to do it on public transportation, liquids and powders and such all over the place, and your hands pick up so many germs from the time you leave your house to the time you get to where you travel on.

I get it.

DeNae said...

I really think that women often times wear to much make when they don't need any. anf what is the point of putting the make up on if people already saw you without the bronzer or eyeliner.

Robyn said...

Hi fashionaddict,

I can't even put my lipstick on in public...I made the mistake of doing that once and my grandmother said 'real ladies don't reapply lipstick in public!' I think it's part of that allure, and appearing already perfect in public...if everyone sees you putting on makeup, it's like you're revealing your tricks to them.

(and I'm really sorry about the late reply - I haven't been blogging lately because cold weather = same boring outfit every day. I would love to do a link swap!)

- Robyn

♥ Marta ♥ said...

When I see girls doing that it kinda grosses me out ... I think it is way tooo private and should be done at home, unless a quick touch up - then a washroom is a better idea. I also think that it is slightly rude and inconsiderate on their part :D

angelgrotton said...

of course, privat )))

yiqin; said...

I don't mind if girls apply makeup in public too! I just don't want to see anyone etting dressed :/

chic-fille said...

I think it is a little vain to apply make up in public; not sure why though. Some girls in my class spend the whole time applying make up during lessons and in the school loos at lunch. Seriously, they need to get a life! And I've linked you :)

SarahLovesFashion said...

I feel uncomfortable when other girls do their make up in public and would never dream of doing it myself. That old lady was right, it IS like getting dressed. I do mine in the morning along with getting dressed and doing my hair, if i need to touch up I'll go to the ladies to do so. Doing it in public would make me feel like i'm drawing attention to the fact that I'm trying to look good with my face and would make me feel vain. But I guess a lot of girls today have a lot of confidence don't give a damn what people think. The worst tho is when women do it at the table in resturants and such.

Anonymous said...

I agree...make-up should be applied at home. Nobody wants to see your crap from your bathroom lying across your lap. My momma raised me right!

GDW said...

SO true!

and thanks for the compliment id love to link with you
:)

lovelierlala said...

I'm one of those make-up in train type girls...well, actually if I ran out of time to do so at home I apply my mascara in the train. but that's just it. I once saw a girl do the whole face, she looked gorgeous afterwards and I was amazed by her skills. but still felt it was a bit too much and it made me think she should get out of bed 15 min earlier. I don't wear much make-up so mascara often will do for my daily routine and I see no harm in doing that in public.

Annie said...

I agree. I saw in Vogue once, that if you put yor lipstick on in Russia in public, it's thought of as awful there. I wouldn't take offence, but it's not practical. What about when the train comes to next station? You're gonna have mascara all over your eyes!!