Sunday, 5 August 2012

Why the painted face?


I've been face painting (/pratting about with makeup) for as long as I can remember, and over the years it's come to my attention that attitudes haven't changed towards a bit of paint on someone's face.

When I walked into a pub wearing the David Bowie/Aladdin Sane lightning bolt makeup, an older drunk man shouted to me 'OH LOOK HERE COMES ALICE COOPER!' and I had to laugh. But it seems a drunk person responded a lot more welcoming than anyone I've come across.

What I'd love to address is the stigma attached to the idea that someone paints their face for a special occasion. It's not like I've dressed up to go down the shop for milk, but when it comes to birthdays, nights out and parties, I love the prospect of pulling out my face paints and spending my next hour or so in the mirror. I'm by no means a makeup artist, professional or even good at drawing, I'll be the first to admit that, but why should I have to stop doing something I enjoy just because of a multitude of funny looks?

There's something great about sitting down with my face paints spread out in front of me, ready to make something eye-catching, even if it's not good. Does that make me an extrovert? An exhibitionist? A complete nutcase?

I'm no stranger to walking out of my door looking like something from a horror film or a 70s nightmare, that's an everyday occurrence, but when it comes to Halloween and New Year, what's wrong in dressing up for the occasion? It's party season, and I don't want to be like everyone else, hiding behind their LBDs, I've got bigger ideas than that, for gods sake I plan next year's Halloween costumes before the current one's even over!

Maybe I should open a fancy dress store and try to combat the stigma attached to all this. Everyone dresses up once in a while, why are the dirty looks so common? You wouldn't pull a face at a little girl dressed as a tiger at the zoo, would you? Is it really all that different when an adult does it?

I'm not complaining about people turning to look at the girl who just walked in dressed as Alice Cooper, not by any means, because quite frankly I would too, more in awe of the effort she put in, I'd probably even collar her for tips and recommended products. What's getting on my nerves is the DIRTY looks, looking down their noses at me, like I'm some kind of recently escaped insane asylum resident.

I am, but that's not the point.

You're not a superior human being just because you look like everyone else. Don't look down on me with your stiff upper lip and your eyes rolling into the back of your head like I've just killed your family. I have paint on my face. Deal with it. There's far worse on your face but you don't see me complaining.

I may have just slipped into a conversation with an invisible person, my apologies. Anyway, my point is, it's not uncommon at a Halloween party to see a girl in a skeleton costume with a sugar skull-painted face. In fact, normally-dressed people are the odd ones out in that situation, so why would they feel the need to make me feel a millimetre tall because I'm joining in the festivities?

I wish I was back at Download. Everyone there accepts being different as the best thing about people. I had a Spanish girl ask to take her photo with me when I had my Demon face painted. Plus it really helps my friends find me in a crowd, and if I had been taller than a mouse, I'm sure it would've helped to see me in the crowd on the cameras!

Not that dirty looks put me off making an effort on occasions such as this. If anything, it drives me to work harder and get it better the next time I attempt it. I enjoy face painting more than playing around with makeup on an everyday basis. I enjoy face painting more than anything. Even eating. Wow, that was a step too far.

Do you paint yourself up for Halloween? What's your view on face painting?

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