Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Turn up the volume

"You look nice tonight," he said. "I like this more muted look."

Immediately, I touched my face, appalled at my how muted I must have looked and cursed my new pale shade of lip gloss.

"What do you mean, MUTED?" I asked.

"Just more natural than usual I guess... it's not a bad thing at all. I like it."

Great. I'd just spent an hour getting ready and my look was lacking vitality, intensity, and strength in spite of my voluminous hair.

But I wondered, if THIS look is MUTED then what do I normally look like??? Bette Davis???!!!

I spent the rest of our date second guessing my outfit, choice of make up, and overly styled hair. My muted look took forever and no amount of conversation could undo his "compliment" that was masked in more makeup than I usually found myself in.

"Why are you so quiet?" he asked me after dinner.

I wanted to tell him that his comment was offensive.
I wanted to tell him that a simple, "you look nice tonight" could have saved the date.
I wanted to tell him that certain words aren't meant for ladies, they are meant for television shows you choose not to watch.

But instead I just sat there, quietly.

"Come on! What is it? What did I say???" he pestered.

But I didn't utter a sound.
I kept my thoughts to myself and paired my muted look with an appropriate personality to match.


jovial_cynic said...

... I think you would save yourself a great deal of grief if you interpreted his statement in this way:

"I like this look."

Nevermind the adjectives used. In the same way my wife and I disagree on how to define colors ("no, it's green, not gray."), I think people can mean different things when they say words like "muted" or "more natural" or whatever.

And there's a trillion reasons why he might have said it. Maybe the lighting was different. Maybe the colors meshed with your clothes. Whatever. He said you looked nice, and that he liked the look. Don't get caught up in the adjectives.

Anonymous said...

i think (in my opinion) the key to applying and wearing makeup well is to seem like you are wearing little or no makeup at all.

when the glitter in your eyeshadow is twinkling under the light, it's a bit distracting, and, well, that's when you begin to look like a clown or some other spectacle.

but if you took an hour to apply all that makeup, and the result was that you looked more "natural", then you applied your makeup well.

it was a genuine compliment. "muted" was just a really bad word choice.

of course, you couldn't accept the compliment because you were so distracted by this man's opinion of your hour's long effort. you know, that hour you spent applying your makeup... all for "yourself".

Chrissie said...

hahahahahahaha good point anon 2... there are TIMES when we do apply make up for our DATES.

not just the men we're dating... but the date itself, we want to feel our best and a little makeup helps with that.

that hour of course includes the shower, shaving, hair washing and drying and curling... and then the make up.

but part of it is of course for me... like manicures and pedicures we do it to feel put together, not to look "the part."

although i'll admit that dates are different animals:P

and i am also guilty of the sparkling eyeshadow, maybe dad was right and i should stop that.

Chrissie said...

and to be honest... the "muted" mood after the comment was a little-blog-lie.

i actually teased him about it for awhile, told him i loved his new lackluster outfit and had a good time on the date.

i know people choose the wrong words frequently, i know my mother didn't mean anything bad when she said i looked "fine" in my prom dress...

but there's something to be said for putting as much thought into our compliments as our dates put into their look for the evening.

in the end, just stick with you look "great" and that should please everyone.


jovial_cynic said...

I got into a debate with some female coworkers who, of course, sided with my wife's position on a similar issue.

My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and one of the things she enjoys doing is making meals.

As for me, I just enjoy removing the pains of hunger I feel at the end of the day; I don't really care what goes into my mouth. It's all going to the same place.

So when my wife has hot food on the plate, and I don't immediately break away from my after-work project when she says it's ready, she gets upset. She goes on about how she worked hard to make it, and she wants me to eat it while it's hot. But I don't actually care that the food is hot; I'd enjoy it just the same if it was just warm.

And so I wonder... for whom is she making this meal? Is she making it for me? If so, shouldn't I enjoy it on my own terms? Isn't it going into my mouth?

I see this similarly to the situation with makeup, where a woman seeks her SO's opinion on the matter. I ask my wife, "did you put the makeup on for me?" If so, don't be put off when I say I like it another way. If not, what difference does it make what I think?

... it makes no sense to me. I keep telling my wife that perhaps a little crisis would help put things in perspective. When the US economy plummets in a death spiral as a result of this subprime mortgage crisis and people begin looting and stealing food to survive, perhaps this whole make-up discussion will seem a little silly.


Chrissie said...

perhaps JC, but i think we'll all be looking for a little silly distraction when that time comes, so i'll be one of the few who still has a job:P

Anonymous said...

Communicate. Talk to him. Don't create a mystery that doesn't need to be hovering.