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Sonn: Why I wear makeup

BY BARRETT SONN | AUGUST 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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Recently, a female friend of mine remarked, “Wow, you know more about makeup than I do!”

She was mostly joking, I think, but it’s probably true that (at the very least) I know more about makeup than most guys. Part of that can be attributed to my mom using me as a fashion guinea pig when I was a kid — collateral damage from being an only child. But most of it is probably from the fact that I’ve been wearing makeup since the beginning of summer.

Now, I don’t go nuts with it. It’s just foundation to cover blemishes from what I call winter-acne, a phenomena I find incredibly annoying and frustrating (even traumatizing). Like most people around my age, acne is mostly just a situational nuisance. For me, it’s been a big problem during the winters I’ve spent here in Iowa: the kind of acne where it leaves temporary marks — hyperpigmentation of the skin — which can take months and even a couple of years to fully go away.

There were consequences because of that, social and otherwise, and in May I finally decided to listen to my mom and try makeup to hide those blemishes. My trepidation about makeup use was understandable, because it’s pretty weird in our culture for guys to do it. But hey, if Dennis from “It’s Always Sunny” could do it, I could too.

The first time I tried makeup was the day before my 21st birthday.

When I finished — under the careful tutelage of my mom — I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and felt … really great. I felt like Atlas getting to take the world off his shoulders and move to the beaches of San Diego.

Once I came back to Iowa City, I noticed something interesting in my interactions with friends and other individuals. Almost nothing had changed (aside from a few random occasions when various groups of ladies decided to slap my butt). In fact, I revealed my little secret to a couple of friends, and they were unaware I was even using makeup to begin with (but then again, I’m very good at it). And sure, maybe they were just being nice, but I had to really press them to make them acknowledge my face had some, shall we say, issues before the summer. All in all, it seems as though the greatest benefactor of this makeup phase was me — my self-esteem specifically.

I’m fine with that. If other people didn’t feel as strongly about my blemishes as I did, that’s great. I’m just glad I can be myself now, which is somewhat of a contradiction of course, since the makeup could technically be seen as hiding who I really am. But I think you get what I mean. In any case, with a new semester starting now, I look forward to being able to walk around campus without feeling awkward and gross. As for my blemishes, they’ve faded considerably, but they are still definitely there. I’m hoping they’ll go away completely in time for Thanksgiving. In the meantime, I’ll continue using makeup with pride.


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