I was at a memorial service last week in a seaside town. At the gathering afterwards (what is one supposed to call it? It’s not a wake, and just a lunch or tea sounds disrespectful and wrong) someone pointed out a couple our sort of age. ‘Their son is the internet sensation X,’ they whispered. ‘He’s just bought his own house in Brighton’. As this boy is the same age as Child 2, i.e., young enough to be my own child, the idea of internet vlogging suddenly seemed a lot less like wasting valuable A level revision time messing around online and a lot more like an extremely sensible career move. Unfortunately, when my two are dabbling with YouTube, they are watching rather than producing lucrative footage. Damn.
It did get me thinking, though, and I resolved to have a look at young X’s output. No sooner had I typed ‘internet sensation’ into my search engine, though, than Tanya Burr and Zoella popped up, and I watched them instead. By the time I’d done that, I didn’t really want to watch any more precocious folk making gazillions, thank you.
I did find the lovely Tanya and Zoella rather sad. There they sat in their bedrooms, ladling on the make-up, when they both looked gorgeous beforehand. By the time they’d finished, they’d achieved a sort of middle-aged, mummified look involving layer after layer of bronzer, primer, concealer, foundation, blusher etc etc etc. I know from experience that this type of look is high maintenance – by the time you’ve walked out of the door, something needs touching up or adjusting and you are basically a slave to your own face all day long.
I completely appreciate that teenage girls are insecure about their looks – I’ve been one, and I have two. It can be easier facing the world behind a mask. And yes, you can spend the whole day obsessing about pores. But really, it’s the responsibility of those around you to stop you, and make you go out and do something more useful and less introspective. For these two girls who have made a fortune out of make-up tutorials, there are millions more poor orange sad waifs, wandering around all our cities on their evenings out, caked in slap and looking quite odd.
Child Two gets the school bus at 7.31 each morning and one of her friends is on it already, with a full set of false eyelashes in place. Every day. At the age of 17! What time must she have to get up to organise lashes, glue, tweezers etc …. and why does she think it’s important?
I love playing with make-up, I really do, and I see it as a way of getting to paint something (me) every day. But I spend a max of five minutes on it. I watched Tanya and Zoella doing a timed 3 minute make-over, then bemoaning the fact they hadn’t had a moment to ladle on their usual amount of gloop. Do we all really want to spend this much time in front of a mirror? A friend’s daughter is now regularly missing her train to school because she has so many totally essential steps in her routine. I understand, I really do. Moisturiser, primer, foundation – they all need drying time. It look Leonardo da Vinci ten years to paint the Mona Lisa – and even then he didn’t really feel he’d finished. I suggested she put the primer over the foundation as a ‘blur’, which might save her five minutes. I hope it works.
I kind of hope we all get another hobby, too.