It started so innocently. A Christmas Eve email from the New York Times asking me to write a 300 word column on make-up. I knew I had a secret obsession with my own lipstick and face paint, but I had to figure a way around it. I worked furiously all through the day on a piece that would distract the reader with references to breast implants and professional hockey players with wall-to-wall body ink. And a sincere profession of love for my wife (every word of which I meant and was true, just for the record).
Several friends emailed me as soon as the piece, “Women Should Do What They Want,” hit saying that they prefer me without make-up…wink, wink.
Then the trouble started. Apparently saying that your wife is gorgeous first thing in the morning and women (and men) should be able to decide whether or not to wear make-up, to have plastic surgery, to sport some ink…is actually a grand conspiracy by male chauvinist pigs to keep women in their place. My buddy Hugo, a long-time ally to women who hate men, had this to say to me on twitter:
Apparently my 300 words of fluff, intended to distract from my own fetishes, had unleashed an issue of Biblical proportions. Equal, in fact, to the coming Fiscal cliff. Finally, Amanda Marcotte, who once wrote for the GMP before realizing that the founder was in fact a wanna-be KISS band member, brought her steely eye to bear over at Slate. “Natural Beauty Is More Oppressive Than Make-Up” is journalism at it’s most far reaching, thoroughly researched, insightful best. I just love the fact that Slate, with all their editorial integrity, publishes such treasures from a writer who left us on bad terms and has since been involved in a mock-GMP site intended to defeat our attempt to have an open dialogue about make-up.
I think Amanda may well yet win the Pulitzer for taking my few sentences about how…I love to sneak a glimpse of her first thing in the morning, before she puts on makeup or clothes. She has slate blue eyes that sparkle in a particular way. My stomach turns inside out every time she looks at me. It’s as if the whole sun has been transported into those two orbs of light….and parsing such deep and irrefutable sinister meaning to them and to me, the enemy of all women the world round.
The result my good friends? A piece which has gathered the attention of the nation. Old friends from college who I have spoken to in years have been emailing me asking about this “make-up-gate.” They want to know my view on bright colored eye shadow? My favorite lip stick shade? And when to go with low cleavage? As of this writing there are 1,200 comments and Amanda’s masterpiece is atop the most popular list on all of Slate.
Not to be outdone, Frisky decided they had to get on this breaking story with the amazingly articulate “I Really Don’t Care To Know What Men Think About Makeup Because They’re Not Being Truthful Anyway”:
The reason why I’m so riled up about Matlack’s “sticky-sweet, seemingly un-controversial, sneakily shallow, yet still totally tone deaf piece of buffoonery” (to quote a friend who also read the article) is because it echoes an all too common refrain I’ve heard from many men. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard some dude go on and on about how he prefers women to not wear makeup. Guess what dudes who say stuff like this, including you, Tom Matlack? What you think is “no makeup” actually is makeup.
Okay, I am going to say this and say it once. I love to wear make-up, and lots of it. There. It’s done. Call me a cross-dresser, a hockey-player-groupie, a wanna be hard rocker. I don’t care. Because I still love my wife.