A man at work joked about that “awkward situation” when you wake up next to a girl you’ve brought home from a club and “her makeup is off and she don’t look right.”
I was stunned into action.
“I am that girl.”
He stopped, and immediately began backpedaling.
“No, you have, like, inner beauty.”
“Yeah, really really inner. Like subcutaneous.” I let the conversation drift back to joking but I felt angry that there’s a universal expectation of perfection in women at all times. Like we should never, EVER allow ourselves to be caught looking anything less than perfect, even when sleeping. Even when sleeping! Okay, ladies, as you lay down to rest remember two things: keep breathing and keep taking men’s breath away amirite?
At MoMA, there was a line outside the bathroom. It moved quickly, because only half the people in line had to use the toilets. The other half needed to primp in the mirror. Surrounded by van Goghs and Picassos, we must always remain vigilant lest someone catch us looking less than perfect.
Let’s be real. No, REALLY real. We don’t wake up with perfectly-drawn cat-eyes and upside-down braided Pinterest ponytails. We – men and women and everyone else – wake up hot messes. It takes a lot of pretending and a lot of makeup to come even close to perfection. And beauty demands perfection. Can we allow ourselves to be imperfect, for really reals? Can we just allow ourselves to be … ugly?
And for the record, this is what I look like when I wake up:
Except the frosting is a cup of coffee.