Wayne Goss is a 37-year old makeup artist with 15 years of experience and nearly a million YouTube followers. Lately he’s been receiving a lot of requests from female clients to make them up drag queen style, in large part due to the popularity of the drag queen look on television and social media. As Goss illustrates, drag queens use makeup to create the feminine look already inherent in female faces. Essentially, he’s been asked to mask natural femininity with a false face, leading him to question how we interpret the female look and concepts of natural female beauty.
In one of his most memorable roles, as the eponymous character of Tim Burton’s 1990 film Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp plays a semi-human manboy with shears for fingers, stuck in eternal youth as those around him wither. I thought of this film last week, as I watched a fifty-something Depp, drunk and clad in his usual get-up of randomly placed crosses and scarves, stumble to the microphone at a televised awards show and deliver a slurred “speech” in which he giggled, cursed, rocked, and swayed his way through a painful two minutes. Here was another manboy on display, albeit one lacking the charm and innocence of Burton’s creation.
It was a shame to see Depp, a genuinely talented and by most accounts kind and gentle man, reduce himself to this display. He is well into middle age—not that any age is an appropriate time for public drunkenness. I suspect his career won’t be dented much, if at all, by the episode. This is not just because he is a celebrity. One can’t imagine, say, Morgan Freeman stumbling onto the stage, delivering a gin-soaked introduction, and walking away with his career totally intact. No, it is Depp’s enduring “bad boy” image that affords him the extra latitude. Those crosses and scarves go a long way. If you can set yourself up as some kind of outsider, those on the inside will start to think they’re caged animals and become desperate for your kind of freedom. The bad boy’s appeal comes from nonchalantly scuffing the social rulebook with his cowboy boots and daring us not to like him because of it.
For the first few months after I moved back to Texas, I got my hair cut at an Austin barber shop. It’s a family run place — the father and two of his sons own and operate it. The sons are in their 30s or so; the father may be in his 60s. Like many business owners around Austin, the owners of this barber shop are Hispanic.
I haven’t been there in a while, as it’s pretty far from where I live now. I used to go there because it was the first place I found around town, because they give a great no-nonsense man’s haircut, and because the sons are hilarious. They are constantly joking around with each other, joking with the customers, and just having fun. It’s like getting free entertainment while you get your hair cut. Although I used to worry a little that if they made me laugh too hard I would end up moving at the wrong time and mess up their work.
So I was in the shop in mid April, a few years back. I’m in the chair nearest the door as one of the sons is cutting my hair. Another man is in one of the other chairs, and the other son was cutting his hair. The father was around but I don’t think he was cutting anyone’s hair. There were a couple of guys waiting their turn, sitting in a line of chairs that extended from the area just inside the door. Typical barber shop set-up.
An older white man comes in, he seemed be someone that the father and sons knew pretty well.
The newcomer asks the nearest son, “So, are you excited about Cinco de Mayo?”
The sons laughed and the one nearest the door said, “Cinco de Mayo? Not really, man.” He kept cutting my hair.
The older man persisted: “Aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? What are you planning to do to celebrate?”
The sons laughed again. The guys in the chairs near the door laughed too. The brothers kind of looked at each other, shrugged, and the one nearest the door said “Cinco de Mayo? Man, we celebrate the Fourth of July!” They laughed again. “I can’t wait for that! We’ll go to the parades, have some bar-be-cue, see some fireworks, drink some beer. Best day of the year!”
The newcomer just wouldn’t have it. He asked, again, “But aren’t you excited about Cinco de Mayo? It’s coming up! What are you and your family doing?”
Now the son nearest the door was a little bit angry, but he and his brother both laughed it off. “I told you, we celebrate the Fourth of July! My family has been in Texas forever. I’m from Lampasas, man! We’re not ‘Mexican-American’ or any other thing like that, we’re Americans! Fourth. Of. Ju. Ly. Not Cinco de Mayo.” Lampasas is northwest of Austin, near Killeen.
The newcomer finally seemed to give up. He started to sit down in one of the chairs by the door to wait his turn, but then seemed to change his mind, and he left.
The brothers just chuckled, and the one cutting my hair muttered “Cinco de Mayo? Whatever. We’re Americans. I’m from Lampasas.”
Then he asked me what I planned to do on Fourth of July. I told him that his plans sounded pretty good to me. Especially the bar-be-cue.
The scientific advancements we’ve seen the last few years stagger the imagination. Among these revolutions in the medical realm is the hair transplant. But, lest you think hair transplants are only for the guys you see on local television ads with a sad visage in a “before” image and a convertible and a hot babe in the “after” shot, one group of guys is taking advantage of hair transplant technology in a new way. The latest trend in the hipster world is the beard transplant:
Stubble-challenged guys are forking over up to $8,500 for the beard-boosting procedure, which has spiked in popularity in recent months, plastic surgeons told The Post.
“Brooklyn is probably the nucleus of the trend, it’s the hipster ‘look’ guys want. If you have a spotty beard, and you let it grow out, it looks sloppy, ” said Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, a Midtown-based plastic surgeon.
“[Clients] want full beards because it’s a masculine look. Beards are an important male identifier,” he added.
I guess these hipster guys need a “male identifier” to counter the decidedly non-masculine look of the deep v-neck t-shirts and skinny jeans rolled up too high. In a lovely bit of irony, some hipsters make use of the transplants to look older:
One happy patient is Danny, 27, whose beard used to be so patchy, he was forced to “fill it in” with an eyebrow pencil, he said.
Two years ago, he paid $8,500 for the surgery, which he considers a fashion statement.
“I have a baby face but now I’m able to look older. My fashion statement is a little edgy, and I do like the ‘rugged look,’” he said.
He added, “It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”
While others go for the procedure to look younger:
A 39-year-old New Yorker, who works in catering industry, got a beard transplant to make him feel younger, DNAinfo.com reported.
“I had contemplated [getting a beard transplant] for approximately eight months,” he said, “Knowing the results, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time deciding,” he said.
$8,500 for facial hair. Sometimes, the jokes just write themselves.
(h/t to Kathy Shaidle)
Today is Monday, December 16, 2013. If we were having a literal, backwards countdown of the “Twelve days of Christmas,” we would all receive “nine ladies dancing” today. Newsflash, there are only nine days until Christmas!
Shopping procrastinators, overwhelmed list-makers, and confused uncles and aunts, listen up. Although there is one fewer weekend in December this year, and Christmas shopping is sure to be even more hectic than usual, there is still a way to keep your sanity in tact!
Take back some Christmas peace and quiet and make your shopping painless. Here is a gift guide chock-full of holiday cheer and guaranteed smiles for some of the people on your list:
The Beauty Queen/Well-Groomed Man
For that person in your life who loves all things beauty and grooming—from head to toe!
For The Ladies:
Beauty aficionados know that beauty starts with healthy, glowing skin. (This is also a good gift for the males who love a deep clean, skin deep.)
High-end, high-pigment nail color that is sure to make their fingers and toes sparkle.
Make-up: Bare Minerals Starter Kit
Bare Minerals powder system has good coverage–but without the thick, goopy foundation mess. This is a good starter kit for those who are curious about the “mineral powder craze” or want to try something new!
So many color options, so few days of the week!
This stuff really is a miracle worker—smooth on wet or dry hair for a silky smooth finish and frizz control. (Also available for curly hair)
For The Gentlemen:
Shaving (Manual): The Art of Shaving Starter Kit
The lucky person on your list who receives this gift is sure to become addicted to the products. My male friends especially rave about the “sandalwood” scent kit.
Shaving (Electric): Philips Norelco SensoTouch 3D
This bad-boy came highly recommended by the gadget gurus.
Cleansing for the traveling man: Men’s Jack Black Cleansing System
All the essentials for face, hair, and body and it’s great for frequent travelers who need to take better care of themselves.
Men’s Face Mask: Baxter of California Clarifying Clay Face Mask
Purify and invigorate your mug. You can’t go wrong with Baxter of California.
My recent article “Chicks Dig Porn” garnered a series of interesting comments. The one quoted above stands out, not only as a Top Rated comment among the bunch, but as a clear (if anecdotal) illustration of precisely how ignorant the feminist West truly is regarding female success that falls outside the boundaries of standard feminist narrative.
Spurred on by Cloudbuster, I Googled “African women, politics, feminism” and my first hit provided rather keen insight into the racial gap apparent in modern feminist thinking. Titled “African women are blazing a feminist trail – why don’t we hear their voices?” the Guardian article detailed some amazing statistics:
- 64% of Rwandan parliamentary seats go to women, who have held the gender majority in parliament since 2008
- Both Malawi and Liberia have female heads of state
- Senegal recently elected its first female Prime Minister, Aminata Toure
- The current African Union chair is female
The bottom line: African women are organizing for and securing their own political success. This reality flies in the face of Third Wave Feminist notions regarding the impact of patriarchy and post-colonialism on racial identity. Perhaps this is why we are more comfortable discussing Miley Cyrus’s twerking and Lena Dunham’s lack of black friends; their stories better suit the narrative of inherent white racism that has informed feminism since the 1990s. In America, it is an accomplishment when white and black feminists can unite over hairstyles. Celebrating female political leaders abroad, well, that’s a bit much, don’t you think?
Via Amy Odell at Buzzfeed, “Rihanna’s Nude Perfume Meant To Recall ‘Glistening’ Skin”:
After Rihanna tweeted the first photo from the new campaign for her latest fragrance Nude, it raised the question that comes up every so often about what “nude” means, exactly, in terms of a shade of commercial fashion and beauty items. Why does nude, by definition, match a white person’s skin? In this Nude fragrance ad and packaging, the nude color is more akin to a white person’s skin than person of color’s.
She’s right. Here’s Merriam Webster with a definition in need of a revision:
a : devoid of a natural or conventional covering; especially :not covered by clothing or a drape
b (1) : of the color of a white person’s flesh (2) : giving the appearance of nudity <a nude dress>
Laura Beck at Jezebel seems to recognize something wrong but fails to adequately articulate the real cultural conflict in play:
I will say, I’m sure there are many people who don’t know that “nude” refers to the color of a white person’s flesh, maybe they think it just means “naked.” But even with that explanation — what’s with the light-colored lingerie? And why isn’t the color of the packaging darker? If they were referring to Rihanna naked, which, WILD GUESS, I think they might be, then why are all the components so damn white?
Am I nuts for expecting a leeetle better from Rihanna? I know the answer is yes, but I thought maybe she was a little more thoughtful about shit based on what she tweeted back to that idiot who asked why her hair was nappy: “cuz I’m black bitch!!!!” That was rad.
Why the reference to Rihanna’s hair in a story complaining about her new perfume’s name and packaging?
Because there’s a cultural civil war happening right now over hair, beauty, and race. The question: should black and multi-racial women continue investing tens of thousands of dollars each year on artificial hair “weaves” and damaging chemical straighteners so they can imitate the style of Caucasian women? Should they adopt unnatural looks like the blonde Rihanna in the ad above?
Or would they appear more beautiful embracing the styles the rising “natural hair movement” advocates?
I don’t understand the thinking of any man who would assert that black and biracial women need to make themselves look more Caucasian in order to become attractive. Should any dare to defend themselves for the demands they place on the women they claim to love, then I welcome their justifications in the comments below. Would any man do so with his real name?
More on race at PJ Lifestyle: