Posts Tagged John Berger

The Smokey Eye

Men will always tell women that they don’t like heavy make-up. It’s just not true.  What they are saying is that they hope you don’t need heavy make-up. Unless it’s garish, men generally can’t assess if a woman is wearing slap or not.  There is an obvious cosmetic choice, however, that they universally like. No, love.

It’s a smokey eye.

Eyes are important.  We all know they are a ‘window to the soul’, and what frames this window better than dark eyeliner, often the more the better? Further, your local optician doesn’t have to remind you that eyes also do the looking. This is an important point in academia and feminist theory, with thinkers like John Berger stating that conventionally, men do the looking while women are the objects of a male gaze, not actively seeing but aware they are being looked at. If this were true, than surely a woman highlighting her own seeing eye is not only empowering, but the role reversal is titillating to the men caught in her path of vision.

It’s therefore not surprising that art and popular culture hold that sirens, from Cleopatra to Salome to Brigitte Bardot, have heavily painted eyes.  This has further trained men to recognise a sex pot by her eyelids.

A more light-hearted theory – my own – is that the morning after the kind of night where a woman wears eyeliner, the kind of night that includes a passionate throw-down, we all look a little like Alice Cooper.

At least, I hope we do.

I’ve heard rumours about women who stop a hook-up mid-play to wash their face.  Nick Hornby famously wrote a scene in High Fidelity, where main character Rob goes home with the sultry singer Marie (later played by Lisa Bonet with a smokey eye) only to find her so concerned with nighttime cleansing rituals that what he expected to be so hot and heavy was actually pretty… meh.

Similarly, I hear of women who prize sleep less than I do and get up early to do a little pre-coital primping. I can’t fault their efforts, but in both cases, I will say this: give men a little credit. When it comes to sex, they are so overjoyed to be having it that they forgive us many, many things. An extra pound or two, a surgically untouched vagina, messy hair and especially, some smeared make-up, all of which are likely to be more hot than not.

Time and time again, studies show that men say women who are good in bed are confident, playful, spontaneous and accepting.  And incidentally, all these attributes won’t just make us better in bed, they will make us better at life.

It’s hard and fun in equal measure to look and be seen – and clear vision is essential for hunter and prey.  The only smoke I want near your eye should be cosmetically applied, not a self imposed haze of doubt, anxiety or rigidity.

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