Susan Mermaid Does Makeup

Susan-Mermaid-avatarDoing makeup on a group of male teachers – peers – who’ve never been in a theater production is a test of character.  The poor devil who gets his first “makeover” is in for a big surprise.  For me, a theater major and makeup artist for school plays in past years, it’s routine.

Over and over, they insisted the idea was outrageous.  Up to the point of hearing they would be on the receiving end of a foundation-laden sponge, they were thrilled with the idea of being in a play.  Memorize lines?  Check.  Stage direction?  Check.  Costumes?  Definitely check.  Costumes are fun! We get to pretend! We’re gonna be somebody else for an hour and fool our students into believing in our make believe for the afternoon!

And then…

Makeup?  Whoa.  No.  Not me.  You’re not doing this.  I am offended!  How could you tamper with this perfection?

Yeah. Like this.

You better not make me look like a girl!

In the end, they had to trust me.  One by one, they had to man up and (ack, ack) submit.

There were four Seniors in the cast, all veterans of high school productions.  They were the pros.  They understood.  They didn’t fight.  They threw themselves in the chair and got made up with not a whimper.  NOT ONE.

The grownups?  Oh, the bitching. The moaning.  The absurd SHOCK when they saw their reflection after ten minutes in my hands.

Foundation, powder, eyeshadow, blush. Lots of foundation, across the face, over the ears, down the neck, even on the head (many of them are going bald and the glow from their domes is… not attractive onstage).

requiring makeup on all sides. $$$

The final hurdle for every one of the men was the lipstick.  I had to touch their mouths with color – brilliant, extreme color.  It is an intimate, threatening part of the ritual, probably the hardest moment of the makeup routine, and absolutely necessary.  Only then would they be allowed to look at themselves in the mirror.

And react.

You made me look like this?

After the first “client” had done the walk of shame (“you look like a girl!”) the others knew what had to be done.


And I realized – this is writing.  All the preparation, the denial, the angst, the sheer terror of putting yourself “out there” and allowing others to see you and your work, is part of the writer’s job.

Man up.  Pull up your big girl panties.  Get a grip.  Stop with the whining already.

Do your job. 

But remember – it’s better with lipstick. SusanMermaid

About Susan Jeffery

I am loving the challenge (sometimes) of re-entering the contemporary romance market after a lifetime of raising two fantastic children (it never ends, btw). Just when I thought I was done with kids, I accepted a position as librarian to 900 boys in a Bronx private school. I'm a vintage published author, Harlequin American #206 Fair Game (1987). Winner of the Golden Heart, 1986. Currently exploring the possibility of indie publishing under my new pseudonym (see fresh name, above).

10 thoughts on “Susan Mermaid Does Makeup

  1. Susan!!!! By far one of the COOLEST posts we’ve had here at the pond! I don’t even know what else to say except for I loved it! And now I’m gonna go brag about your brilliance on Facebook. 🙂

  2. I agree with Carlene. Cool post! That must be a fabulous job. It’s like watching art come alive. 🙂 Love the pics too.

    1. Please – I did not do THAT makeup. This was for a high school faculty production of “A Few Good Men”. Totally riveting dialogue, and NO special effect makeup!

      But putting lipstick of any kind on a man’s mouth is difficult. Especially a man you work with on a daily basis as a *teacher*. It’s just… weird. But the reactions were hilarious, and worth every minute I spent doing it.

  3. Susan, oh woman of many talents! I had no idea you had this one in your back pocket. What a fun blog, and I do know how the guys react. I have done makeup in the past for our church Christmas performances. You know, an artist is an artist, is an artist. Makeup is just another form of art and having learned how on people many moons ago, it is great fun. Oh my, did they balk. It is so essential, those lights . . . but you are so right, why fool with perfection? The guys are a ton of laughs. Thanks for sharing your great talents.

    1. Thank you, Gail! It was a difficult and dark ride that Sunday and Monday. Boy howdy, they looked good onstage, though! Thank you for your take on the process.

  4. Really cute post, Susan! Love it! Also, I did theater in high school and college and had many a time putting makeup on the guys as they complained, made faces and rude comments to each other. Ah, I miss those days! 😉

    1. I know, Kerri! Aren’t they the worst? Happily, they were almost all “virgin” actors, and the reactions and laughter at their reflections made it worthwhile. “What????” Priceless.

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