I sat around the table with a truly lovely group of women. We covered a lot of ground in a conversation over wine: parents, kids, husbands, work, dogs, body image, makeup, sex, makeup sex, the war of Northern Aggression, grocery store etiquette and poor customer service.
Some of us grew up Southern. Others are transplants, who by some accident of birth were somehow born in the wrong place. They are Southern in their DNA. These women have grace and dignity and style. They are smart, funny and by any standard beautiful, inside and out.
I think we were able to boil down to its essence what defines the Southern woman: backup makeup.
(For the uninitiated, backup makeup is the second line, the B-team of cosmetics. It’s the powder that’s just a half shade off when you have a summer tan. It’s the lipstick that came in the gift-with-purchase that you’ve never just loved. It’s been floating around in your drawer for a bit, but you will never, ever, under any circumstances part with it because you never know.)
Backup makeup is actually about much more than just blush and mascara. It’s about the fear of wasting anything. Anyone who’s ever genuinely worried even once about money finds wastefulness sickening. This explains why we also cannot throw away leftover food. Backup makeup is also about always being prepared. Any self-respecting Southern woman has a first aid kit, safety pins, assorted gift bags, tape and a stash of chocolate or caffeine in her home because you never know. Most importantly backup makeup is about putting the best face possible on your family. You may be fighting with your husband or stressed because your son isn’t reading at grade level or about to drown your dog for peeing in the house… again, but when you go out, for crying out loud, pull yourself together woman. Even if you can’t be perfect, you will cover your flaws the best way possible and smile because you never know.
This week I had to go out of town for business. I realized I needed new powder before I left. I had a rough afternoon with Monkey Boy who decided to behave as if he had no sense in his head at all. I already had on my comfy pants when I remembered I never made it to the store. I put something on Twitter about just using my backup makeup because I was too lazy to put real clothes back on. That’s when my friend Amy sprung into action. She sent me a text asking what I needed. She was out anyway, so she swung by Dillard’s to pick up my powder and delivered it to my home. Her reasoning: friends don’t let friends wear backup make on purpose.
When she left, her parting words to words to me: Have a safe trip. Wear eyeliner.
So I did.