How To Make Yourself Look Like Rainbow Pride
Welcome to Make Your Face, a makeup tutorial series with a simple mission: makeup by you (me) for your (my) own entertainment, Establishment-style.
It’s June! It’s Pride Month! A perfect month for wearing rainbow makeup, a perfect month to awkwardly discuss your sexuality on the internet while applying rainbow makeup!
Re: things to be proud of, I washed my brushes, check me out:
I first realized I was attracted to other women when I was in high school. But I was REALLY into boys! And I’d never had a sexual experience with another girl. Being an “attention whore” was the greatest and most despised teenage sin, then, and calling yourself bisexual — particularly if you were female, especially if you were dating a male-identified person — was a surefire way to be accused of it. “Besides, EVERYBODY daydreams about kissing pretty women,” I reasoned. “I am just a basic straight girl who fantasizes about women just like every other basic straight girl in the world, probably. Sit down. Get over yourself! Go make out with your boyfriend and stop acting like you’re special or some shit.”
And so I did! I graduated from high school, married my high school boyfriend (long story, lol), finally figured out how to have an orgasm after three years of having sex, and, on occasion, started making out with other women. My then-husband didn’t care; he thought it was hot. I was a collegiate stereotype, I thought, not bi. I had a man. She had a man! What did it matter if I sometimes wished both of the men involved would disappear? It was the way it was. We were straight.
I tried not to examine any of my feelings or actions too seriously when my teenage marriage exploded (unsurprisingly) horribly and I suddenly stopped kissing her, even as I relied on her for strength in the throes of my heartbreak. Unattached to a him of my own, putting lips on her felt an awful lot like cheating on her him. And there were also just a lot of feelings swirling around that I couldn’t confront at the time. Men were a sport, a series of bedpost notches, a thing to do to pass the time.
But then I met one I knew I would love. She scoped him out for me, actually, before I went out with him. I did love him! I still do, more than anything.
But I still did stuff with women on occasion. Sometimes he didn’t mind, because it was very casual. Other times he did mind, because he could plainly see the emotional chaos I was determined to ignore.
“Babe, you’re pretty bi,” he said once.
“Me?? Naw,” I scoffed. “That’s just normal straight girl shit.”
Nobody, for the record, does casual make-outs quite like mostly-straight femme women, mostly in line for the restroom at events where alcohol is served, or after screenings of Magic Mike.
I’m pausing that thought to say: this brush cleaner stuff from Sephora is liquid gold; takes lipstick and flash palette pigment off of brushes on contact! For some reason this larger bottle, which I located in the Sephora brand brush section, was $10 cheaper than the travel size displayed on the stand beside the check-out counter.
Ok, so a few years ago an openly bi friend, herself committed to an outwardly straight-seeming marriage to a man with really excellent hair, asked me if I was bi. “Well, sort of,” I hedged. “Definitely for [this one woman], but not as a general rule.”
Lol. Because copping to bisexuality would mean indiscriminate I-would-marry-you level attraction to every woman on earth? I don’t know, man. Also, belated apologies to the women I have been involved with who I automatically omitted from that single-person list.
I would say I don’t know why I’m such a wimp about using the word “bisexual”…but I do! It’s multifactorial and complicated, like most things.
Firstly, I don’t wanna lose privilege points. I’m a cis white upper-middle-class able-bodied conventionally-attractive straight-seeming woman, and I have a major compulsion to be a people-pleaser. I don’t want to be The Other, when I can avoid it! It’s easy to just glide by under the radar and let people assume what they will about me and hopefully approve of me.
But then on the other hand, I don’t feel that I register as un-privileged enough to claim an “othered” title! If I’m not obviously queer enough to earn the ire of bigoted strangers, how dare I use the label? It feels like some have-your-privilege-cake-and-eat-it-too kind of shit.
And lastly, being open about it typically requires me to make a point of announcing it, which feels like inviting speculation about my sex life. In the great game of “Guess Who’s Been in My Pants,” no woman ever wins, and it feels disrespectful to a committed partner to say anything that might make strangers wonder about other people you have done or might do sex and love stuff with, you know? Just…a really unappealing can of worms to open. And for what benefit?
I didn’t want to Make A Statement™ about it today, either, or ever. I was just going to talk about makeup and let people assume what they will, as usual.
But then I got really horrified at the thought of some openly queer lady looking at my rainbow brows and thinking, “Ugh, look at that straight girl jacking our shit.” And then I remembered that I’ve already talked about my depression and my zits in this column. I’ve written about my mother and my panic attacks and my adult obsessions with dolls and Stuart Townsend’s makeup in Queen of the Damned; I’ve openly gotten wasted on bourbon I’m not supposed to drink anymore and slurred about menstrual periods in this space.
I’m pretty sure I’ve effectively rendered myself ineligible to ever run for public office or work in the educational system based solely on the stuff I’ve disclosed in this makeup tutorial column. So…what have I got to lose? And perhaps honest transparency might help normalize the whole business for someone else, because, really? My sexual identity is super mundane. It’s not particularly deviant; it’s just…normal. Just the way things are! It’s just my life.
And we are legion, we invisi-bi femme women in committed opposite-sex relationships with straight or bi men. It’s easy to see how I was able to convince myself that obviously bisexual feelings and behaviors were just “normal straight girl shit.” I live in a very red state with a lot of conservative people, and so many of my female friends are undercover bi that I was legitimately shocked to realize — in my mid-twenties! — that some women actually are just straight-up heterosexual and solely sexually attracted to men. Much as I am attracted to men, I…just didn’t think that was even possible! All straight girls fantasize about other women from time to time, right? That’s what I’ve been told, anyway. “It’s just a phase; it’s just fantasy! It’s not legitimate, and if it IS legitimate then you can’t possibly legitimately love your man”…it’s fucking confusing, is what it is!
But maybe if we just drop the bullshit and acknowledge the existence of straight-passing bisexual women, it’ll eventually get less so.
Entirely unrelated to who I may or may not hypothetically bang, I harbor an intense obsession with optical phenomena. I collect prisms and adore splitting sunlight with them, tracking the way photons beam into my house at various times of day and year. I love snapping photos to capture images of fleeting, intangible streaks of vivid color; I love the way my iPhone camera sometimes can’t even HANDLE the intensity of the hues and glitches them into the best bold color fields it can render. I like to watch them move, change, and flicker as the light stretches across the room and filters through the leaves of trees. I like to place textured glass in the rainbows’ paths and watch them distort into beautiful tangled scribbles of color. I just like them! I post a lot of pics of them on Instagram.
Once a guy asked me, “So, explain to me: what’s your thing with rainbows?”
I answered, entirely honestly, “…I mean, have you SEEN them? Just look at them!!!”
He seemed dissatisfied with that answer, and in hindsight I realize he was probably looking for me to blurt something more like, “I’M A BIG OL’ QUEER!”
Well, buddy, I’m not. I’m just a regular ol’ medium-sized small-town queer who exclusively rubs genitals with a single much-beloved opposite-sex partner and also happens to enjoy looking at dispersed light and playing with makeup.
I guess this is my coming out.