I love being a girl-dad. My life is filled with everything pink and glittery, unicorn- and princess-themed. My daughter has loads of other “masculine” toys like tractors and dinosaurs and pretend tool sets. But her favorites usually leave our house sparkling like a disco ball.
And I love every part of it.
Recently, my daughter was playing dress-up, and she was even putting on some makeup (with Mommy’s assistance, of course). My daughter placed some blue eyeshadow all over her own face and my wife’s face. As I sat there chuckling at the spectacle, my daughter grabbed the brush and charged my way.
And I actually had a split second of an internal dilemma:
Should I let my daughter put makeup on me?
A deep part of me started to say no.
“Men NEVER wear makeup!”
It sounded like the voice of some old pastor from my youth, berating students for not following a strict set of cultural expectations of masculinity and femininity. But it was a powerful voice — so much so that I almost listened to it.
But then I remembered two things.
One, I’ve worn makeup before. I used to do theatre and wore makeup a lot. And I don’t mean stage makeup — I mean literal makeup. Anyone who says there’s a strong difference between the two is not telling the whole truth; there’s a slight difference between stage makeup and regular makeup (a conversation for another time), but guess what?
They’re both still makeup.
The second thing I remembered is promising myself that if/when I had a daughter, I would never refuse to play dress-up with her.
At the end of the day, my wearing some makeup or playing pretend with my daughter will not come to define her conception of gender.
My daughter sees me and my wife interact with each other day in and day out.
She sees how we carry ourselves, listens to the things we say, and observes how we display our masculinity and femininity.
My letting her put makeup on me for a few minutes one day will not suddenly change her perception of gender.
What it will do instead is demonstrate something far more important to my daughter: I love her and want to spend time with her, doing the things that are important to her.
So, I let my daughter splatter blue eyeshadow all over my face. It didn’t look too terrible, though it was nowhere near my eyes.
After she finished playing, we all washed our faces and hands from the mess. It was literally no big deal.
So, my new rule is this: if my daughter wants to put makeup on my face, I will let her.
As long as it’s a good color that brings out my eyes, that is.
Have you ever worn makeup as a man? Do you wear makeup today? Why or why not?