This evening I found myself in a place where few men feel comfortable. In fact, it is a place where men seldom venture at all. I am, of course, talking about the cosmetics section at Walmart.
The only time I come even remotely close to this area is when I pass by it on my way to pick up some things a few aisles down. That is where we guys grab the only grooming items most of us ever need besides soap. Those things are shaving gel, razor blades, deodorant and toothpaste; in that order.
The last time I entered the cosmetic section was with my oldest daughter, who glided through at breakneck speed, darting here and there until she found the one or two items she needed, and then we quickly moved on. I felt just as bewildered this time as I did then, following my wife past row after row of bottles and tubes in a dizzying array of colors. To be honest, I thought it was all nail polish. It only goes to show how little I know about such things. “How can you find what you’re looking for in all this stuff?” I asked my wife. “It’s hard sometimes”, she said. “I just need to find lip gloss in a light pink shade.” Light pink? I thought lip gloss only came in clear. When I foolishly said this out loud, my wife shot me that “what planet are you from” look and then educated me on lip gloss shades.
She was searching for the lip gloss to add to a collection of birthday gifts for our youngest daughter. She is turning eleven, so “little girl” gifts have now given way to such things as clothes, purses, pretty stationary and, of course, lip gloss. I can appreciate the fact that my daughter is growing up. I have been through this twice before. Somehow, though, the tiny rite of passage that lip gloss represents took me back a little, though it really shouldn't.
My wife and oldest daughter can get by comfortably with little or no makeup most of the time. Therefore, the fact that our two youngest have entered the age of using something as mundane as lip gloss shouldn't bother me. I am confident that neither of them will go as overboard as the women I saw in the photos on the store shelves. A little enhancement doesn't bother me in the least. I tend to agree with someone I know, who has often said “Even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint.” Yes, a little enhancement is fine with me. However, doing facial reconstruction by adding layer upon layer of makeup is not. The only thing that disturbs me this time is that it seems so.......soon.
It’s different with guys, I suppose. I don’t remember my wife being concerned when my son began shaving. It was an expected rite of passage. It is as if we rush to see our sons become “little men”. Maybe she was concerned, and I just didn’t notice. I was probably too busy encouraging my son to get out there and be a man; a chip off the old block; independent and mature.
With my daughters, it seems the protective nature of fatherhood lasts a little longer. Sure, I want to see them grow and mature too. I think that it’s probably because these two are my last ones that I want to hold on a little while longer. Maybe I would like to take a few more trips down those unfamiliar rows of products for beauty enhancement, and savor the moment a little while they ponder the best the shade of nail polish, or ask me to help them find the lip gloss.