Etiquette divas and beauty bloggers have grappled with The Great Primping Question forever: just how much primping can a girl do in public before crossing the bounds of decency? This post offers my own thoughts on the matter, which of course any femme may reserve the right to ignore, revise, and/or reinvent to suit her own style. But first, check out this great 1943 photograph of a woman in Washington, D.C. putting on her lipstick in a park with Union Station behind her. It’s from the Library of Congress.
Sublimefemme’s Philosophy of Primpology
1. Primping in Public. First we must define “public.” For example, restaurants, trains, hotels, theaters, bars, shops, airplanes, classrooms, any place of business, and parks and other outdoor spaces are all public. In these spaces, applying lipstick or lipgloss or a quick bit of powder is fine. If you pull out your mascara or hairbrush, you’ve crossed the line into the yuck factor. In these spaces, I think it’s OK to quickly and discreetly file a snagged nail, but not if you’re in a restaurant or any other place that serves food. I would never spritz on perfume in public.
2. The Restroom. A restroom is a public place, but I think we would agree that, unless you plan to give yourself a bath in the sink, you can reasonably expect that it’s OK to primp in a restroom. In a bathroom before an event last week, I pulled out my cosmetic bag and refreshed my makeup, swept over my outfit with a lint roller, and popped a few breath mints. A restroom is also the place you can reapply your fragrance, but obviously you should be considerate of others when doing so. Once in an airport bathroom a few years ago I was touching up my nails and got the hairy eyeball from a woman whose delicate sensibilites I had clearly offended. (!!!) A full-on manicure would be crossing the line, but I don’t see anything wrong with a little nail polish and a few drops of cuticle oil in the Ladies.
3. Cars and Taxis. I don’t care what anyone else says; I think cars and taxis are different from public forms of transportation. On public transportation, see rules outlined in #1. For cars and taxis, you can do whatever you damn well please as long as you do not pose a threat to public safety by curling your lashes in the rearview mirror while driving on the highway. If you weren’t supposed to touch up your makeup in the car, why would visors come equipped with mirrors on them? I rest my case!
Do you think there are do’s and don’ts of primping in public? If so, what are your own rules?