By Krip Yuson

A primary source of dispute it has been – well, okay, mild disagreement at best – between women and men — since cosmetics came to bless or plague humankind. How the gender from Venus takes so long to get ready to step out, while that from Mars waits with natural impatience or the unnatural practice of Zen.

“But you knew the invite’s for 7, so why couldn’t you have calculated the time for prepping up?” The verb could also be primping. Or making up, that is, applying make-up.

For men, the women’s cornucopia with regards to this conduct can seem infernally infinite: cream, lotion, foundation, rouge, mascara, eyeshadow, false lashes, lipstick, perfume, ad nauseam… Comparatively, when the Superman who can achieve costume change in a telephone booth operates in the bathroom, he only has to rely on some talc to cover an oily shine, and a couple of dabs of cologne.

That is, until the metro-sexual came with the millennium. And oh yes, since the gender affiliations, if not preferences, flew the flag of an acronym with at least four to six initials.  

But back to the regular straight male attempting to improve on his often futile practice of Zen. Down the decades, he’s accepted the difference in devoting hours to prettying up or simply making one look presentable — that is, out of the bedroom sando and slippers, as against the more meticulous of the species donning a gown. Meticulous to a fault when it comes to putting one’s best foot forward. Make that best face possible, best shape, most fetchingly attired, down to that foot arching high on stiletto heels. 

On the other end of that vertical human landscape that has to be groomed for social witnessing, there is the head of hair that requires even more rigorous attention. In that shared bathroom, beside the glass shelves that are dominated by the better half’s jars, bottles and sets of bristles, there must also be blow-dry weaponry ready to be plugged to an electric socket.

If mirrors can speak, they will tell tales of forbearance, sighs, or smiles of gratification as tokens of self-assurance. And the performer in such rituals would of course more often be the better half, as the lesser half takes only about a minute to apply deodorant, pomade or gel, and a quick spray of that cologne.

Then there are the really dressy affairs that require “professional” care, such as what’s paid for in beauty salons. Add another hour or two to prepping for that evening engagement.

Vanity Unfair by Krip Yuson

“Now, honey, since the invite is for 7 p.m., and it’ll take us an hour to get there through Friday traffic, that means I’ll be puffing on my last cigarette by 6 while I wait in the lanai, hoping you’ll be down by then. That means the salon appointment would have to be by 2 or 3 in the afternoon, right? And the driver gets you back here by 5?”

Despite assent to the arithmetic, more often than not that proposed precision of hours will be stretched, or tweaked. And pity the bitter half if he happens to have been a military general trained to plan coordinates of space and time.

The real master of the house holds the keys to the vanity kit, after all. Call it kikay kit if you will, throw up your hands if travel luggage includes a heavy overnight bag groaning with those jars, bottles, bristles and countless tubes and sachets — the contents of which will then occupy whatever generous space is provided in hotel bathrooms.

Beauty — imagined or aspired for — is in the eye of the holder of that key to enhanced pulchritude. Her ear will dismiss even the most diplomatic remark that there’s really not much need to gild the lily.

Such is life. Vive le difference!

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