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Got together with one of my Very Stylish Straight Friends yesterday (my favorite female one, in fact) to conquer the final frontier of this Total Butch Makeover – The Making-Up of the Face.  I was inspired by the work of the master stylist who assisted with my photo shoot this past weekend (but more about that in a later post) and realized that if I have the photos, I need to be able to create the look.

My VSSF was kind enough to set up a little assembly line filled with all sorts of sticks and pots and cases and brushes, and as I wonderingly followed her from alien-item to alien-item, I realized another little hiccup I have with moving beyond my minimalist butch ways.  That being, the necessary consumption required to “keep up appearances”.  Even though, as a performer and as a person with older sisters and a stylish mother, I have a collection of makeup stuff that would turn a normal baseball-hat butch to shame, the optimal list of items used daily in the Making-Up so far exceeded my ideas that my wallet darn near jumped out of my back pocket and scurried for cover.

Later that day, as I completed a second round of the Rite of Passage at two (2!) local drugstores, trying to purchase just the most recommended items a weird sense of deja vu set in. I suddenly thought, “Wow. This is what shopping is. Even though I don’t need these things, here I am.” And as I looked right and left at the five or so other women browsing the eyeliners, I couldn’t help but feel… not disappointed, exactly, but… like a cog. Like a cog in the machine of capitalism. Yup. I was totally overdramatic in the local Walgreens.

But that’s where it happens.  That’s where I realize that I’ve been living my own private counter-culture all these years. I don’t go into box stores. I don’t buy much more than food. As a butch-leaning queer, I barely even wear more than one pair of pants in a week. (Which I know is a personal tendency I inherited from my father, since many a stylish butch wear fancy trousers every day.)

The buying necessary to “prettify” myself is a bit exhausting.  I admit, the end results of my Lesson were extraordinary, which I entirely credit to the mad skills possessed by my VSSF.  Replicating the results alone will take some practice, however, and more of the aforementioned buying.

At the risk of sounding too simple (and like I didn’t attend a Prestigious Women’s College): is this how women become indoctrinated into the culture of consumption?  For femmes and straight girls, does shopping for clothes and products become a recreational sport out of necessity first?