About 20 minutes before class, as is my usual habit, I looked in the mirror to put on a little lipstick and check that I didn't have anything stuck to my teeth. What I discovered was that I had left the house without putting on mascara. I think this was the first day ever in my teaching career that I taught without mascara, except for a couple of times when I've had my glasses on instead of contacts due to an eye irritation or infection. Wearing glasses is such an identity mask that mascara is almost beside the point. But today, I had my contacts in -- and the little bit of eyeshadow and face powder that constitutes my "professional" look. But no mascara. Which is a big part of trying to look awake, professional, and reasonably authoritative, since my natural eyelashes are so pale as to be almost invisible.
In my thirties, I began wearing less and less makeup -- I rarely wear it on the weekends, unless we're going to something especially dressy (kind of rare in our social life). Thankfully, I just don't care as much as I did as a teenager. Sure, I try to look reasonably put together -- but it doesn't have to involve makeup. Makeup is kind of fun, and I enjoy getting dressed up, but it's not really part of my casual life.
However, my professional persona involves wearing certain clothes and presenting myself in a certain way -- it's all about making myself feel like I'm at work. Putting on my teaching clothes helps get me in that mindset, which is different from the mindset I have when I'm reading on the couch wearing sweatpants. (Even if I'm reading for class.) And, eyelashes have always been one of the things I felt were helpful in creating that persona.
I wasn't especially tired or distracted this morning, or -- more disturbing -- I didn't think I was. Who knows what else I might have forgotten and just haven't realized yet? I guess I must have gotten interrupted during my getting ready process and just never looked in the mirror afterwards.
Oh well. I survived teaching without eyelashes, and no one has said anything. I guess maybe I need to add mascara to my personal drawer in my desk, where I've stashed Clif bars and dental floss and other things you never know but that you might need.