Nick King's Blog

I've done some pretty cool things, but nothing's as cool as creating our family

3yo:”Daddy, I want some of that nice red paint for my nails” Darn! I thought I could hold this one off until she was about 16!

There were a number of things that made us both nervous about adopting a little girl.  How would she relate to an all male household?  How would we support her with the very different journey through puberty she would experience?  How could we ensure she had sufficient and appropriate feminine influences?

This morning I am forced to face one of my greatest fears.  What are we going to do about make up?

The thought of it makes me anxious.  I can feel my heart rate increasing as I consider the implications of the conversation I've just had.


Our three year old daughter was with me in the bathroom as I shaved.  She likes to watch me, chatting away about the use of shaving foam, or mouth wash, or why we don't eat wiggly worms for tea.

"Can I have some paint for my nails please Daddy?" She asked.

I froze. Overcome with anxiety. I mumbled one of my holding, "We'll see," replies.

Truth be told I had been hoping to put this day off until she was about sixteen.  Maybe older.  A bit like having her first boyfriend, that I had told her needed to wait until she was at least twenty one.  


As you might imagine, I have very little, in fact no, experience with make up.

My Mum wore very little.  She was blessed with very good skin.  She tanned easily, had few blemishes and her natural beauty radiated without need for much make up.  I can remember her wearing lipstick and some eye shadow but little else.

She would use nail varnish, but only occasionally and would paint her toe nails rarely, mostly when a summer occasion required her to wear open toed shoes to an event.

Even in her latter years, as she became more frail and the medication she took for her heart condition began to take its toll, my mother needed little make up.  Still appearing radiant despite the increasingly paper-thin appearance of her cheeks, having few wrinkles other than laughter lines.  Bemoaning solely the drooping flesh under her chin, "it makes me look like an old turkey!" she would say.

A sentiment to which I can relate as I see the flesh under my chin beginning to become loose in a similar way.


My other experience is at the other extreme.

For some years I co-owned and managed a cabaret restaurant, hostessed by drag queens.

Drag queen make up isn't like normal make up.  It's WAY thicker.  Gloopy.  Sparkly.  Applied lovingly, carefully, thickly, usually with a trowel.

Dependent upon how hirsute the artist is underneath, the foundation alone can take an hour to apply.

Second only to the cost of the make up itself is the cost of the mountain of baby wipes required to remove it.  The effectiveness of make up removal being directly related, inversely, to the amount of alcohol being consumed in the dressing room after the show. 

Indeed, if the drag had spotted a 'hotty' in the audience it was entirely possible that make up removal would be left for later as they raced to try and corner their prey.  In these circumstances the result could be messy to say the least.  

I have on a  number of occasions witnessed the aftermath of a drag queen falling asleep, face buried in a white cushion or pillow. Creating an imprint, Turin Shroud-like.  Or Turin Shroud viewed passing at high speed-like dependent upon how disturbed their sleep had been.


I'm therefore left contemplating helping our daughter with her make-up choices with abject terror.  My natural inclination being to persuade her to wear none whatsoever.

Or perhaps smear so much on she turns up at her first school disco apparently channeling a pre-pubescent US child beauty queen. 

Anyway, decision made.  Three is way too young to be thinking about this.  Twitter's opinion, when I mentioned the dilemma earlier today, was that make up and nail varnish should be something left for a few years yet.

More time then to prepare myself.  To learn all about nails, eyes, blusher, foundation, lipstick, moisturiser.  Let's hope there's plenty of advice on YouTube.

But then I received this comment:

My Brownies are desperate to hold pamper nights and paint nails 

Argh! Pamper nights? I had even thought about them.  There goes my heart rate again!