All my life I've maintained a rather disheveled and unkempt-looking appearance: loose, wrinkled clothes; beat-up sneaks; a messy mop of hair; and, typically, a scraggly beard to match. While I'm not unclean, I have the overall look of an out-of-work, perhaps even indigent, humanities professor.
The Wieder style has earned me many disparaging nicknames over the years -- "Rumple-stiltskin" and "Rip Van Wrinkle" being two of my personal faves. But whatever people may say, I dig my rumpled look.
I never have to iron or fold, wear hair product or do any of the girly things that appearance-conscious dudes waste time on. I cut my own hair, saving me lots of bucks and sparing me hours of grating hairstylist jibber-jabber. My floppy duds hide my bodily contours, making exercise unnecessary. And I've never had to put on makeup.
Well, not until recently.
You see, a few weeks ago, Asylum asked me to undergo a "man makeover" -- one that would involve actually setting foot in a salon (eek!), cutting and styling my hair and craziest of all, wearing makeup
. Yup. Makeup.
Despite the fact that an array of male-makeup brands like Jean-Paul Gaultier's "Monsieur" line have recently cropped up to meet increasing demand, I wasn't so sure about the makeover request. But I was curious about the makeup. I couldn't help but wonder how people might treat me if I rocked the Pete Wentz or Russell Brand thing.
What would it be like to be "Sexy Me" for a day? Would random women throw themselves at me? Would TMZ paps shadow me, thinking that if I was bold enough to wear makeup in public, I had to be somebody? Would people hand me free stuff, like in that classic Eddie Murphy "White Like Me"
I drove to a chi-chi salon in Sherman Oaks and met my team: hairstylist Reiynne Dekora and makeup guru Robert Hensley from Sormé, a cosmetics line popular among Hollywood makeup artists
and (Rob informed me) among men. I'd brought along my girlfriend Carley, sending a clear message that I was not some unlovable schlub in dire need of fixing. I was here by choice, dammit!
As I sat down in the salon chair, Rob and Reiynne (pronounced "Rain") stood some yards away, eyeing me and quietly confabbing about how best to refashion me "from rumpled to rocker."
Rob from Sormé was a sweet fellow, but as he began plucking my eyebrow hairs I wanted to stab him in the heart with Reiynne's salon shears.
Then came the Lip Thick plumper, which gave my mouth a puffy Botox-y feeling, and a faceful of Fresh Start primer (all by Sormé). Then undershadow. And bronzer. And brow gel. And eyeliner. And mascara. And a few other things that made my nether-plums shrivel.
I have to say, though, that when I finally looked in the mirror, I saw that Rob had nailed it. He'd put on enough makeup to be discernible, without going all Adam Lambert on me.
I looked cool, rock n' roll, like I was in a band again -- one that could actually play, unlike the sucky one I was briefly in after college.
Then came the really hard part: Re-entering the world as Sexy Me. Undaunted, I slipped on some skinny white jeans, shiny silver Pumas, and a tight black punk-rock tee that showed off my tats. I hopped in the car and headed for Hollywood.
As I stepped into a Starbucks on Sunset, I felt everybody's eyes on me, but not in a good way. At that moment I realized something. I'm wearing f**king makeup
In order to carry this off, I needed to act like a rock star: moody, withdrawn, contemptuous. Like I hate the world and everyone in it, and I choose to express it by wearing mascara.
I frowned, slouched and sulked, striking a whole range of mopey-rocker postures.But for all the effort, the results were negligible. At Starbucks, Amoeba Records, Urban Outfitters, Target (I needed diapers), people eyed Sexy Me with a range of expressions -- curious, befuddled, put off, weirded out -- but nobody said anything or treated me differently.
Frustrated, I returned to my office in Universal City, where my screenwriting partner Steve was eagerly awaiting my return. He pulls no punches with me, so I looked to him for a straight answer.
"How does it look?" I said. "Honestly, bro. Does it look cool?"
"You look like a clown," he said, laughing. "No, a gay clown." Then laughed some more.
That night I returned home totally exhausted. It was so much to think about: all that appearance to live up to, all that time and energy spent wondering what people think. With great relief I washed my face with some of Carley's makeup remover and watched Sexy Me spiral down the drain.
Right afterward I hopped into bed for some sorely needed heterosexual love, which hopefully cured my girlfriend of any suspicion that I was now less of a man. Then, after a long and very confusing day, Ol' Rip Van Wrinkle slipped on his favorite rumpled PJs and slept for a very long time.
UPDATE: We asked the ladies at Lemondrop.com
what they thought of our little makeover experiment. Read their response
Asylum's Dating and Love category is brought to you by Gillette, who wants to know:
Alan Wieder is the author of "Year of the Cock" and a screenwriter in Hollywood. His dog, Cosmo, is a big idiot.
How Much Do You Groom?
|1-2 hours a day -- they call me metrosexual. Cleanliness is next to everything.||3204 (6.6%)|
|1 hour a day -- manscaping is a necessity, I get a 5 o'clock shadow at noon.||8328 (17.2%)|
|30 min. a day -- my biggest concern is remembering deodorant.||31081 (64.3%)|
|Bath time is on Saturday. I'm lucky if I don't clear a room.||5741 (11.9%)|