To all the people who had ever applied eyeliner I dedicate this post.
Congratulations to all those who are professionals of this beautification technique. I salute you masters who in a matter of seconds could dip that small brush in that small pot/tube and on taking it out apply a perfect thin line on the edges of your eyes. I admire you experts who with the flick of a wrist could go from plain-eyed-Janes to smouldering-eyed-Carmens. I envy you champions who could at the last minute whip out that little tube and be instantly made-up. I honour you heroes for whom this little kit do not pose potential threat and possible humiliation. May your names be etched in stone all those who excel in this deceptively simple mission.
I was a young girl when I first got acquainted with this little make-up tool. “It’s quite simple,” said my sister, “Stand near the mirror, tilt your face upwards, look down but don’t close your eyes, then draw a line outwards as close to the eyelashes as possible, don’t blink, let it dry, and there you’ll be, beautifully made-up.” How hard can it be? Everybody’s doing it so it must be quite easy, I naively thought, and proceeded to beautify myself.
I positioned myself near the mirror, did a reverse Princess Diana, and drew my first line. I was pretty nervous; my hands shook badly, and I ended up with eyeliner all over the eyelids. Washed it off, and got ready for a second round. It went as badly as the first time. More than a decade and third, fourth, fifth…..nth rounds later, I still cannot draw a perfect line. When I’m lucky I do manage to come out with a fairly good line but it usually takes lots of hard work and lots of removing and re-drawing.
A typical eyelining session of mine goes like this. Arrange the face close to the mirror, check for shaky hands and ceiling fans and stray hair, and after making sure everything is ready dip the brush into the pot/tube. Start from the inner corner of the right eye (the right eye always come first for some reason) and go outwards with one stroke. The line is almost always perfect. Wait for a few seconds, and then work with the left eye. This is when the trouble always begins. Since I’m right-handed and I always start from the inner corners, I find moving from right to left a bit difficult (if I was a Greek or an Arab I may not face this problem). And my eyelashes, short as they are, keep on obstructing the path. So I developed a solution: I’d put my hand perpendicular to my eyelids, hold the brush horizontally and draw. It is a terrible solution; I would say it’s not a solution at all, because when I do this my hands get shaky and my eyelashes usually end up getting all the eyeliner. Back to the same old m.o., and somehow I would manage a line. The line would be very crooked, and I would have to make a few corrections here and there. When I’m satisfied with its appearance I would then look at both eyes and invariably would discover the left line is thicker than the right line. So back to the right eye, to add a little thickness to the line. Sometimes I would succeed in making both the lines equal, sometimes I would not and have to keep on adding a few lines here and there until I came out looking like a surprised raccoon with a thick black spot over its eyes.
So if you’re one of those talented individuals who could effortlessly draw that simple black/blue/grey/whichever colour line without batting an eye, please remember it’s no mean feat. As long as there are people like me who sometimes have to resort to covering up the botched line with eyeshadow and for whom the eye pencil (especially the sketch one) remains the greatest invention since sliced bread you can always keep that head held high, with that perfectly lined eye visible for the whole world to see.