You know, back in 2004, when I first started blogging--eight years ago on August 10th, in fact--blogging felt far freer than it does now. Self-publishing on the internet (which is all blogging is, when you think about it) was a new frontier. But there were a few unspoken rules.
The first, of course, was that you weren't supposed to blog under your real name. Hence Poppy Buxom, a/k/a Poppisima (a variation provided by my pal Joke--and that's not his real name, either.) It wasn't a privacy issue so much ... well, OK, a little bit of it was for privacy. But picking a blogging name was like picking a new handle for an email account: it was a chance to be creative. To play with your identity.
Also, bloggers started off as writers. Maybe not published writers, but blogging was about the words. You could put up post after post with no photographs, and nobody would complain. Can you imagine? (No photos in this post--I'm kicking it old school.)
Another rule--at least amongst the thirty-something female bloggers I was reading and/or emulating--is that you were supposed to convey a sort of artsy,
slackerish image. This is probably because blogging was invented by
Generation X, which has been chronically underemployed for decades now. (I realize this is supposed to be the Baby Boomers' fault, but don't look at me; I was a slacker before the term was invented.)
Another rule was honesty. You could be as confessional as you wanted. We were encouraged, nay, expected to blog about our depression, infertility, and marital woes. Which meant that a lot of bloggers were constantly whining about their problems, personal and financial.
Later we got BlogHer and advertising and domain names and twitter and Facebook pages and giveaways and sponsored posts and search engine optimization and whatnot. People started blogging for a living. But way back when, it was pretty much me talking to myself, in the company of a small circle of similarly-pseudonym-ed cronies.
Because of the general poor-me 30-something zeitgeist, I worked hard to conceal the amount of privilege I enjoyed. After all, some of the biggest names in what would be called mommyblogging were struggling financially. It seemed in bad taste to blog about my latest Mother's Day shopping spree at Neiman Marcus when bloggers I admired were putting tip jars on their blogs.
And really, what was with all the shopping, anyway? Was I completely shallow?
I suppose I was. And am. A better woman wouldn't get so much pleasure out of amassing large amounts of high end crappe. But I am no better than I am, so I do. And I gloat over my pretties like Gollum with his Precious.
This is why I stopped blogging about my personal life, and became a beauty and style blogger for middle-aged women. A lot of my real-life friends read my blog, and I was fine with that. But the game had to change when the kids at my kids' school discovered my blog.
I didn't want to stop blogging, but it behooved me to find a different subject. Something that didn't revolve around my kids. Something that wouldn't embarrass them. Something that would bore the pants off the playground bullies. Something I knew really well, like ... makeup.
Now, I realize that as we age, makeup has diminishing returns. I can spend 20 minutes putting on primer, foundation, concealer, highlighter, contour, blush, eyeshadow, eye liner, mascara, brow color, lipstick and lipgloss, and my 15-year-old daughter will swipe on some lip balm and look 100 times more beautiful than I do.
But age has some compensations. When I was a teenager, I lived and breathed fashion magazines. Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and Ingenue. (Does anyone else remember those last two?) They were my bibles. I couldn't afford to buy anything in them, but I pored over them.
I knew that one day I'd come up with the money, and I'd go to New York, shop at Bonwit Teller, get my hair done by Kenneth, and eat lunch at La Côte Basque.
Oh, well. I guess it's too late for any of that. But by God, I can still buy Chanel makeup.
You may be wondering, what's with the navel-gazing, Poppy? It was Perilously's Pale entry into the Most Expensive Face competition.
Anyone who's hung around here for any length of time realizes that I love high-end department store makeup. For me, makeup is a luxury, and I really prefer it to feel luxurious.
I'm not opposed to drugstore brands, but the packaging rarely thrills me.
No, I long for the stuff you buy at Neiman Marcus,
Nordstrom, and Saks. I love the the advertising campaigns, the way the
department stores set up the counters, the packaging, the loud snap of
the compacts when you open and shut them, and those smells. I love it
But I still feel a little guilty about my deep interest in such a shallow subject, not to mention the vast sums I spend on what is, after all, just makeup.
And that's why I get a vicarious thrill out of reading about how someone else spent over $3,000 on one day's face products.
With my Garnier moisturizer, L'Oreal mascara, and Maybelline concealer, I'm nowhere near that figure. And when the blogging sans-culottes go looking for beauty bloggers to take to the guillotine, I might just squeak by.