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Train etiquette [20100414|09:46]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I had a conversation with someone the other day who expressed a pet peeve about women putting on makeup while riding public transport. I let him rant on about it for a while before I told him that I'm one of those women, every morning on the train. This led to an awkward silence, followed by an abrupt change of subject.

I'm not sure I quite understand why a person might be offended by the sight of a person putting on makeup on public transport. I find it no less visually distracting than seeing a person eat on the train, and it smells less. It also makes very little noise, unlike those horrible little earbuds that come with iDevices that seem to project more sound outwards than into the ears of the wearer. It doesn't involve sticking your hands into the face of the person sitting next to you, unlike reading a broadsheet newspaper. The person putting on the makeup is also not in control of the vehicle, and is therefore not putting other passengers at risk. It's actually a feat that's rather difficult to master, as anyone who's wielded a mascara wand or eyeliner in a moving vehicle without poking him or herself in the eye will know.

What do you think?

Poll #1550994 Behavioural triggers

Seeing a person applying makeup while riding public transport is:


[User Picture]From: ursarctous
2010-04-14 09:02 (UTC)
it makes me anxious because i'm convinced they're going to poke their eyes out and that's not really something i want to witness. but that's my own problem, really. i wouldn't necessarily rant about it.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:36 (UTC)
It does bring to mind shades of the Ludovico treatment. *shudder*
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[User Picture]From: helpful_mammal
2010-04-14 09:21 (UTC)
I find it mildly amazing. But then I can come excitingly close to poking my own eyes out in a stationary environment and equipped with nothing sharper than blancmange. And there's always the darkly amusing yet semi-tragic possibility that, after a lengthy journey of surprising makeup precision, the train/bus will suddenly jolt sending a massive streak of eyeliner or lipstick right across that person's carefully made up face. Which I've only seen happen once but the mingled expression of shock, horror and resignation that passed across the woman's face was truly eloquent.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:38 (UTC)
That scenario will always remind me of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, when Guy Pearce deliberately slams on the bus' brakes to spoil Terence Stamp's lipstick application.

(PS Typing that sentence made me disproportionately happy.)
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[User Picture]From: impix
2010-04-14 09:24 (UTC)
i find it weird that people decide to do it on the bus, mainly because i hate leaving the house without any make up on, or if i did i would do it when i got into work.
also, the bus is so jolty i cant imagine doing a very good job.
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[User Picture]From: impix
2010-04-14 09:48 (UTC)
but basically, i couldn't careless. smelling of sage and onion stuffing on the other hand...
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[User Picture]From: sanat
2010-04-14 09:45 (UTC)
My mom once stopped me from grooming in public, the implication being that it was something mildly distasteful and overly personal, like shifting your boobs in your top or trying to subtly pick out a wedgie. I suspect it's an unquestioned hangover from the 40s/50s era of "fascinating womanhood", where women are just meant to pop out factory-fresh from the front door. How dare we demonstrate how we, like tasty consumable sausages, are really made! But I could be overanalysing.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2010-04-14 17:19 (UTC)
No, I don't think that this is over-analyzing at all. In fact, I think this is perceptive.

But then, I am an anthropologist, so I think it's almost impossible to over-analyze anything.

Edited at 2010-04-14 05:20 pm (UTC)
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From: envoy
2010-04-14 11:05 (UTC)
Strong scents, particularly artifical ones likes those used in a lot of makeup, will make my nose clench up, possibly give me fever-like symptoms and are just really unpleasant. I have no problem at all with putting on makeup, it is only it's often common (but not always present) side effects that are troublesome for me.

I should note that someone who steps on the trainhaving just bathed in axe spray or some such is by far a worse offender in my book.
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[User Picture]From: chibaraki
2010-04-14 18:40 (UTC)
I don't find most makeup to have a strong scent. A lot of strong artificial scents give me a headache so I avoid them, and nothing in my makeup stash smells in any manner you can discern if it's not right under your nose.

Except for that one tube of drugstore lipstick which smells like a combination of grandmother and crayon and which I never wear because srsly if it has to stink can't it stink of something else? My favorite lipgloss smelled like a cookie for no reason whatsoever, what's wrong with THAT smell, drugstore lipstick?
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[User Picture]From: recycledfaery
2010-04-14 11:59 (UTC)
I find it fascinating actually. It gives me something to look at, apart from staring at people's shoes which tend to get boring after a while.

I do wonder as was said before at the amazing ability not to smudge mascara or poke an eye out during a lurch. I can barely put mine on in front of the bathroom mirror, let alone when the floor under me is moving. :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:46 (UTC)
Yes, plus it's a challenge to try and watch someone without appearing to be staring at them, which is also entertaining.
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[User Picture]From: cosmiccircus
2010-04-14 13:41 (UTC)
It seems to me like a logical use of time, and is no more annoying than someone reading a book, texting, or doing any other tasks... And as you pointed out, they're not in control of the vehicle...

Also I don't understand why your friend doesn't like it since you mostly stated that it's just a pet peeve, but not why...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:49 (UTC)
I'm happy to report that this person was a passing acquaintance and not a friend. I believe most of my friends, if they had such a peeve, would have the self-perception to recognize that it is irrational and have come to terms with it!
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[User Picture]From: cheekytubemouse
2010-04-14 15:49 (UTC)
It makes sense to me, especially if the woman has a long commute. Why get up extra early to put on makeup at home when you can use the time on the train to do it?

However, people who clip their fingernails on public transportation (or in the office) gross me out because it creates biological debris. *shudder*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:51 (UTC)
That's exactly my reason. Also, I like to crawl back into bed for a quick hug from the bloke before I go, and I don't want to miss out on smooches because I'm afraid of smudging my makeup.

What if they clip their nails in the office over a rubbish bin? Would that still make you shudder?
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2010-04-14 16:29 (UTC)
People get irritated by wierd things. It never ceases to amaze me what people feel are costs imposed on them by other people. All of them relatively minor. From the shape of pint glasses, to slow walkers. Now, apprantly make up. Perhaps your friend is shocked at the nakedness of the female form.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 19:54 (UTC)
I feel the need to point out that this was a passing acquaintance and not a friend. Otherwise I probably would have been more tactful in enquiring about the reasons, instead of deliberately making him feel awkward.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-04-14 20:01 (UTC)
It was a male complaining, yes? Perhaps it's because if he sees you put on the makeup, he loses the illusion that you just get out of bed looking that good.

I don't put on makeup on public transit because I prefer to maintain the illusion that I just look that good. However, my commute is about 10 minutes. If I spent an hour or more on the train, I'd definitely get on looking haggard and do the last portion of my toilette en route.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 20:30 (UTC)
That might have been his real reason. He was trying to convince me that it was rude and intrusive.

I generally do my toilette as soon as I get on the train, as I arrive 10-15 minutes early to ensure that I get a seat. I also don't see the point of doing it before I leave the house because to get to the station I have to walk for 20-25 minutes, usually through windy or rainy conditions.
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[User Picture]From: becala
2010-04-14 20:02 (UTC)
Oh, when I was a teenager, I was once driven in a car by someone who was putting on eyeliner and mascara while driving. In the city, not on the highway.


I was sure she was going to lose an eye, or kill us, or both.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-14 20:32 (UTC)
I think most people have at least one terrifying teenage-driver experience, though they may not always be makeup related. I remember a friend of mine trying to enter the freeway from an off-ramp. Fortunately we managed to convince her to reverse back down before we hit the flow of traffic.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2010-04-14 23:35 (UTC)
I may have buggered up your poll results by selecting 'fascinating'--I've always found it to be a slightly mesmerizing process, regardless of location. But I suspect it'd force me to be more subtle with my rapt focus... ;)

(I'm not on board w/ the application of body spray or cologne, etc of course)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2010-04-15 10:31 (UTC)
You deliberately buggered up my extremely scientific and statistically valid poll? Audacious!

If I see someone doing something I've never managed to master (application of multiple shades of eyeshadow, for instance) I will try to watch out of the corner of my eye to see if I can figure out what I've been doing wrong. Mostly, though, I'm resigned to looking like a clown if I try much more than mascara and lipstick.
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