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Opening Arguments

Just the way you are

Another of life's great mysteries solved -- women wear too much makeup because they mistakenly think men men like it:

The female participants thought the models looked better with slightly more makeup than the male participants did. However, all of the participants thought male observers would want the models to be wearing more makeup than female observers would.

They were wrong—men and women preferred the same amount. And that amount was less than the models had actually applied.

Specifically, people thought the models looked best when they were wearing just 60 percent as much makeup as they had actually applied. But they thought women would want the models to be wearing 75 percent as much, and that men would want 80 percent. (Interestingly, the men thought other men wanted the women to be wearing more makeup, even when they themselves didn’t. As if to say, “Oh, I’m the progressive one around here. It’s those other guys you have to watch out for.”)

“Taken together, these results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others,” Jones and Kramer wrote in the study, forthcoming from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. “These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women.”

In other words, the models were primping for nonexistent ideals, not for actual humans.

Note that the thrust here is to cut back on makeup, not get rid of it altogether as suggested by the recent #NoMakeupSelfie campaign. That sounds about right to me. A little eyliner, some lipstic once in a while, but don't trowel it on, OK?

Heh. I once came up with a great routine I'd spring on women friends. "You know," I'd say, "I feel sorry for the way you women mangle your feet and shove them into high heels and torture yourselves walking around all day, all for the purpose of pleasing men. Thank God we're worth it, huh?"

I stopped using that routine. Believe it or not, my friends did not think it was the least bit funny.