Grooming in public

It’s okay to quickly apply lipstick at the table if you’re with close friends or relatives in a non-business situation, and at a non-deluxe restaurant. In general, personal grooming should be done in private for the simple reason that it can be annoying and it’s tacky (Emily Post, ettiquette expert)


If you often take public transportation like I do, you will have plenty chance for people watching. It’s actually one of my favorite past time activity (aside from sleeping) during my daily 30 minutes commute by train.  As usual, it’s the ladies that are more interesting to watch. Be it their choice of outfit, too much information conversation on cellphone, or their public grooming habit, they never cease to amuse me!

Back in the days when I had to take morning train to get to my 9 AM class, there was this blond girl I always enjoy watching. She must lived on our off-campus dorm, which was only 3 stops away from school. She always dress casually in sweats and messy pony tail, carrying a big backpack and smaller handbag. Typical college girl attire.  She would stand near the door, open her handbag, and start applying eyeliner and mascara the minute she got on the train. I always amazed how she could apply eyeliner in a moving train (not to mention, in public) without poking her eyes. Then she would take her lipgloss out, did her lips, and voila… in short 5 minutes train ride she would had her eyes heavily lined and shiny lips done. She never use powder or blush, and didn’t even fix her hair. Apparently, lots of mascara, eyeliner and bit of lipgloss were all she need to start her day right.

Another time when I take the 11 AM-ish train, there was this young lady who did her whole make up on the train. I sat catty-cornered  behind her, so I could openly stared while she was doing her face. First she put the powder on (with sponge), but I couldn’t see what powder she used. Then she took a small palette with mirror (Benefit?) and put the blush on. Next she took out something I could easily identified, the green and pink tube of Maybelline Great Lash mascara, and finished with a tube of black lipstick that could be MAC. As this lady finished with her make up routine, another woman got on the train and sat half car away facing me. Would you know it, she also did her make up the minute she got on the train! I had a field day watching them from afar and guessing what products they use, realizing that without FD I probably won’t have the knowledge of various make up items.

Then today I saw something that would probably give Ms. Post a heart attack. An attractive Latina with dark sunglasses on got on train with her boyfriend while I was busy watching another couple (a retro style girl with the most gorgeous strawberry blonde hair I’ve ever seen with her scruffy faced boyfriend). 5 minutes into the ride, to my surprise, the Latina took deodorant out of her handbag and just apply it! When I look around, I found that most women also saw what just happened  and tried so hard to suppress their laughter. After that, everytime she opened her handbag I was wondering what she would put on next in public!

While it seems more common now to see people do their primping in public,  I’m still with Ms. Post on this one. I personally think that more than a quick touch up should be done in private. And for the deodorant, well… that’s the thing that MUST be kept to yourself. As for me watching, I know it’s rude to stare… but hey, it’s fun! Of course I mean the make up, not the deodorant! :)