My first husband used to blush.

He was a natural blond when young. Even later in life, he was a dirty blond — then mostly gray. But he had that light peachy skin that blushes easily. He blushed so easily it was fun poking at him to watch him blush.

He didn’t blush like a romantic hero. More like he turned red in the face, so anything that angered, frustrated, or otherwise upset him up showed up as a blush. When he was really angry, he got downright red.

I don’t think I’ve ever blushed. Too much yellow in my skin tone. Never had rosy cheeks, either. I’m just one of those pale people who can’t tan to save her life. Even sunburned, I don’t look rosy — I just look like you should pack me in ice and send me to a burn unit. The closest to tan I ever got was a sort of vaguely pale orange skin color that made Garry laugh at me. Being white isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

Not being naturally rosy-cheeked, makeup was my go-to to achieve the rosiness of young womanhood. Back when I still wore makeup — mostly, back when I was also still working and looking “nice” had a lot to do with being taken seriously in the workplace — I had dozens of containers of “blush.”

None of them every looked quite right until eventually, I stumbled onto something that looked all wrong — it was a slightly purplish red liquid that you spread on your cheek bones — and suddenly, I had something like color in my face. No pink cheeks, though.

Apparently pink was not my color. I needed darker colors to counter the sallowness of my complexion.

I still have makeup. Not a lot. I don’t think when we get older makeup is flattering — or at least, not the kind of makeup I used to do. I’m sure there’s a different way to do makeup for an older face, but I’ve never learned it.

Unless we are partying a lot heartier than we are wont to do, I don’t bother with makeup. Unless I think I’m going to get photographed. Then I do just enough to keep from looking like a hag.

I should check to see if I have any usable makeup. It may have dried out.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


    1. They have to get through the glasses to even see my eyes. I’ll probably unearth what’s left of the makeup in time for Garry’s MOB (Media of Boston) reunion in April. I might even get my hair trimmed. You know. Go all the way!


    1. I was surprised, but yes, it does make sense. No color of pink looks good on my sallow skin. I wasn’t so sallow as a girl, but age has yellowed me. Like old paper. My first husband had that red nordic thing going. It made him a really bad liar too.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. They measured me at the doctors office and I am now 5’1″. I used to be 5’4-1/2″ but I seem to have shrunk a LOT. I know this because I can no longer reach high enough to put the ring back on the shower rod. Garry’s short too. We match. This is good.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I think I lost most of the height when they removed the discs on my spine. The rest is probably not standing straight. But I’ve got one hip higher than another and a curved spine. They used to think I might have had a mild case of polio as a kid because it would explain the twisted spine. It’s possible, I suppose. Or I’m just twisted.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I hadn’t thought about make-up in a long while. Like you, I used to wear it for work, because we had to look ‘professional’. Reading that last sentence, I see that it might have several connotations besides the one I was talking about. Now I have severely dry skin and glaucoma and make-up is off the menu permanently. I tried a little mascara when I went to a friend’s wedding, and my eyes burned for a couple of days after. But wearing make-up was what snagged me hubby. He liked the fact that “Utah wimmen took ‘care’ of themselves”…come to think of it, I don’t know if that was a gift or not.. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Garry has never cared about makeup, though he does admire it when I do it well — it’s a TV thing, I suspect. He never wore it on camera unless they strapped him in a chair and made him do it. He hated the way it felt on his skin, but a lot of men on TV wear a LOT of makeup on camera.

      I just felt more “office ready” when I was wearing my battle makeup. I don’t know if it impressed anyone, but it made me feel better and probably that was all that really mattered.


    1. We go very few places where anyone cares about makeup. I don’t so much mind wearing it as I really hate removing it. And my eyes don’t like it, either. So mostly, I don’t wear it. Every once in a blue moon … maybe … once in a year? Or less?


  2. There are about 50 senior women down here in the condo community, and it is probably split 50/50 makeup or no makeup. I swing back and forth. I wore it every day when working, and at my age makeup isn’t going to make me look much younger, but it does smooth out coloring. The cosmetic that is talked about the most down here is nail polish because lots of the ladies still get their nails done. I haven’t had my nails professionally done since I quit working full time.


  3. Apparently I do blush since people have noticed I turn red in embarrassing situations… though I’ve never actually looked at myself in a mirror at the time to confirm it. I can confirm that I do not wear makeup, though. And any dreams I may have had about becoming a drag queen disappeared after that horrific experience of getting stage makeup applied to my face before going on TV 17 years ago. God, that stuff was hideously awful…


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