«Women today no longer put on makeup. Why don’t they want to make themselves beautiful and put on beautiful clothes? » said her uncle Nacho.

Esméralda felt himself affected by this remark. How long had she not been wearing makeup? She remembered throwing away all her products because they were outdated. When was it?

She remembered the wedding of her friend Alba where she had prepared for the occasion: high heels, nail polish, a new dress, a beautiful hairstyle adorned with fir cones but no makeup. She had found super classy clothes for the children and her daughter had even asked her why she had a «real princess» dress. She had replied that it was because they were going to celebrate the wedding in a real castle. And that was true. This marriage was splendid: sublime old car that the bride and groom had even had to push, castle in clear stones overhanging a panorama worthy of a painting of master.

Esméralda was very embarrassed to go there without makeup but she found herself in an absurd situation. Her make-up had already been treated in a dump and, not wishing to buy expensive products (her purse was lean) and not environment-friendly that she would certainly never reuse; she had decided to go and get herself made-up in a shop on the morning of the wedding. The result would surely be better because she had lost the gestures of this coquetry. Dressing and moving the whole family was no easy task and they eventually arrived late at the ceremony at the Town Hall. So a make-up break was totally unrealistic.

 

As soon as they reached the chateau, the bride’s best woman,  —  not her maid, Pepita, had howled: «And your make-up? ». Esmeralda said nothing but thought no less. First, it was she who had organized the bachelor party girl at the Hamann the day before, so fifteen women had already seen her without any other than her underpants … «This is the party of the panties!» as she said. And, second, if Pepita wanted her to be made up, she had only to offer to go in her car and take care of her … That’s what they would have done ten years earlier when Alba, Esméralda and Pepita were flatmates. She had still very good memories of that time. But everything changes. She was sure that Pepita had all the make-up stuff in the glove box.
How could she stay impeccable all afternoon and all evening otherwise?

So the last time she’d been put on makeup was surely at her own wedding, five years earlier. The bridal princess dress required corset, high heels, complicated hairstyle, nail polish and …makeup.

But since then, she no longer wished to be a princess. Just a good mother, a good wife. And have interesting discussions. Did this require make-up?

« Things are changing, she replied.

– But why ? Women no longer take care of them. You can still pay attention to yourself. We, men, continue to make efforts. Exercise, beautiful shirts, we cut our hair well, we pay
attention to eat well.

– And why do you think women do not do that?

– But, it’s the men who have to build muscle. Women have the makeup to suit them.

– Yet, Lolita is not made up. » Lolita was Nacho’s companion for about a decade now. They were inseparable.

« God no! That’s why men have younger women and nobody notices. I am 66 and she is 61, no one sees the five years apart!» He was as proud as a peacock.

Esmeralda raised her eyes to heaven, holding her chin. Nobody has ever said that to her before! Nacho still believed he was a young man. It is true that he took care of himself but nothing exceptional either. And he looked his age despite everything. It was Lolita who was looked older; she did not seem to do much sports, had belly and had simple clothes although becoming. She was not ugly and she was nevertheless well cared for. For the first time since she arrived, Esméralda dared to say what she thought, knowing that it would not please everyone. She had been censored as soon as she did not have the ideas her family considered the good ones.

«But if it’s you who likes to pay attention to appearance and you’re the one who loves makeup. It’s you who should put it … »

He burst out laughing:

« Nobody has ever said that to me before! Makeup for men!

– No law prohibits it. You are free to do so. Besides, in the Scandinavian countries
some men do put it. Women and men have the freedom to put it or not to put it on. »

It was then that the whole table broke off all the discussions in progress. And her cousin Pili laughed:

« You want to change Dad into a transsexual? »

And to his mother-in-law to add:

« With a beautiful dress, Nacho, you would be all cute. And you would stop asking me to put some makeup on!

– Men and women have the freedom to put on dresses or not. In many cultures, it is even the custom that men put some. For instance, the djellaba or the clothes of the churchmen …

– Shut up, now! You should watch out! » Lolita no longer found it funny. The tone with which she said that was very clear. It meant: you stop saying nonsense and you’re a woman, you listen to Nacho and you close it. If you want to talk, you are confined to the feminine themes: clothing, education, cooking, etc. Besides, all the other members sitting around the table of this family reunion had their beak nailed. The children, fed constantly, had their mouths full. Esmeralda knew why she had not brought her three children. They were far from being chicks waiting for the beak. The girls gladly wore robes with rustle. She would have to bring one to her daughter, she would love it. Even Carmen, her godmother, usually so vindictive, curled up in her chair.

« What is your garment size?, Lolita asked.

– 44.

– Come to my room, I have a very beautiful dress in this size. You could try it on, and if it suits you, I’ll give it to you.

– Thank you, that’s very kind of you,» replied Esmeralda. She did not care about the dress. Moreover, what was she doing with a dress in 44? Since she knew her, Lolita was at least
of the 48. But hey, that’s another story …

She did not care at all for the dress, she felt more like a dog that is coaxed before being muzzled. And as for a change and why don’t we use dresses as muzzles … It would be beautiful the doggy!

Esmeralda followed her obediently to the bedroom. She felt herself crushed to the very depths of her being. She wanted to run to the door and escape. She had been there for four
days. « Only three left, » she thought.

« With women like that, of course men are macho. No one will ever let them discuss or reflect on this theme. They just do what the women tell them. » After all, Lolita was not wearing makeup and was not paying attention to her diet as Nacho wished. She did not listen to her companion more than she listened to Esmeralda. It was she who had the power.

Although it had nothing to do with it, Esmeralda definitely had no intention of applying makeup in the near future. Neither to return to these family gatherings, to have the illusion of having one. Of all the people gathered around the table, none had dared to speak. What did they think? After all, it did not matter, it was enough to hide behind the strongest person in town.

It was not even a machismo problem. Nor even a man-woman relationship. It was just some people who prevented others from saying what they thought, and others who let themselves be. Without blush, that’s what it looked like, her family.

If she had to stay longer, she would have revolted or fled. And so what. It was just enough to shut up three more days.

She contained the rage in her heart. She was anxious to find her true family, in which even her children were listened to, and where they were free to discuss everything; To weigh together all the arguments, even the most wacky ones; to communicate.

Esmeralda had the fury of living.

Aurianne Or