So I was just sitting around getting excited about No Doubt coming back to make me feel young again, when I happened upon an interesting quote from Gwen Stefani‘s recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar. The pop star was talking about how much she loves, loves, loves make-up. To each their own, I say. Then, she threw in this little bit of information:
“I like to make my husband like me more, and he likes it when I’m wearing makeup.”
Wowzers. Gavin Rossdale is a jerk! Alright, he’s probably not, but that was my first reaction. When I read that quote, I was prepared to get on my feminist soapbox and rant about Gwen, her husband’s expectations, and the nature of marriage.
It’s easy to get worked up about a beautiful woman feeling like she needs make-up to keep her husband happy. I could pretend that I got further than Psych 101 and attempt to construct a huge theory about what it says that Gavin wants his wife to walk around with a perfect mask on all day long. That would be fun.
But before I brush up on Sue Johnson‘s Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, I had to think about one aspect of my own marriage. My hair.
For a grown woman, I have really long hair. It’s down to the middle of my back. It’s extremely thick, takes an eternity to tame and would probably be more practical chopped to a bob or something. But even though it takes hours with a blow dryer ad flat iron to make presentable, I keep my long hair because I know that my husband likes it. He told me when we first started dating how much he loved my long hair, and I’ve kept it that way ever since.
Now, would my husband leave me if I chopped off my hair? Of course not. Would he still find me attractive without all these golden locks? Yup. And when I complain about it, sometimes he suggests that I trim it. But I know that my husband likes my hair long and I keep it that way because I think that it makes him happy.
Are my hair hang-up and Stefani’s make-up habit so different? We know that there’s something our husbands’ like, so we continue to do it. I don’t think of it so much as subservience, it’s more like taking their opinion into consideration.
Women tie so much of themselves up in their appearance. We consider hair, make-up and our wardrobe to be the way we present ourselves to the world. But I don’t feel like hanging out to a hairstyle is in any way changing or stifling who I am for the happiness of my husband. It makes me happy to do something that I know he likes.
I think that in every relationship, you try to take your partner’s point-of-view into consideration. It doesn’t make a woman weak for allowing her partner to have an influence on her appearance, as long as she’s the one who makes the ultimate decision.
So instead of getting ranty, I decided that I can respect Gwen Stefani’s choice to wear make-up because her husband likes it. It’s not a decision that I would make, but I can understand the inclination to give your partner’s likes and dislikes a little weight. Of course married couples want to make each other happy. And I’m going to remember that next time it takes an hour to straighten my frizzy hair.