FUNNY WOMEN: A Makeup Look for Nuclear Anxiety


Sometimes, your life—and the lives of everyone else—depends on who has a bigger button. But while facing potential nuclear holocaust, you can easily project that you’re functioning regardless with a dewy Spartan glam that says: There’s fear in my heart, but not in my zits, which are totally covered.

For many of us, the hardest part of putting on makeup is getting out of bed. But once in front of the mirror, take solace: although you can’t control Earth’s destiny, you can control the wan canvas before you. And what’s more thrilling than making the world more beautiful one haggard, agitated face at a time?

To begin, if you’re dehydrated from trying to douse feelings of helplessness with tequila, then it’s best to start with a moisture-rich base.

Next, neutralize redness from news-cycle fatigue with a green color corrector; any rancid green you have on-hand will work. I call mine “Ecological Dystopia.”

Now draw your attention to your eyebrows—the pillars of the face that frame the windows to your soul. Use any pencil nearby to fill in and lift brows that might have turned concave from chronic worry. If you have a mustache—the doormat to your soul—fill that in, too, if it’s patchy. (And if you have to pluck, please note: while Kim Jung-Un is a huge inspiration for your twitchiness, he should not be your brow-spiration. As much as you don’t want post-nuclear wilderness, you do not want tiny “hyphen brows” that are trying to be an em-dash between your temples. But that said, facial hair trends are subject to change during a global arms race.)

Don’t forget to curl the lashes to look more awake (even though ugh), and apply a coat of mascara that’s blacker than a civilization’s charred ruins. The one I’m using is called “Fishnets,” which doesn’t remind me of hosiery, but rather a biblical Cormac McCarthy allusion to having plenty if we just close our eyes.

After manipulating the hair of the face, try to mask stress-induced under-eye bags with a highlighter. The beach-y glow of a cream highlighter will lift any drooping sad-face, but regrettably won’t do much for frequent visions of the ocean and its majestic creatures evaporating in a bright blast.

Though this is a nuclear-anxiety look, we’re not going for overkill. Blush might be the biggest challenge because it’s easy to go overboard—and also because its application necessitates smiling. So take a rosy shade, preferably one that mimics your natural flush when confronting destructive male egos, and dust it on the apples of your cheeks in circular motions. If this calms you, just keep layering it on. You can remove any clown-y excess later—or leave it if you always wanted to be a clown but the timing was never right.

And because beauty begins on the inside, to my daily regimen I’ve added a moment for deep giving-birth breathing and aggressive positive thinking. For example, should a worst-case nuclear scenario occur, it would resolve my monthly student debt payments, my inability to afford basic healthcare, my indoor pigeon situation, and my two outstanding parking tickets.

Lips are the final step in this look, and given the United States’s pro-Armageddon strategies, I prefer something friendlier for my lip line. So I use a warm beige pencil I call “Radioactive Sheep Meat.” Once lined, color in your stress-bitten lips with a darker red to hide the cracks and dried blood, or just go for a flattering neutral that would look great during any Judgment Day. As a final touch, a little lip gloss goes a long way—a dependable favorite of mine is this sheer coral I’ve nicknamed “No Birds Are Chirping.”

Now you’re ready to leave the house looking polished yet natural while still being haunted by global hubristic ineptitude. This look may appear effortless, but it requires serious focus to achieve without going back to sleep, or shrieking in public—and at the end of the day (or human era), commitment is always chic.


Rumpus original art by Kaili Doud


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Caitlin Brady is a writer from Texas whose work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Hairpin, and her snake oil outlet, Deathstyle blog. More from this author →