In high school we learned that makeup is evil, and possibly destroyed the Beis Hamikdash. (At least eyeshadow did. It’s pshat pasuk in Yeshayahu or something. Or maybe Rashi says it’s pshat. Anyway, we learned this. I think most high schools do. Did you?)
In seminary we learned that you aren’t supposed to take out the garbage without it.
Actually, we had a teacher in high school who told us about the time her mother-in-law picked her out when she was taking the F train home. Our future teacher was terribly dressed and not wearing makeup, slouched in her seat exhausted after a long day of work. Even so, this Hungarian woman from Boro Park picked her out as the one for her son.
The moral of her story is, never go out looking messy, tired, and without makeup, because your future mother-in-law might be looking at you on the train. (Yeah, I didn’t follow either.)
Anyway, my point is, the messages regarding makeup are beyond confusing. Which is probably why I got a distressed email about it from a younger friend. She had recently graduated high school and was being pressured to wear makeup on dates, but didn’t want to destroy the Beis Hamikdash.
I told her that makeup, like everything in life, is great when used in moderation for the right purpose. Unfortunately, Bais Yaakov doesn’t know how to explain moderation, so makeup must be evil until it’s mandatory.
She was satisfied.
But recently I heard a different explanation, given by a high school teacher. It went like this:
“You have to dress up and put yourself out there so you can get married quickly and stop putting yourself out there.”
In other words, briefly disregard all the rules of tznius that we taught you, in order that you can accomplish a more important goal of getting married, and then go back to being tznius.
(After you are married, everyone knows, you are only supposed to dress up for your husband. We were all told the laudatory story of the woman who put on her makeup and sheitel after coming home from work.)