As i was doing my girl's eye makeup this morning, it occurred to me the oddity this would appear as to someone should they wander into my home. I don't always do her makeup, she's quite adept at it, but there are times when she's going for a particular complex effect or i get an itch to do it.
Exploring my fascination with transformation in my youth brought me to the art of makeup. I've mentioned many times how i enjoyed watching the females in my life dab their creams, powders and rouges onto their faces. It was a genuine pasttime of mine, where my mom would signal the commencement of her ritual by playing her favorite Ella Fitzgerald record, which she only listened to while getting ready. I'd hear the first few notes of "April in Paris", rush into her vanity, sit myself in the corner and just gaze. The process a female takes to enhance, diminish, and shape her features took on a metaphysical and meditative allure for me. Whenever we went to bookstores, the makeup books were always a popular destination for my thumbs to flick through. I probably read Making Faces more than 50 odd times. I soon set to memory names like Max Factor, Ben Nye, and my favorite, Joe Blasco.
When i learned that the fantastical animals, horrifying monsters, and adorable imps that fluttered throughout my favorite movies were the product of genius makeup artists like Mr. Blasco, i was ecstatic! The mere idea of exacting physical alteration from a human to a hideous creature or beast by simply applying a palette of grease paint and latex prosthetics stunned me. I read every book from my local library on the topic of special effects makeup. Needing more resources, i would walk to this store called Barnes and Noble that had just opened up. Their policy of letting customers grab a pile of materials and read through them in the comfortable chairs they provided allowed me to explore nearly every issue of Fangoria and Cinefantastique. I quickly realized that the kind of effects that infatuated me were called "creature makeup", as opposed to the gory techniques. I gobbled up all of this print information, studying and memorizing the various techniques, but i felt like i was missing something. Seeing the images of makeup transformations and reading the descriptions that guided you through the process had limits to their effectiveness as learning methods. I needed to see the process firsthand. One day, i was over at my best friend's house, he pulled out his older brother's recently purchased laser disc of Michael Jackson's Thriller. On it had the complete "making of", including the segment that detailed Jackson's transformation into a werewolf.
Seeing those red letters spelling out the word "Metamorphosis" to this day still gives me chills.
"You put this thing on, and you slowly metamorphosize into this whole other person. When you look at yourself in the mirror, you can't help but let the whole mood and the character come to life. You can see the way it should walk, the way it should react, the way it should move."
At this point, Michael Jackson roars at his reflection in the mirror and then turns to the camera, signalling that the beast has taken over. I watched this segment ten times, that night alone. Over the years, i have probably viewed it in the hundreds. With a single explosion of kinetic energy, it grabbed me in my chest, filling it with a passionate insatiable urge. I practiced the appliance of makeup on myself (when i didn't have a model) and others constantly, feeling the electricity of creation bolting from my fingertips whenever i did. For Halloween, my friends fought to have me master their transfiguration. I also did all of the cosmetics for my female friends before formal dances, and would later utilize these skills in the theatre department in college.
I considered pursuing it as a career, but i chose not to for a few reasons; the largest being my response to transformation. I had such a sexual reaction to doing someone's makeup, that i couldn't imagine it going over well with my model as she sat in the chair while i stood next to her with a raging erection bulging in my pants. I felt satisfied relegating this hobby of mine to the intimate relationships i had.
Now i get my thrills from applying my girl's false eyelashes, lacing her corset or giving her lips an overly full look. I get a kiss as thanks, but what really gratifies me is the chance to play a part in a perpetual transformation.