Eyelashes in the field

I flew into Seattle this week sitting beside a woman with great, swooping eyelashes.

She was dressed fashionably but casually.

"Odd," I thought, "She’s not dressed up or anything.  Why the false eyelashes?"

Apparently I think false eyelashes are formal wear.

And I think in a sense they are.  False eyelashes are about glamor, and fancy, or at least formal, dress. They are a big gesture, one that marks the occasion as special.

Yesterday in the street in San Francisco I saw the same thing: a woman casually dressed but with big, fat lashes.

It doesn’t take much to get me shouting with the excitement. Two data points! The results are in, ladies and gentlemen!  We have a new trend!!!

"Not so fast," said Alisa Weinstein at a CCO meetup at the 21st Amendment bar.  Alisa thought my "sightings" were probably not false eyelashes but real ones, and the result of Latisse, a prescription drug that makes eyelashes longer.  Ah, anthropologists, always the last to know.

And now we begin the process of adjustment.  In a couple of months, I will stop thinking of big, fat eyelashes as formal wear.  A few months after that, I will stop thinking, "wow, you must be using Latisse!."  Eventually this social innovation will be as unexceptional as blond(ed) hair.  I never think "Wow, you dye your hair!"  I never even notice the artifice.

We have lots of transformational activity to look forward to.  Some of the early adventurers suggest we might someday use plastic surgery in a more aggressive manner.  (See my book Transformations for a glimpse of Orlan, Wildenstein, and Cher.) Once we start mucking about with our DNA, the sky is the limit!  It won’t be long before our social world looks as odd as that bar scene from Star Wars.  No aliens required.  And eventually it will never occur to us to notice.


Anonymous.  2009.  Brooke Shields Promotes Latisse, Prescription Eyelash Lengthener. Celebrity Beauty Buzz.  here.

McCracken, Grant.  2008.  Transformations: Identity formation in contemporary culture. Indiana University Press.  available on Amazon here.

The Latisse website here.

Post script.

This post filed from somewhere over the heart land of America at 31,000.  I am still thrilled to get wireless access on an airplane.  Talk about an adjustment curve.  A reader three years from now is going to say, "Really. That was a big deal?  How quaint."

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  1. Pingback: The Culture of Long Eyelashes.

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