By: Amber Leventry
My daughter just came home from a friend’s birthday party ready to star in a production of Cats, apparently. I don’t blame the party hosts. I blame the individuals who are capitalizing on a kid’s love of face paint. Summer jamborees, fall festivals, winter carnivals—my new kid-friendly stomping grounds—full of cotton candy, pizza, and hot dogs also come with the blood of the devil herself. And it drives me crazy. Call me a mean mama, but I hate face paint.
Here are five reasons why face paint is the worst:
1. The Lines
Where there is a line, there is anxiety. If we arrive somewhere that offers face paint, my daughter immediately needs to be standing in that line for fear the woman being paid to stay at said location for two more hours will up and leave. I kinda get it. I feel the same stress when I walk into an event which offers an open bar. If I don’t get in line, someone else will drink all of the alcohol before I can get a sniff.
And while having your kid’s face painted usually doesn’t cost anything, I consider the amount of time spent in line for *washable* artwork to be a form of payment. I have wasted about seven hours of my life standing with other dutiful parents while we try to contain our children’s Christmas Eve-like excitement. When will it be my turn? Is it my turn yet? I want a cheetah. No, I want a tiger. Yes, butterfly. I want a butterfly. I have to go to the bathroom.
Much like the casinos in Vegas, cocktail waiters and waitresses should be offering drinks to parents standing in face painting lines. They would make bank.
2. The Artists
We all gotta make a buck somehow. But I have yet to meet a face paint artist who seems appropriately satisfied with his or her job. I have had the displeasure of seemingly irritating a woman by accepting her offer to paint fireworks onto my daughter’s cheeks. And I have felt equal displeasure by watching a woman enjoy her work too much. The woman talked in a weird, trance-like voice as she set up her video camera and then treated my daughter’s face like it was the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The face painter’s artistry fluctuates just as severely as his or her happiness. One would think that the not-so-good artists would be the cranky ones. Not the case. One guy who, no matter what the kid asked for, could only paint what looked like a deflated balloon with triangle ears was the jolliest MF you ever did meet. The creepy, probably applies lipstick over and over again while watching herself paint children’s faces, gal? Amazing artist.
3. The Paint
The paint itself seems to have a lead base, because my kid loses her mind after it’s applied. Despite her confidence, face paint is not an invisibility cloak and I must remind my daughter of such. While thick in pretending she is a jungle cat, she forgets I can still see her when she pushes her brother and spits her food on the floor after declaring it is not zebra meat.
The paint also acts as the Ghost of Christmas Future. If done right, face paint cuts me deep when I see a preview of what my daughter would look like as a pole dancer or hooker. It’s a wound that is only healed with the distraction of trying to remove paint from couch cushions and carpets.
4. The Disappointment of Bath Time
The paint will be washed off before bedtime. I know it. She knows it. Yet, my daughter throws a fit every time the water starts flowing and the soap comes out. I scrub with a controlled strength that will remove the face paint without removing her skin—the *washable* paint will rub off on the couch, but not with a washcloth lined with sandpaper or dipped in paint stripper. The water turns black and my kid goes from Broadway star to washed up actress addicted to meth and Cheetos. My tub becomes stained, and the evidence of the best day ever is gone, expect for the glitter remaining in her eyebrows. We are all disappointed.
5. The Slippery Slope into Balloon Animals
Much like the popular children’s If You Give…book series, if you let your child have his or her face painted, they will want a balloon animal too. You will move two feet from one line to another. And in those few steps, my only hope is that the actual balloon lasts longer than the amount of time it took to wait for it. What can a balloon be made into to last at least 45-60 minutes? And where are the instructions for calming an irrational toddler when it eventually pops or deflates?
From the cute little rainbow painted on a cheek to the full-face jobs rivaling Hollywood make-up studios, face paint is the worst.
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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