Saturday, August 15, 2009

The narcissist in me

So I got hit by the vanity bug this week. I thought this day would never come, not even on my wedding day. For my wedding, I wore a simple dress bought on the day before in such haste that I still had the price tag on when we arrived at the registrar.

Anyway, I was informed that I would be given a column on the Malaysian Insider starting two weeks from now. Yes, very exciting news and I was really really chuffed especially when I was told that I can write about anything I want. Hooray!

In reality, I was shocked by the news. When I first started having discussion with someone from the Malaysian Insider, I never thought that this would turn out to be something so great. So, you can understand why I couldn’t believe it.

When I asked the person whether there should be some kind of a theme for my column, she suggested, “Why not call it Ka Ea’s life?” I was like, “Err….isn’t that a bit too egocentric?”

Truth be told, who was I kidding? It may have sounded egocentric but hey, aren’t most bloggers like that? (I know of one who is particularly self-centred).

So yes, as an afterthought, I realised what I said was purely false modesty and I hated myself for that. So, I’m going to try real hard not to turn my column into some sort of an intellectual emotional masturbation.

Anyway, going back to the vanity bug. I was also told that a photographer would be taking a photo of me and I must confess that I really felt uncomfortable. As far as writing is concerned, I have no problem feeling comfortable with who I am but when it comes to socializing or having my pictures taken by someone, I turn into a complete moron.

No joke. I guess I have my own complexes like many people. With writing, at least there is no actual physical contact with another person but when I’m in front of a person or the camera, I feel naked and vulnerable.

So, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to make such a big deal out of this. If the photo turned out bad, I could always request them to Photoshop it. Then someone advised me that I should at least get my hair done. After all, this photo may accompany me for a long time if I manage to keep the column.

What started off as only a haircut went totally out of control. I insisted the hairstylist to keep it natural and messy. You know, the kind of hair where it looks nice and yet as if you have just gotten out of bed. I didn’t want it to look as if I had made too much effort.

When I explained to the hairstylist that I would be getting my portrait picture done, she advised me to get my make-up done as well. By now, you should realize that neither do I have naturally great hair nor a clear complexion. So much for having my ego boosted previously.

So now, she had really put me in a dilemma. Should I get my make-up done or not? If I did, then it proved that I was giving too much attention on this photo thingy. Wasn’t that a tad too narcissistic? Do I really care about people judging how I look rather than the substance of my writing? But if I didn’t, would I look at the photo and wished that I had done it?

Hmm…this has got to be the toughest decision of my life.

Of course, I gave in to the vanity bug. I traipsed to the cosmetic section, feeling rather silly. I felt lost and yes, naked. How does one get a make-up done and which one? Aahhh…Bobbi Brown. I’ve heard good things about it; neutral skin tone, etc. Just what I needed.

As soon as I was told that I had to purchase RM180 worth of products in order to get a free make-up, I immediately said no. What the hell was I going to do with the product after the photo session?

I was going to change my mind (I wasn’t going to approach all the cosmetic counters to be given the same answer) but the lady told me that Shu Uemura provides make-up service alone without the need to purchase any products. Goody! I always wanted to try out their fake eyelashes.

So there I was, sitting on the cosmetic counter on a Thursday morning, having my face covered with thick layers of concealer and what not. The funny thing was, I never realize how ridiculously delusional I could be.

I firmly informed the lady, “I would like the make-up to be as natural as possible. Neutral colours only. But ah, you see here?” I pointed at the angry spot on my right cheek. “Please do your best to hide it, ok?”

The lady looked at me with exasperation and as politely as she could, said, “Err….if you want the spot covered, I have to put on hairy make-up, wor.”

Hairy? What the hell is hairy make-up? I thought I had my hair done already.

After seeing how confused I was, she quickly added, “Ok, never mind. I know you don’t like hairy make-up. I will try to cover as much as possible. But can still see the spot a little bit. Okay-ah?”

Aahhh..she meant heavy make-up. Ok-lor what to do? Don’t have good skin but want to expect so much. See? This is how delusional I was.

Apart from learning the lesson that one should always dress up when having their make-up done (I was walking in shabby clothing around the mall but with a face that was ready to attend a ball), I’ve learned that anyone can look like a superstar. All you need is a professional make-up artist and fashion consultant.

J. Lo’s luscious long hair? Highlights and hair extension. Lucy Liu’s almond-shaped eyes with thick curly eyelashes? Mascara with fake lashes. Cameron Diaz’s luminous smooth skin? Concealer and liquid foundation.

I kid you not because the result was startling and I was unrecognizable. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to try it out and see the result for yourself. Go on and surrender yourself to the vanity bug.


  1. Hey you're a woman, you're supposed to be vain.

  2. Who says only women are supposed to be vain? This applies to guys as well.

    There's no harm in any gender to try to look their best, as long as vanity doesn't end up as the main obsession.