The Scrubbed Face

“Only ugly women wear makeup.” My father’s words. We all abided.

I can remember hiding mascara, buying lip color and nail polish in secret, applying it carefully on the bus on the way to school.

Orangutan face wash


There were 4 daughters in my family. We were told that we were nice looking girls, and did not need “that stuff.”

It was hard being a teenager in our household. The peer pressure to look a certain way was never tolerated, at least not without a challenge.

My mother had alabaster Irish complexion, with freckles. She used a bright red lipstick, and that is all. For as long as we know.

We knew better than to show anything but a scrubbed face around our Dad, even into our adult years. It was refreshing, I must admit, but only after we had survived our childhood message.

There is something about this video that spoke to me. In a Tokyo zoo, this orangutan observed human behavior and is now performing this face washing ritual every day.

The younger one, who is licking the wet rock, has not quite evolved to the same level.

But is hilarious.

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55 Responses to The Scrubbed Face

  1. megdekorne says:

    Thank you my friend for sending smiles ….love , megxxx

  2. Joyful2bee says:

    That was hilarious!! You brought back some memories from my mother telling us not to wear finger nail polish around our grandfather from the old country. He associated nail polish with prostitutes!

  3. “Only ugly women wear makeup.” My father’s words.

    Your father is not much of a world traveler.

  4. So funny all those rules that we grow up with and rebel against and later learn. The video is LOL funny. Thanks for the laugh.

  5. George says:

    That really is interesting. It seems we’re not far removed, are we..:)

  6. I will have to watch it! Interesting that your dad had that rule!

  7. Erika Kind says:

    Wow, 4 girls and your dad could stand tall with that rule. That must have been challenging for sure with all the secrecy and of course you all wanted to look nice(r)! That ape is amazing!

  8. Nurse Kelly says:

    That video is amazing! Yes, it’s the wringing that I can’t believe! He doesn’t just squeeze the cloth – there’s a deliberate method used!
    And as for your scrubbing… I bet you never suffered from acne or breakouts! 🙂

  9. awww so sweet Van. ❤
    Diana xo

  10. I’m amazed to hear animals learning tricks without force or pick up from other animals. I could watch days watching animal and travel shows.

  11. C.E.Robinson says:

    Van, reminds me of Tangee (orange tinged) lipstick and Vaseline for eyelashes in high school years. No other make-up allowed in my house! Mom used Ponds face cream and light face powder for work days. Really, photographs didn’t look that bad, back then. What happened? 💛 Elizabeth

  12. I think our Dad’s must have gone to the same rule school 🙂 Loved the video Van.. it brought back a memory of when in the school holidays we would spent them with my Grandma.. before we went to bed at night out would come the kitchen bowel on the table and the face cloth.. I remember because the water was cold! 🙂 and the soap was Green Fairy Soap. 🙂
    Have a great weekend Van xx

  13. A very interesting video to watch, Van. Does make me wonder if the movie “Planet of the Apes” is based on future events of our little planet.

    Oh, how times have changed. I remember how outraged many people were back in the late 1980s when a new member of staff at the office I worked at chose to wear a stud earring in one of his ears. It was the talk of the company for days.

    • Yes. We don’t seem so separated by evolution, do we ?? I honestly don’t remember the first time I saw that single earring…most likely on a musician. Thanks, Hugh. Times have indeed changed. ☺

  14. Ann Koplow says:

    Now I feel refreshed. Thanks, Van.

  15. lbeth1950 says:

    I know you didn’t agree. Kids just want to fit in.

  16. I loved the video!
    I was never a big fan of makeup but it surely would have been more attractive and mysterious if it had been frowned upon!

  17. BunKaryudo says:

    I’m not sure how intelligent that orangutan really is. I mean, it didn’t wipe properly behind the ears even once.

  18. I wonder where he got the blue napkin from? How cute and hilarious 🙂

  19. joey says:

    That was cute 🙂
    I was impressed with his ability to wring the cloth out.

    My mother had a light hand with make-up. I do too, if I wear any at all. To me, the make up goes with the clothes. Certain clothes require a more polished look. Nails were a free-for-all though, and they are in my house, too. My eldest daughter went through a phase with the smoky eye, thank heavens that was short-lived. She’s fair and fairer, and it usually looked absurd to me, like “Way to hide your beauty, Sis!” lol

    • The MIL’s make-up table was like something out of a Hollywood back stage…lights, mirrors, multi-colored paint pots, brushes…a real attraction to the grandkids, especially my own daughter, who was a bit of an artist anyway. She is also fair, and uses makeup to look like she doesn’t use any…if that makes any sense. ☺ Yep…that wringing out was the highlight of the video for me.

  20. Pingback: V is for Violets, Van, and Vending Machine « A Writer's Playground

  21. Ellen Hawley says:

    I have a lot of trouble recognizing people and women who wear makeup are much, much harder for me to recognize. I’m guessing the makeup covers over what makes them distinct, losing me in the process. I don’t expect anyone else to change what she does with her face in response, but it does make me grateful for a scrubbed face. Or a dirty one.

  22. classyqueeny says:

    Omg…this made night ! Thank you for sharing.❤

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