I have just returned from my weekly fairly strenuous jujistsu class. After a warm-up that that includes the odd bit off speedy running, star jumps, sit-ups, press-ups and strange slapping of the floor things we call 'break falls' I am sweating. Not glowing or perspiring like ladies in the past but sweating real beads of sweat from the roots of my hair to the tippy-tips of my toes. Looking round the room I see my classmates of both sexes are in a similar state.
After our warm-up (more accurately heat-up) we move on to graded exercises throwing and flooring our opponents in friendly combat. My grade partner just happens to be twice the size and weight of me so by the end of the syllabus work I am leaving puddles of sweat on the floor, my face is red and I have to use my jacket sleeve to wipe my eyes to stop them stinging.
For a year I was a lone women among a class full of men until happily a year ago another feisty female joined in the fun. Recently I have the pleasure to report more women joining the class. The only fly in the beauty ointment is that the new ladies can not bare to be bare faced and turn up caked in make-up. We are not talking waterproof mascara or a hint of eyeliner, I am talking full-on party make-up. Every week I come home home with a newly stained suit from ground fighting, but never mind me and the new expense of buying bottles of Vanish whitener, what about them?
What can someone be thinking when faced with a steaming dojo that they present themselves in full warpaint only to have it trickling down their necks after 5 minutes and stinging their eyes after 10. Surely, there can be fewer more bitter tastes than make-up seeping into one's mouth or no feeling less desirable than looking like a bad drag act facing a handsome gladiator as one is about to wipe what is left of one's face on his gleaming White suit during a bout of ground fighting.
What can be so montrous, so unbecoming, so scary underneath the mask that a woman would rather risk looking like a melted oil portrait and ingest grams of chemicals?