Getting Ready for a Date When You Can't Go Home From Work First

Let me begin by saying that I’m not very good at being a girl.  I love being a girl, and I am a feminist and everything, but I just mean that I didn’t get good at it until like, really, really recently.  I wore inappropriately baggy pants until I was about 22, which was the same year I discovered makeup.  I am now a jeggings-sporting, compact-toting, mostly-functional woman.  I have discovered the joys of (have become reliant upon?) putting on good makeup before going out for the night.  Especially for a date.

I remember getting ready for junior high dances with much more fondness than I remember the dances themselves.  Getting ready can be fun.  But now that we are grown-ups, we have to spend our days at some sort of “job,” and we sometimes find ourselves with not enough time to go home and get ready.  Instead, we have an awkward 1-2 hour window in which to prepare ourselves for our date.  This presents a number of problems:


If you drive a car, your instructions are fairly simple:

  1. Stop car.
  2. Apply makeup using rear view mirror.
  3. Feel self-conscious, nervously look out windows
  4. Irrationally assume that your date is going to walk by your car and see you applying makeup

The difficulty here is to find a secluded place but not a dangerous one.  Avoid back allies and neighborhoods densely populated by recently released schoolchildren.  They may point at you and make hurtful, clever comments.

If you don’t drive a car, things get exponentially more difficult.  You’ve got a few options:

  1. Find a public bathroom (gas station, Starbucks, neighborhood library) and use it to apply your makeup until someone knocks on the door.  Leave, even if only one of your eyes is done, and get back in line.  Repeat until your face is finished.
  2. I see a lot of girls doing their makeup while on the bus or the train.  They carry around a little mirror with them.  I have found that I can’t hold a mirror with one hand and do makeup with the other, so I sometimes try to use my reflection in the window as a mirror.  This has never gone well, but at least I look like a maniac to anyone looking in the bus window.
  3. Go into an American Apparel, unpack your makeup kit, and just go at it right there in the store. They’ve got tons of mirrors.  If they approach you, ask some makeup-specific question, like whether the smoky eye has too much shimmer.  If they tell you that what you’re doing is not allowed, you can either leave, or buy a t-shirt and then leave.  Because you can never have too many t-shirts.


If you have a car, you should already be in a secluded, well-lit spot finishing up your makeup.  When you’re done, hop in the back seat and change.  Again, I can’t stress enough how careful you should be to park nowhere near a school.

If you don’t have a car, get in line again at the public bathroom.  Be sure to not let your feet touch the floor.  Also, though, don’t touch the walls.  Also, try not to let your clothes touch the floor.  I’ve found the best way to do this is to take off your pants, drape them over your neck like a scarf, then put your tights on, always putting your feet back into your shoes rather than on the floor.  Finish getting dressed, and don’t forget to put your pants away.

You have done it!  As long you haven’t been arrested for public exposure or stepped in a puddle of urine, you are dressed for success and/or to impress!  Have fun on your date, and remember, you can never have too many t-shirts. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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