Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Measure Your Face

When I was a young girl every girl was to have one goal in life. Catch a man, marry the man, and have children. My parents did not emphasize anything so silly but we were taught that concept in school.

Glamor magazines and women's magazines told us how to make ourselves more attractive so men would notice us and of course they would be interested if we looked good enough. There were so many beauty tips and instructions on how to act so that men would be interested.

Of course all of this instruction included the fact that men had very fragile egos. A female should not be too smart or the male would be intimidated by her. A female should be demur. If she was too forward or confident it would scare the male.

When I was in the 7th grade we were required to take a home economics course for a semester. This class was packed with all the things needed to turn us into well-rounded young "ladies".

We learned to make a cake from scratch. I had been doing that for my whole life so it was boring. We made a magnificent apron. If I ever decide to sew I would make another because it was an apron that was useful. It even covered the sides of the body. If the cook absent-mindedly wiped her (and of course it would be a her) down the sides of her body the apron actually covered the necessary area.

We made a skirt. Mine was a dismal mess. One side was about 6 inches above my knee while the other was about 3 inches above my foot. It was terrible. It was a pretty color though and my mother was able to make something from the material.

We learned to dry and arrange flowers to make a comfortable home for our man. We learned to properly set a table and serve a meal. Serve from the left, remove from the right. That is how to place a dish in front of the person. Is that not a helpful thing to know?

We learned how to behave on an outing with a man. Listen attentively and always look at him when he speaks. Of course you must not be too forward. Always defer to his wishes. And men like to be considered the protector so you must seem rather helpless. Poor fragile men.

An important thing to know was to change your underwear daily because men have a more developed sense of smell. We must not offend.

Cleanliness is next to something that will be important to that man. We even had to learn to wash our hair. One of the girls had an expensive sweater on that day so she removed it to keep from ruining it. That happened to be the day the janitor walked into the room unannounced. She screamed a lot.

It seemed to me that by the time we were 12 years old we should already know how to do all those things (with the exception of drying and arranging flowers). I thought it was a frivolous class.

But the class was required. There was one thing that I learned there that was fun and funny. It is how to measure your face.

We were told that this was the measure of beauty. It was used to determine if a model had a photogenic face. I hope you try it. It is fun and seems to work quite well.

First you hold your hand up with fingers open. Move your thumb next to your forefinger. It should reach ever so slightly below your first knuckle. This is your measuring tool.

From the earlobe to the top of your ear should be as long as the distance from the end of your thumb to the end of your forefinger. Did you try it? Amazing isn't it?

From one corner of your mouth to the other should be the same length. The tip of your nose to the spot between your eyes is the same. Each eye should be the same from corner to corner.From your eyebrow to the hairline (your forehead) will also be the same.

But the most important measurement is that your face from the side hairline to the other side hairline while going across your eyes should be exactly five units of measurement.

Now I know that models are not supposed to be full-faced these days. That was a long time ago. But how well do you match up to the beauty standard of those days? It was truly important if you wanted to catch that man.


  1. That is hilarious, Emma!
    And what should the men do (I mean, while we were expected to measure our beautiful faces?)
    Though nowadays the cosmetic industry has worked out to sell their pots and wonder creams (oil in water or vice versa for hundreds of Euros) to them too... maybe now, after reading your post, they measure their earlobes hectically too :-)

    1. What should the men do? That was a question that would have earned some sort of punishment. They were men. That was all that was necessary. We had to be desirable. The best that we could hope for was that they bathe occasionally. Humor aside men had the distinct responsibility of taking care of their property. That included the car, the house, the wife (my father used to call my mother The Wife as a term of endearment. I hated that expression!), and the children and pets. All those possessions were to be well tended in order to bring him status. I believe that since we have relaxed all these requirements for both males and females we have a more relaxed environment for people to care about each other rather than the way others perceive them.

  2. Since the parochial grammar and high schools I attended did not offer home economics courses of any sort, not even cooking. It's a wonder that I never learned all these "useful" tips, Emma. The ones about how to listen and change underwear daily were the most amusing. And I did not try the face measurement because at this stage of my life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my husband.

    1. I look back at some of the things I was taught and laugh. I have always been so grateful to my parents because they were the only ones who did not try to brainwash us into the gender mold others expected of us.