LESLEY KEATING: Makeup on a train? I’d look like a suntanned zebra

If you can do this, you've won Lesley's respect
If you can do this, you've won Lesley's respect
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Would you apply your makeup on the tube?

Apparently, it’s the ultimate way to utilise previously ‘dead’ time on the daily commute. However, some view it in the same vein as clipping toenails on public transport.

It’s a pretty divisive subject by all accounts.

Firstly, as someone who has sat on a crowded Waterloo-bound train while a bare-faced woman opposite proceeded with the full works from foundation and loose powder, through eyeliner and mascara to lipstick, I think it’s a rare talent to be able to do it at all.

The train was lurching from side to side yet she was wielding liquid eyeliner with precision, creating flawless winged sides.

If that was me, I’d have looked like an extra from A Clockwork Orange before you could say Clapham Junction.

I’ve been obsessed with the transformational effect of cosmetics since I was 12 and first discovered mascara, but far prefer the ritual of a calm, unrushed makeup session. The idea of attempting it on a juddering commuter train without my trusty 5x magnification pedestal mirror fills me with horror.

Yes, OK, maybe I’d do my lipstick, but not spread the entire MAC counter out then start pencilling in my eyebrows to an audience of strangers! Why would anyone want to do that?

And in this day and age, who could even guarantee a seat on a train?

As for the tube, you’re lucky if you get from one stop to another without your face rammed up against some stranger’s armpit anyway, so precious little space for getting eyelash curlers out!

Women who are able to do a convincing job of applying makeup on the move are to be applauded.

It takes dexterity, balance and coordination far beyond we normal mortals. Oh, and a pretty hefty dose of exhibitionism too in my opinion.

But they must be few and far between.

You know those girls you see with scary ‘felt-pen’ eyebrows and huge stripes of contouring which makes them look like suntanned zebras?

Well, my guess is that they did their make-up on the train.


At work, we were talking about the biggest gaffe we’d ever made.

One of mine dated back to when my daughter was tiny and I joined a local mother-and-baby group.

I didn’t know a soul, so on my first day I plucked up courage to chat with two women with toddlers, one of whom was pregnant.

We started talking about birth stories and during the conversation I found myself smiling conspiratorially at the pregnant one and saying wisely: ‘Well, it can’t have been too awful for you as you are about to have another one…’

You’ve guessed it.

She shot me a very sour look. ‘No,’ she snapped.’ I’m not pregnant. I’m clearly just fat. But, thanks, I’m going on a diet now!’



Living in a blame and claim culture there are often people who ‘fall off’ pavements and sue the council. Some are genuine, but I’m pretty sure others are not.

But don’t we have a duty to look out and take responsibility for ourselves anyway?

Sometimes it’s not always ‘someone else’s fault’ regardless of what happens.

Take my friend, for example. She was at a well-known department store’s ladies’ toilets.

In her own words, she was in ‘full flow’ when the cubicle door suddenly fell outwards, right off the hinge! But she wasn’t hurt so simply had a good giggle with her daughter afterwards over a coffee.

Did she make a huge fuss then plan a claim?

No. That would have been taking the ...