Make up is a wonderful thing. There are many women who have abandoned their mascara and eye liner in an attempt to present a more professional face to the world. But not me. I love it. I loathe shopping but point me towards Selfridges Beauty Hall and I am a happy woman. I can wander here for many hours, looking at bright and expensive jewels of the beauty world, while over-made-up assistants bill and coo around me.
Don't get me wrong, I have never been one to put it on with a trowel. However, a neatly and subtley made up face for me shows that I am just about ready to face the world. My war paint, if you like. I can do subtle, I can do vampy, I can make myself look like I have had 8 hours sleep when I have only had half that and I can make myself look older or younger as the mood takes me. In this box of tricks are all the ingredients I need to make myself into a completely different person. The made up Damson Jones is completely different to the Damson who shows her face naked to the world. Spots, bags and flushed areas are soothed beneath the foundation sponge. Colour is added in just the right places, eyes emphasised and bad points played down.
Putting on my make up is one of the most important rituals of the morning for me. I aim to take a steady 15 minutes in front of a well-lit mirror, the process is almost mediatative. However, recently I have become an expert at putting my slap on in the Tube. This has been an eyeopener for me, as I watch the other passengers watch me. Actually the women mostly ignore me. It is the men who watch fascinated from behind their papers. It is like they are being initiated into some arcane ritual and that, in allowing them to observe an intensely private experience, they now know a little bit about me.
I watch them flinch as I brandish my eyelash curlers and deftly create sweeping and sooty lashes. I know what they are thinking, but I also know that I have enough experience not to lose all hairs in the single jolt of a train. They watch coyly as I sweep rich gloss over my lips. For that single moment, it is almost as though the voyeur and me are alone in the train. The spell is broken however at the next stop. I pack my bag of tricks away and step off the train. The spell is broken and the day begins...