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Dublin: 0 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019

An open letter to every single individual who has ever done their makeup on the bus

Keep up the good work.

shutterstock_642026041 Source: Shutterstock/Kit Leong

WE HAVE ALL witnessed it at some stage.

It’s 7:30am on the 27x to UCD. Maybe it’s 8:45am on the 15 to Dame Street. Sure, it could even be 9pm on the 43 to Talbot Street. 

The bus is packed but it is quiet. Everyone’s commuting on their own, and even those who have company are probably too groggy to engage in conversation. Eventually, there’ll be at least one passenger who dips into their handbag before pulling out a makeup bag.

By the time it’s unzipped and the first Naked Palette has been slipped out, some of the men on the bus will already be rolling their eyes. A chorus of tuts, sighs and angry huffing. Many of the passengers within eye-shot of the person applying makeup will make their annoyance visible, if not audible. 

Why, though? It’s hard to understand how anyone could possibly find it even vaguely irritating. Of all the disruptive activities people have been known to partake in on a typical Dublin Bus, this is the one that is met with passive aggressive scoffing.

I have spent so many mornings on buses listening to music leaking out of the headphones of someone sitting nine rows behind me and while internally fuming, I have managed not to display any outward anger. I have heard every single word of a phone-call taking place at the other end of the bus and kept my tuts to myself.

One morning, I saw a man boarding my bus at Beaumont Hospital with a guitar bag. Instead of taking a seat on the bus like the rest of us, he took his guitar out and began to tune it. Once it was tuned, he performed ‘Crazy World’ by Aslan, while screaming the lyrics in the face of a very confused baby sitting in a pram. I didn’t so much as raise an eyebrow. It was the 17A. I knew what I was signing up for. 

shutterstock_1173752005 Source: Shutterstock/Casa nayafana

I have been using Dublin Bus anywhere from two to six times a day for more than ten years at this stage, and never once have I stared at another passenger in an attempt to intimidate them into abandoning whatever excruciatingly annoying and intrusive activity they’re engaging in. In fact, the idea of trying to stare someone into submission on a crowded bus at 8am has, somehow, never even crossed my mind.

Yet pretty much every person who has ever applied makeup on public transport will be able to recount numerous stories about the hostility they have been met with. 

If you are doubtful of the validity of those stories, just search the words “makeup on the bus” on Twitter for both written testimony and photographic evidence.  

shutterstock_583485181 Source: Shutterstock/abd

Here is what I have to say to people who do their makeup on the bus:

For the love of God, please keep doing it. Even if you manage to wake up early enough to do your makeup at home, just bring it on the bus anyway. Apply a second layer. Don’t let anyone on the bus make you feel uncomfortable for quietly minding your own business.

Relish in how many other passengers you can see stewing in anger, absolutely fit to burst.

Anyway, the atmosphere on the bus is vastly improved by the handful of girls sitting around drawing on their eyebrows and dusting their faces with highlighter. They’d almost make you forget that you’re on the bus to work, instead reminding you of better times, like predrinks. It’s kind of comforting, and makes you wish someone had brought a Bluetooth speaker.

And yes, a Bluetooth speaker blaring ‘Touch’ by Little Mix might even be less disruptive (and undoubtedly, far more pleasant) than the other passengers grumbling and angrily shifting around in their seats at the sight of some stranger putting lipstick on. 

With a bit of luck, the joint effort of everyone who applies makeup on the bus might annoy those who oppose it enough to encourage them to start cycling instead. There’ll be more free seats on the bus for those of us who have no problem with feeling like they’re sitting in Inglot in the Jervis while we’re on the way to work. It’ll also be better for the environment. Cycling infrastructure will be improved with the increased demand.

So please continue what you are doing, so that it’s easier for me to get a seat in the morning and so that there’ll be better cycle lanes in the future. Everybody wins. 

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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