The goal of waking up and looking flawless is so elusive, there’s a fairy tale devoted to it. In Sleeping Beauty, a princess emerges from a century of slumber, exuding so much loveliness that a total stranger falls in love with her on the spot. It’s a dreamy story that doesn’t quite square with reality. Frankly, we’d rather not imagine the state of our eyebrows after 100 hours of neglect, much less years.
And how do you project an aura of sweet repose when you’re rocking a stress-induced zit? (Or two. Fine, three.) Throw in the fact that most women would honestly prefer an uninterrupted nap to an unsolicited kiss and this classic fantasy starts to veer into parody. That said, our present-day notions of effortless beauty provoke satire, too. Amy Schumer’s viral skit “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup” sarcastically insists that all we need to look beautiful in the morning is our “inner natural glow” — plus tons of product. And shortly after Beyoncé declared, “I woke up like this” in her feminist anthem “Flawless,” Lena Dunham suggested that the song referred to an impressive case of bed head. Around-the-clock perfection has always been regarded as a castle in the air.
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