Ah, Robert Smith. I used to think he was so dreamy with his edgy, goth look and his daring attempt at eye makeup. Imagine! A man wearing eye makeup! It was so avant-garde. But that was, what, 1992? At some point during the aging process, Robert’s man makeup began to look less sexy than it did just fucking sad. This raises an interesting question–at what point does a rock star stop dressing up like a woman?
Gene Simmons eventually realized it wasn’t working, but apparently, Marilyn Manson still hasn’t gotten the memo. As a rocker, once you put on that guyliner, you’re faced with an interesting dilemma—when do you take it off?
It’s a tricky predicament. Take it off too soon, and you might be ruining your image right at its apex. But wear it too long, and you end up looking like the world’s oldest girl (see Figure 1, above).
Then again, wear it long enough, and it might just become legendary. It’s a fine line rockers must ride, and while some of them have done it right, some have really made some mind-blowing blunders when it comes to the fine art of rock star cross-dressing.
Probably the quintessence of knowing when to take off the guyliner, Pete Wentz cleaned up his act real quick. Sure, his music is terrible. But you gotta give credit where credit’s due, and Pete Wentz was damn smart about knowing when to break out the makeup remover.
When Fall Out Boy was at its peak, Pete caked the makeup on like he was a Sephora employee. But slowly, as the band lost momentum, Pete followed suit with his eyeliner. He weaned himself from it until he resembled a normal human being. It was the right decision. Fall Out Boy never reached epic heights. Alice Cooper may be able to get away with a lifetime of eyeliner, but Pete Wentz would have just looked confused. “Did you not know your band flopped?” He knew, and he played it right.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day seems to be slowly phasing out the guyliner, but really, it’s a bit too late. He is arguably already at the point of no return. There are just certain things man make-up does not compliment, and eye bags are one of them. But I can understand Armstrong’s predicament. He sported the eyeliner when Green Day first started, and because the band has achieved such longevity, despite having sucked hard for the past decade of its existence, I suppose he feels he has to keep up with that image. Thus, the guyliner remains. But he’s flirting with dangerous territory. A few more years, and it’s going to get really sad.
Keith Richards is a great example of “I’m still dressing like a woman, and I don’t give a fuck.” But really, I don’t think anyone else can pull this off. After all, The Rolling Stones are a legendary band, and Keith is a rock n’ roll icon—nay, a pioneer. Basically, he can do whatever the fuck he wants. When it comes to his eccentric, make-up wearing ways, he passed the point of no return sometime in the 80s, and he never looked back. Dressing normally was never an option for Keith, and it didn’t have to be. He is Keith fucking Richards.
Bret Michaels is probably the most interesting subject when it comes to rock star cross-dressing. Because, oddly enough, he wears more make-up as he’s aging. Don’t get me wrong, he looked feminine enough in Poison, but as the years have gone by, he’s managed to girl up his image even more. Seriously, get this guy a pair of implants, and you have Shannon Tweed. I am not quite sure what Michaels’ M.O. is at this point, but it’s bizarre as fuck. There are rumors that he wears that bandana on at all times to avoid exposing his bald spot. My guess is the makeup is an accompaniment to that in an effort to distract from the obvious. “No, I don’t wear this bandana because I’m bald. I’m just eccentric! See all of this Maybelline?!”
They say the same thing about tattoos—make-up just doesn’t look the same as you age. As a rock star in your prime, your decision-making skills aren’t very refined. It’s all about sex, drugs, and, apparently, making your eyes pop. I assume you don’t think much about where that make-up will be in ten years.
But it’s time to be more responsible, rock stars. Think about your future. Think about how it may be affected by copious amounts of cosmetics. And—I know this is a bit unconventional—but perhaps when it comes to the guyliner, you should just say no.