Carly Pifer has written for Paper, Nerve.com, Thought Catalog and of course, Refinery29. She also blogs and tweets sometimes.
"No, I wasn’t born this way, but my liquid eyeliner is so much a part of me now that I feel naked without it. Actually, I feel dead without it. I look dead, and everyone thinks I’m having a bad day. My solution is to never be without it, even when I dart to the bodega across the street, even when I’m on a plane for 13 hours.
"Marilyn and Elizabeth had their beauty marks. Twiggy and Audrey their waifish frames. Jackie and Madonna the untraceable accent. But for the rest of us? If I can divulge one bit of delicate CFDA-protected information, it is this: If genetics don’t bestow you with some kind of quirky imperfection, you must cultivate one. My piece of je ne sais quoi is my thick, calculated, Egyptian-meets-'50s-roller-girl liquid-cateye.
"I’ve admittedly been toying with the notion of branding myself for quite some time, but had little luck when it came to paring down my style enough to afford a trademark. Fashionably speaking, I have a keen yearning for the eccentric. I’ve been known to wear polka dots with plaid and a stack of bracelets that cause children to shriek "Jingle Bells" at me in mid-July, while I flick my wrists about. I’ve been fondly accused by friends of appearing in costume on days other than October 31. For a time, I tried using the same perfume consistently so my memory would forever mingle in other’s minds with the scent of gardenias and musk, but it didn’t last. Instead, I collect the varied, beautiful perfume bottles from the medley of scents I wear, for a Dada sculpture I have imagined; construction beginning in 2013.
"Since I could never pick favorites in my wardrobe or at the perfume counter, I instead went for a style trademark that could live on my visage. This notable embellishment adds about two centimeters to my lashline and gives me an exotic effect that's somewhere between Cleopatra and Amy Winehouse. As a petite brunette with blue eyes, my eyeliner lends me a touch of something out of the ordinary. Strangers often inquire about my heritage, and I’m convinced it’s because they want to verify that my great-great-grandmother was a geisha. In the charming moments of budding romance, a boy once told me that his favorite part of me, of all of me, was the black swoop at the corner of my eyes.
"Why not just tattoo it on already and be done with it? Of course I’ve considered it. Eye makeup remover is something I’ve had to learn to love and my friends and family have come to accept the black smudges I leave on on pillow cases everywhere I go. Late at night. while watching infomercials for other useless things, sometimes I think, why not? Shouldn’t I, I mean, wouldn’t that be great? And then I realize that as much as my morning coffee, I need that ritual of painting. And in fact, the process of adding a little here and a little there often results in my accidentally wearing extra-dramatic eye makeup on any given day. Though extreme, it is all part of what makes the look entirely mine."