Saving–or Losing–Face

The daughter came home from Ireland with a lot of stories and over 400 pictures.  One of her pictures was of a castle tapestry, and when I asked why she had taken it, she replied that she wanted to remember the story behind it, the story about saving face.

I drew a blank.

The daughter went on to say that in the old days in Ireland, ladies who were made up for balls couldn’t get too close to the fire.

I was still clueless.

It seems that in the old days, makeup was made of wax.  The tapestry was put up to protect the ladies from the heat of the fire so that their makeup wouldn’t melt.  If it did, they would “lose face.”

The old days often sound romantic to me, although I do like my indoor plumbing, running water, and other things of that sort. I cannot imagine how it would have felt, as a young woman, to feel your “face”melt away if you were dancing near a fire with a handsome young man!  According to this website, the men wore makeup too, so the losing of face could happen to people of either gender.

I’m glad I don’t have to worry about losing face in the old sense of the word.  It’s hard enough sometimes to maintain a positive self-image.  You can redeem yourself from embarrassing moments with a gracious smile, but if your smile were to end up melting away–literally–then what would you do?

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2 Responses to “Saving–or Losing–Face”


  1. 1 Sally September 6, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Why I guess I’d laugh!

  2. 2 Becky September 6, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    This gives new meaning to someone’s saying,”I need to fix my face,” don’t you think?


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