Gun Shows and Pretty Boys

Last year was the first ever Men in Makeup charity event. It’s sponsored by the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry each year to raise money to go to A Safe Place, which is Warren’s domestic violence shelter and education program. It’s such a great asset to a community like ours.

Rural communities present so many more barriers to women, men, and children for whom domestic and sexual violence are a part of life. Leaving can be hard to do, and even harder when you live in small communities, with little transportation and even less ability to blend into the background. Everyone knows everyone who knows someone they know. It can be intensely hard for people to leave bad situations without the help of agencies like A Safe Place. And I’ve called them more than once for my family, so I can say with confidence that the services they provide – even if it’s just going into the schools to provide personal safety information as a preventative measure for students – are integral and potentially life saving.

Each year, John Papalia at the chamber reaches out to men willing to collect pledges for getting their faces done. The first year, it was at the Warren Mall, which is still dead, but with less space for the annual outdoor show, which Papalia develops Men in Makeup to run concurrent with. It’s an annual event that I personally look forward to every single year. And will until the day I die.

I could not have been more of a teenage girl when Papalia emailed me Thursday to ask if I’d do makeup this year. Last year, Bon Ton was good enough to donate not only the makeup, but the professional artists to apply it as well.

Good thing we couldn’t go there again this year. Because I got a chance to get my hands down and dirty in this charity event that I fucking adore the shit out of, you guys. I love it. Every single thing about it.

It was so great. More men came out to support the cause again this year, with Papalia, Scott Colvin, and Jason Huck being repeat participants. I love it. New this year was City of Warren Chief of Police Brandon Deppen, Warren County School District Counselor Matt Menard, Warren County Commissioner Jeff Eggleston, and Warren Times Observer Sports Editor Andy Close.

I know it’s silly, and of course we were all giggling our way through it, but you guys. I can’t tell you how cool these guys are for signing up for this, and for generating money for the cause. It’s just like…just give them each one thousand points for badassery. They’re automatically on the top of the heap when it comes to great dudes, in my book.

I’ll be putting together stories for Monday’s paper, so I won’t get too down and dirty in the specifics here, but I will share the photos because they are so great. Thanks to Liesl Laurich, repping A Safe Place, for taking photos of the event while I did my fella’s colors.

<aside> Stupid WordPress is a stupid stupid face so I can only link to my photos. But here ya go </aside>>

If you’d rather not follow the link, here’s a quick mobile collage I did just for you. Just the highlights, ma’am. Just the highlights. 

I’d like you to take particular note of the fella in the gray striped shirt. That’s my fella. That’s Matt Menard. He’s a school counselor in the Warren County School District. And it’s going to be weird every single time I see him from now on. Because I spent ten minutes petting his face today. 

Awkward. 

But I don’t mind tellin’ ya, he got the whole shebang, boys and girls.

To. The. Nines. 

He got my It Cosmetics foundation, highlighting concealer, contour kit, and lip stain. He got the fancy ass face paint, y’all. He was high end. 

Other than that, it was pretty par for the course. Saw Jeff Carlstrom, Scott Mead, and Ryan (Rhino) Rickerson, of Kinzua Heritage Festival fame/infamy again. They’re always fun to stand and shoot the shit with. Also did some shit shooting with the dudes from the Disabled American Veterans. I’ve always kind of wondered about the DAV. Got lots of info from them and will follow up in Monday’s edition of the Warren County newsletter. 

Newsletters are awesome, shut up. 

Looking forward to the Kinzua Heritage Festival again this year. Some fun ideas coming up in that direction. 

I guess that’s about it. I know that it’s a pretty pedestrian event, but honestly I like it. I like the slow pace here, and I like the lack of presumptuousness in Warren County. Slow. Simple. No one’s too good to come out to a vendor event. There’s such an indellible social aspect to things like these. They’re a lot like benefit spaghetti dinners and vacation Bible  school. There’s  no real incentive to go except the opportunity to combat boredom and see people. Rural communities are these weird vacuous places where you can just observe the endlessly quirky social nature of people unfold before you, in real time, and it is almost always positive and inspires hope for the human race, even if it is occasionally amusing, from the outside looking in. The peoplewatching in a town like this is  fascinating, funny, thought-provoking, and endearing nearly always. 

Except, of course, when it is not. Because then it can be intensely repellant. 

But I ask you: how can we have any pudding if we don’t eat our meat?

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