A Scouse bird’s transformation in The Netherlands

First things first- what the hell is a Scouse bird? Well, a Scouser is a nickname for someone who comes from Liverpool, England and bird is an affectionate term for a woman that is used by Scousers. I’m from Liverpool and I’m a woman, therefore, I’m a Scouse bird. It’s all a bit of fun and in good humour but there are certain stereotypes that all Scouse birds must conform to.

The Scouse bird in her natural habitat

  • Never leave the house without a full face of make-up. Never ever. Even if the house is burning down make sure you throw some lippie on before you leave.
  • Always make sure your hair and nails are ‘done’. You know, hair dyed and back combed to within an inch of its life and nails as long as humanly possible while still being able to carry out everyday tasks. Actually, no, it doesn’t matter if you can’t actually use your hands, as long as they look good.
  •  Eyebrows. The current obsession with eyebrows? Started in Liverpool. Scouse birds have been rocking the so called Scouse brow for years. Thick, almost black eyebrows that bear almost no resemblance to their original shape. Perfect.
  • NEVER attend a social event without a tan. It’s just rude. There is no such thing as orange– the more fake tan the better.

This is the standard that I am used to. For our last day in school, girls turned up with their hair in rollers in preparation for the evenings Leaver’s Dance. Scouse birds take their appearance very seriously. A little thing like school can’t get in between a Scouse bird and perfect, bouncy curls.

Cultural Shock

So, when people ask me what is the biggest culture shock I’ve experienced since moving to The Netherlands, I always reply that over here, it’s perfectly acceptable to go out in public without spending 3 hours getting ready. It took me a long time to get used to seeing most girls rocking the no make-up look. And I mean rocking. It opened up my eyes to a whole new way of life. It is possible to look good without perfect eyeliner and 3 inches of foundation.

 

Dutch girls who do wear make-up, tend to go for a more natural look. A bit of mascara, maybe lipstick but very rarely do I notice anyone with heavy foundation or contouring like I would back home. Even in bars and clubs the Dutch look is much more understated. There’s little difference between day/night looks maybe just a slick of eyeliner or a bolder lip colour. Perhaps the price of make-up and beauty products over here contributes to this in some way. I have noticed that even products from brands that I would consider cheaper, high street brands in the UK are very expensive and not that easy to find over here.

A Scouse bird’s transformation in The Netherlands: ‘You do wear so much make-up’

My new Dutch friends in their typical blunt way helped me on my way to a make-up revolution with helpful observations such as ‘You do wear so much make-up’, ‘I would never wear that much make-up even if I was going out’ or ‘I just don’t see the point of wearing that much make-up every day’. Which got me thinking. I’ve always worn make-up I enjoy it and it makes me feel confident. I wasn’t about to give that up just because I was now the exception not the norm.

scousebirds

#Nomakeup

But, moving to a new country brings with it new opportunities to try things that you would never normally do in more familiar surroundings. So one day when I didn’t have much planned apart from a trip to the supermarket, I took the plunge. I went out bare faced. And I haven’t looked back. I still wear make-up most days but only what I consider the basics. Which is still twice as much as my Dutch friends. But still, its a huge lifestyle change for me and has really made me think about how I present myself. Who’s to say if this will last if I ever moved back home but for now I’m enjoying all the extra time I have in the mornings.

 

 

Emily Hine
Emily is originally from the UK. She moved to Groningen over a year ago to study for her Master's degree and is struggling to leave. She is really enjoying learning about and embracing Dutch culture.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I actually also think it differs per area of the country you’re in here, just like in the UK. I wasn’t raised on a lot of makeup being from the east-middle area of the Netherlands, but my fellow students from the south all wore a LOT more than I did. There is of course always personal preference, but I find that “what you are exposed to” also matters in lots of cases. 🙂

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