Men often complain at how long it takes women to get ready to go out. They also talk a good talk about liking 'the natural look'. But men don't really like their women to be 'natural'. They just like women to have the appearance of being 'natural'. And the natural look, I'm sure of it, is more high maintenance than all of the divas of Dallas and Dynasty combined.
First, there is the prep work. I will preserve my dignity and protect a little of the air of mystery that surrounds this stage. Let us say it involves the removal of some things, and the addition of others. This should be done in private, for the aforementioned dignity and mystery -- in fact, most if not all of these steps should be done in privacy. Call it mystique if you like but really it's because you don't want to be within firing range for what comes next.
There is a very important step which now must be taken: the selection of the right outfit. There are many factors to take into consideration, such as the when and where of the event; who else will be there, and how are they likely to be dressed; will there be much walking involved; will I have to sit on an unusually low chair, or a very high stool; will I be able to slip my shoes off under a table; do I know where those earrings are that go with the top I wear with that skirt? Cause otherwise I have to leave my hair down which means a whole other outfit and I don't have the right shoes.
Usually what happens next is some variation on the following: hair, makeup, clothes. There may be some repeating, some revisiting and reconsidering, and depending on the seriousness of the event and where the moon is in your house, there just may be cries of despair or tears of frustration. You, being a man who wears a pair of slacks and a button down shirt (or, if you're a bit of a clothes horse you might change it up with a polo shirt or even a sweater) of which your closet is well stocked with an infinitely interchangeable selection, need exactly 2 minutes to pull one of each off their hangars, 4 minutes to put them on, and 1 minute to ask your wife which tie to wear with them.
A woman on the other hand, has spent the better part of her available mental energy since learning about the event deciding on the outfit. You think that's that, so you'll meet her at the car. But no, my dear man, no. The top doesn't feel right, so an alternative must be found. The very dressy and sophisticated burgundy blouse with understated silver-toned accessories slowly evolves, through a series of trial and error, into a crisp and classic white-blouse with one statement piece of jewelry. That means the planned hair style needs to be reworked because the necklines are completely different and since the white blouse gets tucked in, she now needs to wear the other black skirt because it has the right sized loops for that great belt with the silver buckle. But the other skirt is shorter, which means tights not nylons which means a different pair of shoes, and the contents of her purse transferred into the tiny clutch. While trying to pull her nylons off as she stands on one leg with a slip tucked up under her arms, she notices the time, and hears you start the car. So she tries to hurry into the tights and doesn't properly line up the toe seam with her toes, so the left leg of the tights gets twisted around, from knee to thigh. This will cause a problem for the rest of the night whenever she tries to walk, but she doesn't have time to fix it, because she still has to do her face.
In order to look like she's not wearing any makeup, she needs: tinted moisturizer, base/primer, foundation, concealer, undereye concealer, lid primer, bronzer, blush, setting powder, eye liner, eye shadow, highlighter, mascara, brushes, lash curler, tweezers, lip balm, lip liner, lipstick, and eyebrow gel. After applying then blending (ie. putting on then taking off in just the right amounts) a carefully considered palette of colours with a wide assortment of specifically designed instruments, she takes one last look in the mirror, adjusts a stray curl or two, wipes a smudge of badly behaved mascara and heads out to the car with the red tie she told you looked better than the brown.