I saw a friend today and commented on her beautiful makeup, something I don’t normally wear.
It had me wondering if it wasn’t time for me to learn, again. The last time I’d had this urge I was feeling my age, and had begun to see it in the mirror. I thought that maybe if I learned how to do it right, I could wear makeup, too.
That was about a year or so ago. I’d gone to one of the larger department stores and had a highly trained professional show me how to wear makeup properly. I should have known when she broke out the Spackle and paint brushes that I was in for trouble. I didn’t like it; I looked like a painted fence with eye holes when she was done.
I still bought the makeup, though.
After a while I stopped using it. It was just too heavy and I looked, well, made up. I thought the whole point of makeup was subtlety. Somehow it just seemed wrong to have visible brush strokes on my face.
I’d gotten some makeup in high school, but I didn’t know how to wear it then, either. Out of frustration I finally gave up.
But seeing my friend today, roughly my own age, looking so glamorous…well, it riled up my inner woman, that part of me that seeks to embrace my own feminism.
She told me the brand. Then she told me that it wasn’t cheap, but then again if it works, it won’t be. She told me where she got it – at the new, nearby, all makeup/all hair beauty place that opened up recently. I went straight there.
On the way, I was thinking about my new office job that starts Monday, the overtime I’d just received on my paycheck, and mentally calculating how much I could feasibly spend on all new makeup. I fantasized about how gorgeous I’d be. Of course, in my mind, the ‘me’ I was seeing was eighteen years old, well rested, and had no need of makeup. At forty-four, my mind’s eye is way out of touch with current reality. And there are obvious cracks in her mirror.
I parked and went straight for the counter that bore the brand-name my friend had given me. Nothing looked right. I tooled around and picked up some tester eye-liner pencils. While I was browsing, someone asked if I was finding everything okay. I replied that I didn’t know what I was looking for.
That’s when I got sized up, mentally measured, and judged insufficient. Somebody in her early twenties had stopped what she was doing, had glanced me up and down, and had tried to hide a frown. I could tell it was a frown because one corner of her mouth tilted down. I could tell she was trying to hide it because the other corner remained stoic.
I must’ve looked like I couldn’t afford the good stuff, or that I wasn’t worth the effort. I am not a very girly girl. Maybe my t-shirt and jeans and dirty shoes gave the impression that I was in the wrong store.
I picked up something called a bronzer and the girl asked me what I was trying to do. I quickly put it back on the shelf. I told her that I was looking for some new make-up and that I was a little out of my element. She asked if I’d like to try something.
I told her my friend had suggested this expensive brand. She said that maybe I’d be better off over in a less expensive brand. I asked if I could try this brand anyway. She reluctantly got a powder brush for me to use with the tester.
The brand I wanted only had two shades available, and neither worked. Instead of suggesting that I try something else, she dismissed me.
So I went over to the other, less expensive brand. I found some makeup that I think will work. I am determined to embrace my inner feminism, even if independently from the makeup clerk. Even if different from the expensive brand.
I was also determined, apparently, to embrace my inner snarkiness. At the checkout counter, when the lady asked if there was anything else she could do for me, I had some fun.
“Do you know if those girls over at the makeup counters get commission?”
“They sure do; would you like me to get someone for you?”
“No thanks; I was just there. Unfortunately I was dismissed before I had an opportunity to be separated from my money. You can tell them they messed up.”
I did not spend the money that I was eager to spend on new makeup today. The makeup girl judged me and then dismissed me as not worthy of her time. In the process, she lost out on a commission from money I arrived eager to spend.
I have now sized up that particular store and found it severely lacking. I won’t go back to it in the future.
But I have no doubt that I’m worth it.