Slightly off the beaten track today, but I felt I just had to share this little moment of unguarded candor from Saturday.
I was in the cosmetics department of the local drug store, minding my own business while engaged in the daunting task of selecting a suitably coloured lip gloss for daily use. (To my gentlemen readers: this can be a laborious endeavour for most women, make no mistake. )
Holy horsefeathers! … With so many lip-plumping, shine-enhancing shades and varieties and brands on the market these days what was once a simple foray into creative cosmetic self-expression has become more of an exercise in close-your-eyes-and-pick-one.
Ploughing through 12 or more shades of pink to find the one that works best for me is not my idea of a good time. What’s even more frustrating is when I do finally find the one I like and want to replace it a year later after it’s been well used, it’s either been repackaged and renamed so I can’t find it, or worse, discontinued. Thus the search for a new shade begins all over again. (And this is true of ALL cosmetic products.)
Another consideration: Do I trust the salesperson (usually a woman) to have my best interests at heart when debating the merits of pink versus peach against my skin? Sometimes I wonder. Call me a skeptic, but when she says I look good in a particular shade does she mean it or is she simply trying to make a sale?
Perhaps this is more about my own trust issues, I don’t know, but I’ve bought a lot of lipsticks over the years that, under artificial store lighting, looked really good but, when I got home and tried them in natural light, made me look like a charicature of myself.
My make-up case is a veritable lipstick grave yard.
But, I digress …
During my little escapade I became acutely aware of a roving make-up artist brought in by the store for the day. Her mission: to provide make-up refreshers or, if a hapless “victim” purchased $75 worth of product or more, a full makeover.
She wasn’t really harassing people, but you know how it is … when you’re in a hurry you don’t really want to be bothered interacting with someone whose real purpose is to sell you stuff you don’t need. Frankly, I already own a full complement of expensive product I haven’t been able to use recently due to my ongoing entanglement with adrenal fatigue. I haven’t been able to get out much. The barn has been my social focal point and, as you might imagine, there isn’t a great call for a full face of make-up there.
So, doing my best to make myself invisible, I crouched low to the ground and ruminated with much focused intensity upon which of the the many gloss colours at my disposal might be most lip-smacking appropriate. I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I am particular when I do.
Then, as the wolf is to the rabbit, I was pounced upon.
“Can I help you find something?” the over-made-up make-up artist enquired with a saccharin snarl.
How to wriggle myself free?
“No thanks!” I responded quickly and resumed my focus on a seemingly fruitless search.
The prowler wouldn’t take the hint and continued to hover, almost standing on top of me. So while still crouched, I turned on my heels and decided to get a closer look at her.
She was young middle-aged, I’d say, and face painted in such a way, no doubt, as to demonstrate her prowess in the cosmetic arts.
Heavy foundation, piled-on layers of eye shadow in shades of cerise and black, false eye lashes, big ruby lips, and hair dyed black sporting a streak of cerise that flashed carelessly through long unkempt bangs — a little too Goth, for my taste. Still, I smiled, thanked her for her query and returned again to the task at hand, hoping she’d go away.
I was to be disappointed.
“We have a special offer on today … ” she began her cheerfully whining speech.
I only half listened as she went on about this and that to do with the special in-store offer.
“Blah … blah … blah … blah … blah … or you can have the full makeover with a purchase of $75 or more. Would you like to follow me?”
That’s when I finally turned to the unrelenting and, without pre-meditation, flashed this bolt out of the blue:
“No thanks … I’m going to the barn after this and my horse doesn’t care what I look like.”
A pregnant pause hovered between us. A quizzical expression crawled spider-like across her mask such that I could almost hear the synapses in her selling strategy snapping in panic behind it …
“Abort! Abort! Abort!“
Then, after a moment and with wonderfully punctuated hesitation, she said …
“I … guess not …”
She then turned and walked away.
Victory complete, I exhaled with relief and returned again to my torturous lipstick hunt.
It was the wonderfully dumbfounded hesitation in her response that amused me.
Perhaps she’s never spent time with a horse. Perhaps the notion of going out in public without a full face of make-up is anathema to her. Or, perhaps, both notions are as foreign to her as wearing a full face of make-up every day is to me.
Had I intrigued her or confused her? Or did she think my manner downright rude and boorish?
I don’t know and it doesn’t matter.
What I do know, from personal experience, is the trap that’s set as soon as you park your derriere in the make-up chair of a cosmetic department.
Let the up-selling begin!
You come in for a lipstick and, unless you are really, really strong, leave with a full compliment of new face paint you will literally never use — all because the make-up magician made it look so good. Once home you’ve either forgotten, or have no idea, how the tricks work.
Experience has taught me that being cornered in this way is to be avoided at all costs. Like my horse, Bear, I don’t appreciate being bullied into doing something I don’t want to do. And sometimes, like Bear, I need to get myself out of that corner by demonstrating a little bit of attitude.
So, ladies, (gentlemen: feel free to pass this along to the women in your lives) if ever you feel cornered by some over-zealous cosmetician, feel free to lean on my exit strategy. And, hold fast to the immortal words of French poet, Antoine de Saint Exupéry:
” … it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
And that is how my horse saved me from an in-store cosmetic makeover.
Nurture what you love … including yourself …
Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013