Monday, May 19, 2008

Born Every Minute

After a few weekends of lounging about doing nothing but watch DVDs and resume normal bodily functions, this weekend was most productive.
 
The downside is that I fell into the pitfall of a productive weekend - spending money.
 
The thing that got me out of bed on Saturday was a morning appointment with my dentist.  She is adorable in that junior-high-nerd kind of way, with her spindly, hunched frame, frizzy updone hair and braces.  Did I mention she's in her forties?  So just imagine the most harmless of your classmates (mine = Faith Lemond) as a fortysomething who's never changed.  God bless 'er.
 
  • Sidenote on Faith Lemond - she was born severely premature, and when she moved to town when I was in the 1st grade, I clearly remember the teacher telling us this.  Faith was very small and mouse-like, kind of like that homeschooled girl on that spelling bee episode of South Park (http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104018).  Anyway, I remember Mrs. Haas (Wollenmann) telling us that when she was born, Faith's foot was only the length between the tip of my teacher's thumb and the first joint.  In short, the kid was small. 
 
While my denteest whittled away at my new crown, we got to chatting about our favorite Food Network stars (Alton Brown, Ina Garten) and gossiping about the lame ones (Guy Fieti aka the guy in the Friday's commercials, and that Semi-Homemade twat Sandra Lee).  We talked trash about celebrities like Tyra Banks and Jessica and Ashlee Simpson.  It was a real treat.  She's the only dentist I've ever had that doesn't scare the shit out of me, and I told her so, after she called me a ray of sunshine.  Me!  A.  Ray.  Of.  Sunshine.
 
I didn't have to pay for that because dental insurance is AWESOME, so I decided to pop into some Michigan Avenue stores since I was in the area.  I fancied a walk through Louis Vuitton for shits - literally.  I shit when I saw a thin jersey-like shirt that cost $1,500.  Then I looked around at Coach, where I could never justify spending $350 on a midsize purse.  I mean, they're good bags, but I don't care for products that have labels all over them (fig. A).  I'm not a billboard; I'm not going to buy something that's covered in a known logo just so I can advertise for it. 
 
Fig. A
 
I popped into Aldo, a shoe store I've always avoided because shoe stores, as a rule, don't carry my size.  A flaming sales rep stopped me as I molested the accessories to accuse me of needing help.  "Do you carry size 12?"  "Just to 11."  That surprised me!  "Ooooh, 11s might work with some shoes."  I let him go on his hurried way to help the thinner, serious shoppers, and I decided that it might be safe to travel to Aldo again.
 
My gym bag - which I packed so I couldn't avoid a workout - was feeling pretty heavy by this point, so I decided to head on over there.  After a refreshing hour on the elliptical and hot shower, I had shed all of my makeup.  I decided on a whim to cross the street to Nordstrom and see if I could swindle somebody into giving me a makeover.  Little did I know who would really do the swindling.
 
My makeup routine is pretty simple.  I moisturize when I get out of the shower, then a few minutes later put on this badass primer (Smashbox Photo Finish, fig. B) before applying a Neutrogena pressed mineral powder.  I then apply an equally badass blush (Smashbox, fig. C) to my cheeks, lightly dusting my forehead, nose and chin.  I put on mint lip balm, blot it, then apply my favorite lipstick ever (Lancome:  Mars, my shade for 4 years), and blot again.  It's seriously a 2 minute face.  I didn't start wearing makeup until 2004, so I never developed the patience for it in my formative makeup years.  My routine has to be quick. 
 
 
     Fig. B                         Fig. C
 
I've been running low on my Neutrogena powder, so I've been considering purchasing the Bare Minerals powder.  It costs about twice as much, but it lasts 3 times as long as the drugstore stuff.  And I wanna treat myself right.
 
So I browsed through the purses at Nordstrom (why am I so attracted to purses all of a sudden?), and made my way over to the preeny, perfume-y makeup counters.  There's something territorial about department store makeup counters.  They are manned by thin black-clad women whose eyes roam about the room for the next fare, the next prey.  Their constructed smiles mask the fear of missed quotas, and their overt politeness belies their desperation.
 
I walked briskly past the scariest stands - Lancome, MAC, Bobbi Brown - the ones with the cult followings.
 
  • I should note here that I interviewed for a job with Lancome directly out of college.  I didn't have any good prospects, and I was still putting in time at the gas station for money, so I thought I should give it a shot.  I went to interview at the store in Evansville, and I did really well...until I had to sell something (makeup) which I didn't start using until a month earlier.  My job was to sell this juicy, candy flavored lip gloss - the hot new craze.  I had to sell it to the salesperson, who pretended she wasn't all that interested.  When she asked me about the many benefits of the product, I told her that if she were ever in a serious plane crash, she could eat the delicious gloss for sustenance until help arrived.  I'm not kidding.  Awk-ward.
I happened upon the Bare Minerals stand and made my move.  Two unassuming saleswomen greeted me, and I pretended to be politely uninterested, then I said:  "Oh you know?  I've been using a drugstore mineral foundation, and one of my coworkers and I were just talking about trying Bare Minerals.  Hmmm....can you all try some stuff out on me?"  They were all, "Yeah sure!  Oh sweetie, come on over!"  They were putty in my hands.  Or were they?
 
When I told them I didn't have anything on my face (throwing in the always prideful "I just came from the gym"), I got my standard response from all makeup shillers - "Your complexion is amazing."  I know.  "What's your secret?"  I eat lots of mayonnaise.
 
Seriously.  That's always my answer.  Some believe me, others look incredulous.  That's when I tell them I've only worn makeup for 4 years and I only wash my face in the morning.  Which is true.
 
Kelly - we were on a first name basis (first bad sign: never know too much about your enemy; you're bound to develop a relationship) - applied a primer, the mineral foundation and a great eye concealer powder that made me look admittedly awesome.  Then she moved on to a light bronzer.  The second bad sign is that I let her do my eyes, which I never do at home because they're already magnificent.  It's a bad sign because if the eye makeup looks good, I'll want to buy it...and I'll never use it.  Yeah it seems easy at first, but I'll notice how it turns to shit when I rub my eyes (which I do often) and how the eyeliner streaks and nebulizes at the corners like I've spent far too long at the disco.  Then it spends the rest of its thirty-dollar-investment life in the back corner of the top shelf of my medicine cabinet, only to be used on Halloween.
 
The blush was a little too orange for me, but nonetheless "perf" on my Meyer cheekbones.  And the lip gloss, for the first time ever, looked somewhat appealing.  I had an amazing face.  And while I was getting it, I made great conversation with Kelly because she did exactly what I wanted - trash-talked the other makeup stands.  "They wear high heels like they're gonna get dates.  Don't they know they have to stand for 8 hours straight?"  Or  "They have to wear thick makeup that's going to give them wrinkles."  And "Don't put your head in that booth.  It's scary.  It shows you how much sun damage you have on your face.  Then they try to scare you into buying their creams."
 
This girl was after my own heart:  Don't be nice, be catty.  At the dentist's office, I always ask the hygienist about the nastiest teeth she's ever seen.  At the salon, I always ask the stylists about their shittiest customers.  It makes them feel at ease, and it gives me stories.  How do you think I know that people let their kids shit in the aisles and in the circular racks at Wal-Mart and Target?  Ask an employee for the juice, and they'll spill - they're just dying to tell someone.
 
Soon, Kelly was laying out the products that she used on me.  The eyeliner, shadow, bronzer, blush, gloss and relevant brushes were included in a promotional kit for $64.  That's a steal!  But I really wanted the foundation and the eye concealer, which were about $20 a piece.  Not bad.  $100 bucks for all that?  But then I needed the brushes for the foundation and the concealer (which I kind of did; I have no brushes at home).  How much?  About $20 each.  Yeesh!  Ummm...do I really need the concealor brush?  It's specially designed to hold more powder to get into the hollows of your eye.  Oh...I guess.  64+20+20+20+20?  That's close to $140.  Yeow.  That's not too bad, really, when other stands quote close to $400 for all the stuff they use on you.
 
I'm trying to do the mental math while she fast talks me into other products - primer, (another) all-over bronzer...  I'm trying not to sound stingy (a bad habit I get from my Dad, who recently shushed me for calculating a tip out loud at a restaurant.  Shyly smiling:  "Okay, that's enough...someone will hear you...It's embarrassing."  This guy would say nothing if he was overcharged because he doesn't want to make a scene or "look like a tightwad").  When I ask if I really need some things, she ushers them away with a sidelong glance saying, "don't tell my boss."  This "boss" seems to be everywhere and anywhere; I never saw her. 
 
On the way to the register (me still fearing the tab) we talk about horsehair brushes, and when I say, "can you imagine if the brushes were made from My Little Pony hair," Kelly flippin' flips like she's an old acquaintance.  "Oh my God, do you love My Little Ponies?  You should come by this week over lunch because I got some My Little Pony stickers that I want to share with someone but I don't know if they love My Little Pony.  I'll write it down on your card."
 
What.  Just.  Happened?
 
Before I knew it, my tab came up.  With Chicago's outrageous city tax, my total came to $164.  AHHH!  Which I shakily put on a credit card.  AHHHH!  I immediately start justifying my purchase:  How often do you treat yourself?  Always.  How often do you buy makeup?  Twice a year.  So what's the big deal?  I could buy a new bed frame with that cash.  So what?  If you wanted it you'd already have it.  True, but I don't have it because I don't save the money.  Why do you have to save it for that?  Because...I...FUCK YOU, POOR JUDGMENT!
 
And you know what?  As soon as that card cleared, I was practically kicked away from the booth as she moved on to another interested client.  I felt dirty.  I felt used.  I felt...the weight of an impossibly tiny bag full of $164 powders.
 
So I decided to nurse my wounds by having lunch at Bandera, and resume my normal life by going to Walgreens for some much needed toothpaste and razor blades.  For these are the things that truly matter.
 
And all that makeup?  Piled up on the first shelf of my medicine cabinet, destined to move a few shelves up until they are recovered on Halloween.
 
So there's that,
 
Laura

4 comments:

manda said...

Oh my gosh!! You just made me pee my pants a little! It kills me to pay $7.50 for my foundation!!

ShanaRose said...

stupid chicago glam. it's a killer ain't it? get a black eye! then you'll walk around bruised, but feeling hot!
...wait, no, the hospital bill will surely beat out your $164.

ShanaRose said...

p.s. awesome writing in this post ms. meyer

Anissa said...

I use Bare Minerals now since I went to Mary Kay hell.