I’m usually BEHIND the camera, not in front. After scrolling through a friend’s photos, I groaned at the images of me she captured. Looking pastier than Elmer’s School Glue I decided I needed either a mask or a face-lift.
Both had advantages. An inexpensive mask would cover completely. A face-lift would lift out the wrinkles then no one would notice how pasty I looked.
Both had disadvantages. Unless it was Halloween or Marti Gras, a mask would provoke questions like “Why are you wearing a mask? It’s not Halloween or Marti Gras.” Then I’d have to ‘fess up to my pasty complexion thereby defeating the original intent of hiding it. A face-lift hurts and costs WAY more than a mask.
I chose the middle ground – Make Up.
Make Up and I became acquainted after I graduated eighth grade from St. Florian’s Grammar School in June 1965. Nuns didn’t wear make up and didn’t think their charges should either. You DON’T argue with nuns, at least not in 1965.
We became fast friends.
I remember frosty pink lipstick and blue eye shadow and eyeliner that winged out so far it almost took flight.
I remember false eyelashes on prom night just for fun!
Then Make Up and I bickered during the Women Movement. Feminists urged us to discard anything that might objectify us to the “patriarchal culture.” Cosmetic manufacturers jumped on this opportunity and introduced the “natural look.” The “natural look” as far as I could figure involved Make Up, if applied properly, achieved the goal of looking as if you weren’t wearing Make Up.
I cut to the chase and didn’t wear any – the ultimate natural. It satisfied the feminist side of me. “Hear me roar!”
Like some friendships Make Up and I drifted apart.
When I entered the work world I half-heartedly purchased mascara and blush and tinted lip-gloss. I relied on that standby routine WAY too long as documented by my friend’s digital images of me.
Time for an update! Instead of shopping the cosmetics aisle in Walgreens, I opted for Ulta. Me shopping for Make Up in Ulta was akin to me shopping for cryptocurrency online – too many choices and I didn’t know what I was doing.
Dazzled by rows of lipsticks and pegboards of brushes and compartments of blushes I wandered aimlessly.
An alert saleslady recognized my bewilderment.
Before I could say “diffused smoky eye” I swiveled between mirror and saleslady armed with an array of cosmetics.
“First apply illuminating primer,” she said. “It smooths the skin. Otherwise it’s like putting paint on an old board that hasn’t been sanded.”
Comparing my skin to “an old board” offended a bit, but I kept an open mind.
“Then powder your eyelids.”
The loose powder she swept over my lids reminded me of Mom’s loose powder I’d dipped my fingers in decades ago.
She continued through eye shadow, liner, foundation, blush, brows, mascara, and lipstick. Sensing my overwhelm she wrote a sequenced list.
Carting my basket to the cashier, she totaled my purchases.
I blanched, handed over my credit card, and thought that the face-lift might have been cheaper.
All went well with my new purchases until a month later. I’d developed a sinus infection which contributed to viral conjunctivitis- a contagious eye infection.
So as not to reinfect myself, I disposed of all eye Make Up.
I’ll replace the eye shadow and eyeliner and mascara. I might even purchase a set of false eyelashes.
I enjoyed my new friendship with Make Up.