Flashback!!: It's Saturday morning in DC where I've gone to see yet another friend walk down the aisle and I just happen to be in the mall waiting for Geoff to finish getting his hair cut (aside: he went to this place where they gave him a free gin and tonic thus making $50 seem like a totally reasonable price to pay for a trim!) and so I'm browsing the stores when I remember, "perhaps this is a good time to go into the M.A.C. store and see if they have any good pink lipsticks." You see, I have been on a quest to find this one perfect shade of pink since seeing it on Kristen Bell in one of the later episodes of Veronica Mars last summer. Now, it is highly likely that this color, if it exists, will look like crap on me. And it is almost 100% likely that trying on lipstick and then mentally thinking "does this look like Kristen Bell?" will convince one that she is super duper ugly with a cherry on top.
Obviously a glutton for punishment I wander into M.A.C. and start smearing lipsticks on the back of my hand thinking "too purple," "too sheer," "too horrifically ugly" when of course one of the M.A.C. girls comes over to help me and I try to shoo her away but I'm too blinded by her florescent yellow eyeshadow to do anything other than mutter "I kind of want some pink lipstick." I'm always hoping that these makeup ladies are actually going to be helpful, that one of them will be a color genius and not just especially gifted with a trowel and that she will take one look at me and whip out the perfect color and then sprinkle some magic dust over my head and voila! Beauty queen! (but with like 500% less makeup than actual beauty queens).
God knows I need the help since I have no idea how to do makeup. I mostly blame my mom who taught me that tomato plants like full sun and that horses are very afraid of plastic bags but, like a true woman of Woodstock, never put a compact in my hand. I try to roll with it and like the basketball player who "meant to miss" I've embraced the bright side of no makeup by claiming that I generally don't see any need for it. And this isn't entirely a lie. Most days I am happy with just my lip gloss and mascara (2 pieces of makeup whose application process is thankfully only one step long). But whenever an invite for an event of the gussied up variety arrives I get a little nervous and as much as I try to focus on wearing a pretty dress and eating yummy cake and drowning my lip gloss in free champagne I can't help but worry about the eyeshadow problem. Because strapless dresses and high heels and poofy hair seem to demand things like foundation and powder and sparkles in places nature doesn't naturally sparkle. But there seems to be no easy way to learn how to do makeup at the age of 31. Asking the ladies at the makeup counter is only an invitation to some sort of "how much makeup can I get on one little face" contest and my last slumber party invite arrived in 1995. Does Avon still come calling?
I eventually hightailed it out of the M.A.C. store when Little Miss Spackle moved on to a customer who wasn't babbling about not knowing anything about makeup. I left without lipstick, feeling embarrassed, inept and ugly and you'd think it would have been lesson learned for the day, but alas, I am a stubborn wench. Next, I wondered into Neiman Marcus and began the process of making up my hand anew, this time with the help of Estee Lauder. and lo and behold I actually found the perfect pink. It didn't turn violet upon touching my lips, it wasn't secretly peach in disguise, it wasn't completely see through, it was so pretty! And just in time for the wedding. Belle of the ball? Here I was. I figured that sure, Estee Lauder was probably pricey, but considering the arduousness of my lipstick crusade I'd earned a ridiculously priced piece of face paint (and a face paint pencil). Amex card out -- charge ahead. Except apparently my idea of ridiculous and Ms Lauder's are not in the same universe because the receipt that came back for my signature was for $115! FUCK THAT. In the past, faced with a situation where something cost way more than I figured it was worth, I might have smiled politely and signed away a big chunk of my bank account rather than look cheap. Ironically, now that I actually can (technically) afford $115 in lip coloring I had very few qualms about denying my signature. Honestly, it was all I could do to resist engaging the sales lady in a discussion called "seriously my boyfriend just bought AN ENTIRE SUIT for only $50 more than that, are the Lauders doing crack right now or are they still passed out from last night's binge?" Also: "fuck the patriarchy and give me my Amex back."
So I went to the wedding makeup-less (save the old standby mascara, some blush and, for as long as possible, the remnants of the perfect Estee Lauder pink which lasted until at least cocktail hour). And none of the other guests blurted out anything about how ugly I was or exactly why my eyelids were that weird shade of nude known as naked skin but I saw the confusion in their (heavily lined) eyes. I can only hope that sometime before the next wedding (and shockingly for the first time in at least 5 years I have zero weddings on my calendar... but they will come) someone will offer to be my guru of rouge, my messiah of makeup my Christ of the cosmetics counter. Is it you? CALL ME.