I attended a dress-up dinner party last night and decided to wear makeup. That probably doesn’t seem like such a big deal but there is a story here. About three years ago I wore makeup to a party. When I got home that night I looked in the mirror and had one of those awful moments of clarity where I saw that I was an aging woman who still made up her face as though she were 30 years old. Too much turquoise eye shadow, black circles around the eyes and just ridiculous.
I had that embarrassed, shameful, blush all over feeling and decided everyone at the party had spent all evening snickering behind my back, etc., etc. I did come to my senses and remembered that they all had lives, that my makeup and I were the least important things in their lives and I really could go out in public again. I also threw away all my makeup and decided I never needed to wear any again.
Last fall I was visiting friends in Grass Valley and we decided to go shopping. After an hour or so we found ourselves in front of the Oberon skin products store. We drifted inside and the owner suggested we try out the products, Oberon and Dr. Hauschka being the only two brands she sold. Dr. Hauschka skin care products have been used by the wealthy and the beautiful since 1967.
Next thing I knew I was in the chair, explaining that I no longer knew how to apply makeup and was turning myself over to her for a makeover. Well, she patted tinted moisturizer into my skin, lightly brushed subtle shades of taupe and vanilla on my eyelids, stroked white cover-up on the blue bruised looking patches between the inside corner of my eyes and my nose. Finally she applied a subtle red lipstick that was really a lip moisturizer. Eight hours later my lips were still soft and moist—a miracle. I usually use lip gloss at least twice an hour.
All the women exclaimed over the new, beautiful me then took their turns in the chair for a similar magical experience. I watched carefully, thinking I’d remember all this. I walked out of the store the proud owner of $136 worth of tinted moisturizer, Dr. Hauschka mascara (I think it’s very dark blue in deference to my age and naturally silver hair), three subtle shades of nearly no-color powdered eye shadow, a white pencil for covering up blue spots, a brush to apply something (what? It’s been six months) and several sponges for removing everything. I forgot to buy the lipstick. Darn!
When I arrived home I lined up all my new goodies in the bathroom and proceeded not to open any of them for six months until the fancy dress-up dinner party. Fortunately I allowed plenty of time for this operation. It took half an hour to get everything on my face and around my eyes. It took the store owner about 10 minutes. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised at how subtly lovely I looked to myself. All the shame of my last makeup job was erased.
However, underneath that lovely face sits my neck, the skin on which is the definition of crepe. I cannot think of any cure for that neck but surgery, a life-threatening procedure I would never consider because of the cost. I admit I’ve caught myself thinking, “What the hell, a neck job wouldn’t be so awful if I had a disposable $20,000.” I mean, this is not the first time I’ve noticed my neck. But it just ain’t gonna happen. Even before the crash of the worldwide financial system there wasn’t even a remote possibility there would ever be that much disposable income in my life. Since the crash, the cats and I flip a coin to see who buys food each week.
So I’ll just wear makeup every once in awhile and pretend like I don’t notice my neck. And maybe it’s time to read Nora Ephron’s book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck.”
If you’re interested, here is the website for the rich and beautiful http://www.drhauschka.com .