Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Trying Harder…

Subtitle: Adventures at the make-up counter

Sub-subtitle: Where Becky shows her lack of sophistication and abundance of cheapness

If you know me in real life, you probably know I’m a wash-and-wear kind of girl. Most days I put my freshly-washed hair into a dampish ponytail and go on with my day. There have been whole months when my blow-dryer hasn’t been plugged in, let alone used.

So when I do try a little harder on my appearance, it’s usually in the hair department. My face? Usually naked of all the normal girly embellishments. I tried to remember recently the last time I spent money on make-up, and I came up with the weekend before I had Thomas, when I spent a few dollars on an extra tube of mascara at the grocery store. Even though I rarely wore it, I figured I couldn’t go to the hospital without some. Except for the 2 lipglosses I purchased last summer from the Avon catalogue, that had been the last time I actively made any effort to purchase cosmetics of any kind. Special.

So, imagine my surprise over the Christmas holiday when Thomas said to me, “Mom, I like it when your hair is down.” What? At six, you’ve noticed my appearance and found it lacking? I took note of it, and went on with the day. A few days later he told me, “I like that lipgloss you wear. It makes you look pretty.” (Debatable, but coming from a six-year-old, a prized compliment. He has to think I’m attractive by default.)

So, I decided to try a little harder. I decided I needed to do my hair in the morning more often than not, and also attempt to put on some of the aforementioned lipgloss. One day, my boss’s boss said something about my hair being down (he was trying to mask his shock, I think) and so I ended up telling him about Thomas’s little compliments. Before I knew it, I had two people expecting me to do my hair on a regular basis. Crap.

(I promise I’ll get to the point of this post eventually)

Last week, I got a flyer in the mail from one of the department stores, hawking their wares and announcing that if you spent so much at the make-up counter, you could get a free gift. Wow, free gift? I set it aside, but then later came back to it and decided, heck, why not? As my annual budget for facial products hasn’t been met in nearly a decade, I felt could spend the required $26.50 and come away with something that would show I was trying even harder. Here is a picture of the ad; I wasn't sure what everything was for, but heck, why not.

After deliberating a day or two, I figured that I was safe buying some mascara to fullfill the $26.50 requirement. The tube I bought in 2001 is pretty dried out, and tends to flake, so it made sense to start there. It felt safe, like I had warmed myself up a few years ago, so I could buy this product at least without displaying for all the cutesy make-up ladies to see 1- my inherent lack of make-up know-how and effort, or 2- my inherent cheapness at trying to stay as close to the $26.50 threshhold as possible.

Imagine me arriving at the department store, my determination unthwarted by the hordes of other people clambering for their free gift. Somehow I end up at the correct counter, find a saleslady, and state my purpose: I want some mascara. The attractively made-up woman helped me pick out the mascara flavor that I figured I would need, and I thought I was home free, because I generalized that it would be ridiculously overpriced and bring me to the desired total by itself. I casually ask, “Now, how much do those run again?” (As if I ever knew!) Her answer: $21. Panic starts to set in as I look around at the bewildering facial products in front of me, all deceptively pretty, all without a price tag.

Taking a deep breath, trying to be cool, I point to the lipglosses (because if Avon lipgloss can be $3 or less, these can be too, right?) and ask their price. The answer? 18.50. The eyeshadow? Ditto. The eyeliners? Same story (could have been more; the panic makes me forget the details.) My cool façade starts to break up as I search the counter for something I can purchase that gets me within a few dollars of my goal, while at the same time realizing I’m going seriously over budget. As I’m about to call the whole thing off (which would have been even more embarrassing), and as she sees her sale going down the drain, the kinder-than-I-had-expected saleslady offers up what seems like my least-expensive option: the mascara remover. Ah ha! The price? $15. Close enough for me.

So, I left the store, my purchases in my little bag, feeling much more sophisticated than I had when entering, and even a little less cheap, since I went the extra mile and allowed myself to go over the required amount. Heck, I even modeled it for Shane in the car on the way home. And, I’m proud to say, that each day this week has seen me leaving my house with freshly adorned eyelashes. Who knew?

So tell me: are you a fan of the make-up counter? Does anyone else feel the same sense of panic and doom at approaching its gleaming glassy surface?


Anonymous said...

I think your goooood lookin with or without make-up!

Kayci Bitton said...

I agree with anonymous(Shane?). I never wear make-up unless it is a special occasion and I even forget to then! :) I think it is fun to get all dressed up and looking nice every once in a while. Love you Beck!

audrey said...

I feel the exact same way about the makeup counters! I always get nervous that they're going to spot my makeup-lite face (usually only eyeshadow, liner, mascara, and chapstick) and scoff at my lack of cosmetic know-how. A few months ago I decided I needed some lip gloss, and I wrongly assumed the expert makeup counter ladies might take pity on my inexperience and, you know, actually be helpful. I walked right up, said I wanted lipgloss, didn't want anything too sticky or overly shiny, and was terrible at choosing colors for myself so could you please help me? The woman just pointed to the lipgloss display and said "you're welcome to try a few colors out if you want." But I didn't even know where to start! Or whether it actually looked good once it was on. It was a very disappointing day, to be sure.

(holy comment hijack. sorry!)

Amy Sorensen said...

Yay! you updated!

When Jakey was about 2 1/2, he came upon me in the bathroom, putting on makeup. "Ahhh, Mom!" he whined. "I don't want to go to church!"

It wasn't Sunday.

Yep, he'd associated makeup with Sunday because that was usually the only time I put it on. Ever since then I've tried to be more conscious about it, but sometimes it feels pointless. Makeup to clean the bathroom? Anyway.

My favorite makeup product is the Lancome powder. I ONLY buy it when there is a free gift, because then even though that powder is expensive, I get the mascara and a lipstick and some eyeshadow to boot, and it all evens out. I'm totally intimidated by the makeup counter and just get in & out as quickly as possible.

Maybe you and I should go and get our makeup done one day. It's like getting a bra fitting...easier to do if someone else is with you!!!

Stephanie said...

LOVED the story, Becky! Today Cory brought me a Valentine's Day gift from a make-up counter at Nordstrom's! It's a long story, but one thing I can tell you is that I used to be exactly like you. The first time I wore mascara was after I graduated from high school! Makeup always intimidated me. Now I feel like I wear too much makeup, but I seem to add a little more with each child (I guess I feel like I need something extra to make up for my growing body size and my graying (j/k) hair!) :-) Enjoy your new mascara!

Melanie said...

You know me. I wear makeup.(Now days it's only a couple times a week. I've gotten very lazy.) But I am TERRIFIED of the makeup counter! My mascara is usually $4.79 at Walmart. I went to Nordstrom for lip gloss last year and left with the first color the girl showed me. I thought I'd get more help in choosing a shade than she offered, and I too was trying to pretend that I'm not totally ignorant about makeup. It took great self-control to not show my shock when she told me the price. I've been trying to get up the nerve to go find a new lip color. Too bad we didn't go together!