Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dream vacation ...

There are two reasons I wanted to go with JCrew to a makeup consultation with a local rep from a trusted leader in beauty for over 50 years:

1. Scientific: This would obviously be a genre of shit show unlike anything I've encountered.
2. Educational: I'm at rookie level of drag-queen blush applications and maybe I'd learn something like, Don't hold your lipstick in your fist, Mister!

JCrew won the free consultation at a Bridal Show and probably asked me to go along as some sort of hint about my face. I imagined that we would walk into the home of a woman with gnawed samples filling the compartments of a pink Caboodles' tackle box, sit in a circle with our legs crossed and talk about what season we all are and how that makes us feel:

"I don't know, Christa. I know you want to be a fall, but when I compare you skin tone to this paint sample I really see a spring. You need to think more pink." 


She was pretty. Her hair looked like it smelled good. Her outfit was casual, but crisp and clean a poncho sweater and jeans. Her skin was smooth and soft, like if you touched her cheek you would leave your fingerprint. She led us to her basement, and office with its own makeup bar and a framed portrait of the company's founding member, which she gestured toward whenever she mentioned the company's standards: Family, no animal testing, recyclable packaging, negligible laugh lines. Classical music playing over the speakers.


At one point I got confused and put face lotion on my lips and wondered if there was every a better metaphor for my approach to the makeup arts.

She said things like: "I haven't had chapped lips in five years," and I believed her.
She said things like: "Some of my clients will pay me using three different payment methods so their husbands don't know how much they spent."

This woman was good. A no-nonsense businesswoman who talked about the flexibility of her schedule, and the next carrot in corporate climb -- the pink car. She also laughed at our jokes and referred to us with a cozy familiarity as "Miss JCrew" and "Miss Christa." She complimented JCrew's bling and cooed "I love diamonds."

I wanted all of it. Every product she had placed in front of us and her sweater poncho. The smooth hands that smelled like peaches and the mysterious absence of laugh lines. The red lip gloss and the 3-step face cleansing system. This whole foreign land -- minus the part where I hide credit card bills from my life partner.

"Well," I said to JCrew, setting a large bag of purchases on the floor of my car. "She's really good at her job."

***

Last night JCrew, Seadawg, Chuck and I went to a gallery party and saw one of my teen heartthrob musicians perform a private show for a small audience before playing a public show in front of a larger audience.


Chuck saw an empty Pellegrino bottle on a table and went up to the cash bar to get one for himself.
First the bartender started to pour him a pinot grigio.
"No, Pellegrino," he said.
Turned out the drink was from the musician's reserve supply of NA bevs, Chuck said when he came back to the table. "He was going to go in back and see if there was any left."
The event organizer came out and set the bottle in front of Chuck.
"It isn't his last one, is it?" Chuck asked, joking.
"Yeah," the guy said, totally serious.
So that is how Chuck became that guy, a scene that quickly spun into a sitcom in my head.

***

The larger event was teeming with nostalgic middle agers -- myself included -- clamoring for something from "Billy's Live Bait." Usually the median age at this venue is Gen Z wrapped in knit hats and scarves and it was decidedly late Gen X last night.

"These people take up a lot of room," Chuck said looking around.
"It's all the puffy coats," I said.
"I think it's all the emotional baggage," Chuck said. "And the colostomy bags."

The bouncers were digging the scene.
"I can't yell at these people," one said. "They're my parents' age."
The sound tech wrote on Facebook that it was a really tame crowd and I accidentally read the word as "lame."

It all ended with an encore of "Dream Vacation" and I grinned myself silly.

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