Me: Hi. My name is Amy. I’m 42, and I have no idea how to apply make-up.
A sympathetic crowd of plain-faced peers: Hi Amy!
That is how I imagine my make-up ineptitude confession. Instead, girls with “smoky” lids stare at me quizzically, as if I just started reciting the Constitution in Tonganese.
I would describe my makeup style as “female softball player goes to prom.” I put on lipstick – the same color and brand I’ve been using since high school. The one my mother tells me “makes my face.” I put on mascara, so that my eyes don’t completely blend into that face. I put on a little… whatchamacallit… rouge? Is it rouge if it is compressed powder? Or is “rouge” just the liquid they used to rub into my seven year-old cheeks before I went to dance recital? The stuff that made me look both blushing, and greasy, as if I had just run a marathon with only my cheeks?
I think what I use now is much more modern. I’ll call it “blush.” But while we’re on the subject, should Cover Girl rose-colored compressed powder last for ten years? How do they make any money? Mine must be that old, and is still half full.
My husband mentioned he thought it would be nice if my lips were a little shinier than the matte lipstick I’d been using. Since he is my fashion consultant, for the first time since I was twelve, I bought a wand lip gloss. Wand lip gloss was the last thing, other than the odd chicken wing, that I’d remembered making my lips shine. I’d bought a similar wand while on vacation with a friend in eighth grade. My friend was much more sophisticated than me. She wore Espirit, while I still shopped at something I think was called “The 7-8-9 Shop,” which, in retrospect, sounds like a terrible name for a store. Especially now, when what was a size seven then, is now a size four. Had that store made it out of the eighties, it would have had to change it’s name, or all the popular bulimic girls would have avoided it like the plague. And everyone knows, a fashion line just will not make it without the support of the popular bulimic girls.
When my friend bought that wand lip gloss, I thought it would behoove my dating life to do the same. At the time, “dating” meant nothing more than having someone to rock back and forth with to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird at a gym dance, like a couple of intertwined Frankensteins. I didn’t think it would hurt to do that with shiny lips.
That evening, I stared into my friend’s mother’s portable lighted makeup mirror, and was so impressed with my shiny lips and swoopy, butane-traveling-curling-iron hair, that I took a picture of myself looking back at myself in the mirror. I still have the photo here, and I look at it anytime I have any inflated sense of ego:
You are a HUGE DORK, it says to me.
Good point, I say.
Wow. A picture of yourself in a mirror? Really? it says.
‘nuff said, I say.
I mean, I’ve seen some dorky stuff in my time, like that picture of you popping your collar next to your Camaro, but, a picture of yourself in a mirror??!
Ok!!! I get it!! For the love of all that is holy, LET IT GO!!!
If the picture wasn’t enough, I also have a very strong scent memory of that moment. That lip gloss smelled so much like strawberries it was like someone was holding my head down in jar of Smuckers.
The wand lip gloss I bought recently did NOT smell quite as much like strawberries as the one I had back in 1980. But the wand itself is killing me. I keep accidentally trying to mascara my lips. But I have to do something. Now that I’m getting older, I’m starting to think maybe I can’t just jump out of bed and look like a fresh faced teen anymore, sans makeup.
My husband just read that last sentence over my shoulder and snort-laughed wine out of his nose, so I’m guessing I am correct in that assumption.
I mentioned my makeup issues offhandedly to my mother, and she ran out and bought me a makeup collection from Clinique that comes in a box with various eye shadows and liners. It has a slide out tray at the bottom with directions on it. The other day, with its help, I did manage to do one good smoky eye. The other eye looked like I was Hilary Swank’s post ass-kicking stand-in double for Million Dollar Baby, but the other did look passable. I could have maybe played a Vietnamese hooker in Full Metal Jacket with the good eye. Maybe.
I have to be careful. I don’t want to have cheeks like stop signs. I don’t want to throw my head back in laughter only to have everyone stare at the sharp line where my smoother, tanner “face” ends and my neck begins. I don’t want use lip liner and end up looking like I’m trying to steal Joel Grey’s part in Chicago. I’m hoping, maybe with some practice, I can use a little extra makeup here and there to grow old gracefully, and not end up looking like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
I hope I can.
I am terribly afraid of clowns.