One highlight of my trip home to Chicago was getting to spend some time with one of my aunts that I rarely see. She lives in a different state but she came in for the wedding and was also staying with my grandmother. She took me on an unlikely trip to Bloomingdales to pick up some make-up for herself, I was merely tagging along to get out of the house as I'm normally not a fan of Bloomingdales, shopping, or make-up, and we ended up getting make-overs from the Guerlain representative who happened to be at the counter that day. Now I don't know the first thing about make-up or brand names or Guerlain or how much this stuff costs. Here's a hint, this stuff costs a LOT. I had no idea. Here's another thing, if you knew the first thing about me you'd realize how hilarious and unlikely this scenario is. My friend called me on my cell phone while I was in the hot seat getting $400 moisturizer applied to my face and I told him I can't talk now and you'll never guess where I am and what I'm doing. When I saw him later that night at dinner and finally told him he burst out laughing to the point of snorting water out his nose. When I showed him the 'after' pictures (oh yes, I took 'before' and 'after' pictures) I thought he was going to have an aneurysm. 'Can you send me a copy of this?', he asks, 'I have to send this to Michelle (a mutual friend of ours from childhood), she'll never believe this in a million years'.
I've only ever worn make-up once in my entire life and it was for a horse show. My riding teacher slapped some lipstick on me and brushed some powdery glop on my cheeks right before I went in the ring. The Guerlain lady does not look surprised when I tell her this. My skin is pretty bad. Colorado is so dry and the sun so intense. I use a lot of sunscreen and hats but I'm out in the sun a lot and there's only so much you can do to prevent the inevitable damage. My skin looks way worse than my aunt's and she's maybe 17 years or so older than me. 'What do you put on your face for moisturizer?' the Guerlain lady asks me. 'Oh I don't know, same stuff I put on my hands and body', I answer. She looks horrified as does my aunt. 'And what do you wash your face with?' She looks almost scared to ask this. 'Soap?' I answer, knowing this is the wrong answer. It is the wrong answer. More looks of horror. This lady is a pro though and she looks almost energized by the challenge I'm presenting her.
She starts with a cleanser and when she's done she shows me the dirt on the cotton pad. I'm supposed to be alarmed by this. She has no idea what my shower water looks like running off me after a day on the trails or at an indoors on dirt agility trial. Then she applies a toner. After she finds out I'm an engineer she starts using all sorts of technical terms to describe what all this stuff is doing and the research behind it. 'We're the first ones to use nanotechnology'. Um, o.k. 'People come from all over the world to visit our orchid research facility on the border of Switzerland and Italy'. They're big on orchids. I get a technical explanation of how the miracle orchids in the $400 moisturizer are turning back the aging process in the cells of my skin. 'The orchids in this cream come from all over the world'. It's supposed to impress me but all I can think is 'holy crap, what is the carbon footprint of this stuff?' But she's a very nice lady and sales are how she pays her mortgage and puts food on her table and she's putting a lot of thought and effort into trying to take the huge dents out of my arid skin and help me look fabulous so I tell her, yes, this stuff feels amazing. And the truth is it kind of does.
Then she starts in with the make-up. She's asking me about 'foundation' and to me that means concrete grade beams and footings or piers or something to support a building. She gives up on the idea of foundation. She messes about with my eyes with an eyeliner pencil and this freaks me out a bit but I manage to muster up some inner strength and tough it out. I'm so hardcore. She decides not to push her luck and doesn't bother with eye shadow. There's much discussion about which shade of blush to put on my cheeks. I stay out of it. When she was working on my aunt earlier I offered my opinion on which blush for her and I was all kinds of wrong. Then the lipstick. The woman is getting into it now, finally she can practice her art. She has me hold out my hand and she starts smearing different shades of lipstick on my palm. Earlier she had me hold out my palm and she told me she could tell I ate a lot of vegetables and fruit. And sugar. She was right about the veggies and sugar but I don't eat a boatload of fruit. I'm thinking she should leave the palm reading to the fortune tellers and stick to the orchid nanotechnology. Anyway, she has about 8 shades for me to choose from and the only one that doesn't scare me is the very one that she says would be the worst for me. I don't understand why but she's the expert. I rule out the pinky colors and tell her I don't know, you pick one from the rest. She tries a few on my lips and finally both she and my aunt agree on a shade. I don't know about the color but it has glitter in it so I like it. Sparkly lips! Because I have the sophistication of an 8 year old when it comes to this stuff. You could probably buy me some 'My Little Pony' glitter lip gloss and I'd be happy.
Jonny was pretty shocked when I got back to the house but I didn't think there was too huge of a difference. Unfortunately my hair was both dirty and in dire need of a cut (hasn't seen a stylist's scissors since before Labor Day) plus the harsh lighting in the Bloomingdales so the photos are not so flattering but still kind of funny.
The saleswoman looks quite defeated when I inform her I won't be buying anything. I tell her she can write down the name of all the stuff and maybe I'll think about it later. 'What is causing you to wait until later?' she asks me. 'The lack of reliable employment' I answer. Though to be honest even if I have a zillion dollars I'm not spending $400 on face cream, it's just not right somehow. But my aunt insists on buying me lipstick and unbeknownst to me she buys me a container of moisturizer that's made from roses rather than the $400 fountain of youth orchids but is still very fancy expensive stuff that I would never buy for myself and should hopefully work better than the random hand cream from Target. Now I just need somewhere to go that requires me to wear sparkly lipstick.