that it's already August, I've decided to start my spring cleaning. Since procrastination
is my middle name, maybe I'll start with just one long-ignored job: my make-up
in this case, refers to a now-massive box of cosmetics that hasn't been investigated
in many years, not even when I dump the makeup from one old box into a bigger
one, which happens every time we move.
About five years ago, I went through
at least the top couple of feet but for the most part, nothing beneath that layer
has been seen in years. Did I really think keeping an ancient bottle of my father's
Fitch Shampoo was in memory of him or was I trying to wear my inner child on the
outside? I'm grown up now and will finally throw it out. But I'll keep his shaving
brush because it smells like him.
|There was a plastic
container near the bottom of the drawer containing dehydrated dark brown stuff
which appears to have once been a Clairol match to my natural color before my
husband walked out and I turned blonde from grief. And I found a bottle of Mane
and Tail Hoofmaker, which is weird because I never owned a horse. I also found
a long, dark brown "fall," sort of like hair extensions only in one hirsute chunk.
After all this time stuffed in the bottom of my makeup box, it looks like roadkill.
I bought that fall because of peer pressure, same as girlfriends have to wear
the same shade of lipstick to look connected.
Most of the thousand tubes
of lipstick I found were of uncertain vintage, like Chen-Yu which my mom used
because it came in a pretty carved tube with a slim band on the side and, when
you removed the lid, the band made the lipstick rise up. Sort of like Viagra for
your mouth. It was a glorious color which must've been her favorite because the
stub was well below the rim of the tube and you could see brush marks from scraping
out the last possible bit. That has to go into the trash along with the Fitch.
I found lipstick shades that never looked good on me, which were still either
in their original boxes or entombed in clear plastic even harder to open than
a new CD. One shade was a ghastly grayish-white that makes you look as though
you donated one too many pints of blood. Worst of all is that these things mean
mom was correct when she used to ask me the hated question, "Are you going out
There were unopened boxes of Frownies, little stickers to paste
between your eyebrows to get rid of the frown lines that look like the number
11; however, I found several identical boxes because I failed to remember I already
had bought some. I also found Frownies brand, "Facelift in a Bag". It might've
worked, had it only contained a plastic surgeon.
Wish there was a surgeon
who could transplant eyelashes. There are a million types of mascara in the stores
but not one that doesn't flake off if you leave it in a box for 10 years. I tried
a new type that's supposed to make your lashes thick; after a couple of hours,
I ended up with little hairy cheeks from the fallout. Some of them stuck in the
cheek creases around my mouth so it looks like everything I say is in parenthesis.
parenthesis are technically called nasolabial grooves, if you've Googled as many
websites or phoned as many doctors' office receptionists as I have. We're all
in the know now. Also uncovered was a tube of Retin A, so old it had more wrinkles
than I do. Fat chance it's usable now that I need it. I'm told you can't use Botox
in that location or it will inhibit speech. There are many who would be grateful
if I had a shot or two of the stuff on a daily basis.
I started getting
little wrinkles above my lips and, when I heard they were called "smoker's kiss,"
I quit smoking on the spot. Not kissing, just smoking. A dermatologist's collagen
injections didn't make them go away. Neither did Restylane. I was desperate, until
a dermatologist recommended a chemical peel as the only remaining alternative.
But, besides the pain of having your face ripped away, scabs eventually falling
off and into your soup, there was the "No more going out in the sun" rule that's
somewhat discouraging when you live in Southern California. "Er, I don't think
so, doc. Thanks just the same." The very thought of tearing my face off and replacing
it with scabs was even worse than looking in the mirror.
I feel like an
archeologist digging up all this old stuff. I could have saved a small fortune
just by going to the hardware store and filling my wrinkles with spackle, lifting
my face with duct tape, and lighting the house with 5-watt bulbs.
Spring Cleaner at last, I was able to throw out the makeup drawer's contents.
The euphoria that comes with victory lasted about half an hour before I retrieved
everything from the garbage pail where it all lay under green cottage cheese,
limp lettuce, and hairy salsa.
Maybe one day I'll sell it all on eBay.
August 6, 2012 column
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