During our NYC shopping excursion, Mrs. Smith and I stopped in at Saks Fifth Avenue for a makeup counter experience, which I was hoping would be as glorious and free-sample-filled as my last venture in 1998. I sat down first in front of a lovely Jamaican woman with giant eyes, brushed with a beautiful gold shadow, and full red lips. I hadn’t paid any attention to how haggard I looked after all my walking and eating, so it took me off guard when she asked how old I was. I think it was the first time I’d been asked that question since my recent birthday, and I suddenly felt very sad and defeated, casting my eyes to the ground and muttering, “Thirty.”
“Yoor skin ees nice, but yoor eyes are geeving ayway yoor age. Yoo’ve got a lot of puffines and fine lines around dee eyes, and eet’s only goink to get worse.”
Crap. I wasn’t expecting this.
She continued to interview me regarding my skin-care routine, and every time I answered, “Usually,” “No,” and “Just foundation,” to her questions, she chastised me for not doing a better job. I should be using concealer; I should be using a specific eye cream; I should be using a special eye-makeup remover.
By the time she asked my why I don’t wear lipstick, I could only offer one answer, “Because I’m a bad, bad person.”
I looked at Mrs. Smith when the lady turned to get something out of the counter. She stared at me with wide-eyed horror and said, “There is NO way I am sitting in that chair.”
“Oh come on,” I said, “the persecution is free!”
The lady returned, shaking her head saying, “I cahn’t beeleeve yoo don’t wear lipstick.”
And that’s when I had to say, “I cahn’t beeleeve yoo make eight bucks an hour.”
Actually, I didn’t. I was still holding out for free samples at this point.
When I told Ms. Jamaica that I couldn’t afford any of the products she’d just slathered on my face, and asked what she’d recommend on a drugstore budget, she called over another associate.
The new lady was hilarious and gave me some good advice about eye cream and facial moisturizers. Somehow, we got to talking about her unbelievably glorious skin. She was wearing a wide-necked sweater and her shoulders and arms were positively glowing. When Mrs. Smith and I pinned her to the ground and demanded her secret, she finally revealed it. She mixes baby oil gel with Oil of Olay Quench lotion before giving her entire body a generous dose.
Was this little tidbit worth all of the verbal abuse I received? Perhaps not, but the spit I dropped in the bottle of $135 facial toner definitely was.