Becoming a Lady

Unknown-1Lady is relative, I suppose.  But as I think of age, I think about those milestones along the way.  Rites of passage.  Make up was a big one for me.  I wanted to wear make up since I was about, well, since I could stand on my tip toes and watch my mom put on her lipstick in her dressing table’s mirror.  But the first time I bought any cosmetics, I mean real cosmetics, not the blue eyeshadow from Wal-Mart, was when I was 17.  My girlfriend and I had been shopping in downtown Bartlesville, OK (the days before malls) and wandered by the Mary Kay store.  The flashy pink interior with its black accents enthralled me from the moment the first glare-free bulb around the vanity mirror caught my eye.  Makeover?!  Sure.

images-2We were guided to the comfy chairs, and set up in front of big three way mirrors.  My makeup artist began by rubbing astringent across my face with a cotton ball, asking me how often I got makeovers.  When I replied “Never before,” she must have thought “Sucker!” She flattered me with comments like, “Did you know you have a double set of eyelashes?” I didn’t, and I still am not sure what that is.  And, “You have a heart-shaped face,” which my insecure side thought she meant I had fat cheeks.  But when she said I had “high cheek bones” I knew that phrase.  I’d read about it in Seventeen magazine, the resource for all teenage girls in 1980.  Cheryl Tiegs, the CoverGirl model had “high cheek bones”.  I had never noticed mine before and figured that was due to the pudgy heart shape.

make-up-bag1At the end of the session, I had been so flattered that I bought almost everything the makeup artist said I needed in order to maintain the stripper look she’d applied to my face.  I spent nearly $19 on the supplies.  Nineteen dollars was a fortune to me.  I went home and cried (luckily I was wearing expensive water-proof mascara).  I couldn’t afford this kind of make up.  I would never be able to be a lady, I thought.

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