You know how from time to time you experience something that rubs your nose in the fact that you are, in fact, aging? Something that amplifies that “tick tock?” I found one of those things on Saturday. I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about it. His name was Antonio, and he lives in some obscure makeup store in the mall.
Let me backtrack a bit. I think when women hit a certain point, we start to feel invisible. We realize that whereas we once commanded attention when we entered certain situations, now the younger, cuter versions are. It’s kind of a crappy moment. And that moment is a long one.
I’m 43. For the last 6+ years I’ve poured all of myself into my kids. That’s cool. I think that that’s what moms are supposed to do. Still, I do recognize I need to do better by myself. I would love cuter clothes, more frequent pedicures (and I hear there are these things call manicures as well, but I’m skeptical). I’ve been making an effort to move around more and eat better consistently. I’ve been trying to spend more time on my appearance. I mean, I’m not that far gone, right?
So Saturday I found myself with a less-than-desirable task. Felix and Will were at a Touch a Truck event – dude stuff – so Stella and I had a mother-daughter outing. She wanted to go to the mall. Understand I worked retail in malls for years. I grew to hate malls. I’m still not a fan. But that’s where my kid wanted to go, so by damn I hitched up my big girl panties, grabbed my keys, and off we went.
We got there early. Most of the stores hadn’t yet opened. Since we go so infrequently, I figured we’d make a round and see what Stella might want to look at. As we rounded a corner, this dashing metrosexual guy comes out from a small makeup store, handing me a sample. I had my kid with me, so I was walking much more slowly than I otherwise would have been. Usually I thunder through places like that like a stormtrooper on speed. If someone whose existence in my space-time depends on them selling me stuff or attempting to extort money from me even manages to catch my eye, they get my best “eat shit” look. If they’re pushy, they may get a “piss off.” But I had my kid. Antonio – and believe you me that he introduced himself immediately – smelled blood in the water.
Next thing I know, Antonio is giving me some eye treatment on my right eye, asking me if I’m bored or “just lazy” because I couldn’t give him a complete product list of what I use on my face. Stella is anxiously asking if it hurts. The underside of my right eye feels as if it’s dessicating, the skin shriveling up like a raisin. Oh, but Antonio wants me to see the amazing difference. And dontcha know, this is the same product that Dr. Oz had on his show. Didn’t I know who Dr. Oz was?? Oh sure, I must not have much time to watch television, since clearly I was too busy neglecting my face and daring to appear in public like that (cue the villagers with torches and pitchforks).
I should interject here that throwing around a name like Dr. Oz isn’t going to help your cause with me. I’d just as soon take the advice of that As-Seen-On-TV doctor as I would allow Dr. Scholl to give me a nose job.
Antonio abandoned my eyes in favor of the back of my hand, demonstrating his microdermabrasion cream (Oh look at all that dead skin coming off!) followed by his skin cream that contains real pearl powder. Those poor bivalves, doing all that work. And Antonio? I’m a geologist, dude. Pearls may be pretty but chemically they’re nothing special – good old aragonite. And Antonio? I do have dry skin. I’ll give you that. But you could rub the back of my hand down with ChapStick and it’ll look better for a while.
Antonio somehow held Stella and I captive for about 15 minutes. I was psychically begging my daughter to show her ass but no. She chose this occasion to behave admirably. And I could have all three products for cost – only $190. I’d have shot coffee out my nose if I had had any. Antonio tried to be gracious. He even “fixed” my other eye for me so I’d be even.
When I got home and looked in the mirror, it looked like someone had painted my skin with some kind of funky adhesive. What a miracle.
I’ve been thinking a lot about all this since it happened. I guess I’m NOT invisible to people like Antonio who think I need “help.” I must admit I’m kind of pissed for being such an easy mark, if only for a moment. Part of me wants to feel really shitty about it. I’m not young and thin and cute anymore. But dammit, I’ve had 2 really really good excuses as to why. I guess it’s more important for me to sign my kids up for fun camps and swimming lessons than to splurge on skin care. I can live with that.
So Antonio? Piss off. And Will? Next year you go to the mall. I’ll go Touch a Truck.
Stella at the mall looking young, moisturized, and gloriously unwrinkled