When I’m in the mood to be traumatized, I usually just go bathing suit shopping. Jeans shopping runs a close second. But when I really want to be both traumatized and insulted, I can always count on the ladies at the make-up counter of the department store to help me out. It would seem to me that in addition to whatever beauty schooling they get in eyeshadow blending and lipstick application, they would also benefit from some good old-fashioned sensitivity training 101.
“Can I help you?” asked the woman with dramatically-arched, drawn-on eyebrows that would have made Mr. Spock green with envy.
“Um, I’m looking for a moisturizer,” I said reluctantly. I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted, but just out of curiosity, I thought I would check out the latest in anti-aging treatments like bat dung serums and placenta creams.
She studied my face for a moment and then reached out and tweaked my cheek.
“Just checking your elasticity,” she said.
I rubbed my tweaked cheek. She grabbed something from behind the counter and held it up to my face. A bright light shone into my eyes.
“Severe sun damage,” she pronounced loudly.
I tried to recall if I had willingly come to this counter or if evil aliens had captured me and deposited me here for some kind of dermatological torture session.
“Here’s something that will help with the fine lines around your mouth and the sagging skin under your eyes,” she said, swiping some foul-smelling cream under my eyes and around my mouth. My eyes immediately began to burn and tear.
“This one is also non-comedogenic so it will help with those clogged pores on your chin,” she said as she swiped some orange goo on my chin. It quickly hardened so the pained expression on my mouth froze in place.
“…And this one will help reduce the appearance of the deeper lines on your forehead that you get when you frown – like you are right now.”
Imagine that, I was frowning.
The ironic thing was, before I came into the store, I wasn’t even aware that I had fine lines around my mouth, sagging skin under my eyes, clogged pores on my chin, and deep wrinkles on my forehead. I just wanted to get a moisturizer for dry winter skin.
“I think you would benefit from these three creams,” she pronounced. I studied the tiny little jars
“How much?” I asked, as though I hadn’t been horrified enough.
“This one is $130 for 1 ounce. This one is $150, and this little one is $95,” she said non-chalantly.
I did the math. “Three hundred and seventy-five dollars?!?!?”
“Plus tax,” she said. My hardened jaw dropped.
“But in 6 to 10 weeks, you should notice a dramatic reduction in the appearance of all your fine lines and wrinkles!” she exclaimed.
“Yes,” I said, “But if I leave right now, I will immediately notice a dramatic reduction in the appearance of you.”