I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Most days, I don’t bother. This doesn’t mean I’m disdainful of the stuff, in case you care—it just means I’m too lazy to gild the thistle each and every morning.*
But once every few years, just before a special occasion, I’ll drag down my small case—which has lived on the highest shelf of the linen closet since the Janie Discovers Foundation Incident of ’09—take a guilty look at the fossilized sadness in those elegant little containers, toss it all out, and make an emergency trip to the Mall, where an optimistic young thing will sell me the works, not knowing that she will never see me again in this lifetime, no matter how many handwritten thank you notes or special customer postcards she drops in the mail.
I will use it all once. Perhaps twice. And the cycle starts again.
My one exception to this is nail polish—I get my nails done, in a real salon, every two weeks. There are actual reasons for this. One, my nails are brittle and tend to split and crack along the sides unless they’re armored in several layers of polish. Two, I make a lot of photocopies every day, and my hands are in everything. Might as well make ’em look purty.
Three—I love OPI. Great colors, weird names. “I’m Not Really a Waitress” Red? “I Vant to be a-Lone Star” silver? “House of Blues”? Gimme.
Aaaaand they’ve come out with a set for the new Muppet Movie. This week, I’m sporting “Warm ‘n Fozzy” on my fingers and “Rainbow Connection” on my toes. I would have gone with “Meep Meep Meep,” or “Fresh Frog of Bel Air,” but the octogenarian next to me snagged ’em.
In which I am outnumbered, in a car, in the rain:
“Why do you have wiper-thingies, Mom?”
“Windshield wipers? So I can see to drive.”
“Why don’t we have them back here?”
“Because you don’t have to see—only the driver has to see. See?”
“I can’t see, Mommy! I want to see.”
“Use your mitten to wipe the window.”
“It’s not the steam, Mom, it’s on the outside.”
“Yeah. And the dirt.”
“Mom-my’s car is dir-ty. We should wash it. With lotsa car soap.”
“Can we, Mom?”
“It’s too cold . . . Maybe the rain will help.”
“Okay, maybe we could run it through the car wash.”
“Not right now. This weekend.”
Much more squealing than I expected.
“They gots popcorn!”
“And little jewel things under a plastic microscope.”
“And popcorn, Mommy!”
“And stuffed animals.”
“At the carwash?”
“Yeah, they have a gift shop.”
“At the carwash?”
“Sure. It’s fun. Can we go with you, Mom? Please?”
“Pretty Please, Mommy?”
“Pleeeeeeeese with sugar on top and a cherry and, um, Reddi-Whip?”
“Pleeeeese, Mommy? With spinkles?”
“She means sprinkles. Please, Mom?”
“I’m not going to say yes, just to get you to stop.”**
“Please with cheese on top? Pleasie with cheesie?”
“Don’t say that like that, Janie.”
“It sounds icky.”
“It does not!”
“Pleases can have cheeses, Sunny. Great, now you have me doing it.”
“Well? Can we, Mom? Or should we keep asking?”
“No! I mean, Yes! But no more pleases. Please.”
The sound of a high-five in the back seat.
“’Sokay. Mommy? Can we have popcorn for a snack?”
“I don’t think so. It’s almost dinner time.”
This made me sniffle like I haven’t sniffled since the Iron Giant. Felt good.
And by popular request, an image of the world’s only blonde, curly-headed Batgirl, who uses the power of sheer cuteness to melt evildoers into little puddles of goo:
And everyone else, too.
*And also that after years of playing a double reed, I never got used to the taste of lipstick.
** Yes, I lied to my children. But it’s not like they believed me.