It’s Prom Season. And it’s Wedding Season. There are a lot of rituals surrounding these celebrations. Some are fun. Some are crazy. Some make no sense at all, and yet we feel robbed if we don’t perform them. It’s all part of the package.
In this part of the country, one of the rituals or expectations that the average prom girl or mother of the bride includes in her “to do” list is getting her makeup done. I found this out shortly before my daughter’s wedding, and it was definitely not something I had counted on. But numerous impeccable sources assured me that I had to do it. Not being an expert, I agreed to do what I was told was an absolute necessity, if not my divine right.
I was initially confused; I have been doing my own makeup for more than 4 decades. One thing I have learned from this wealth of experience is: It isn’t going to get any better! I have plastered on goo, drawn, tweezed, brushed, waxed and dyed eyebrows, layered on mascara, blushed my forehead and bronzed my cheeks. I have accented the crease in my eyelid, highlighted the space under my eyebrow, drawn thick lines and thin lines, used pencils, brushes and felt tip pens to outline my eyes in the approved shape of the season. I have worn green eye shadow, blue eye shadow, and no eye shadow. I have outlined my lips with pencil, colored inside the lines with lipstick, finished off with lip gloss. I have tweezed, squeezed, sponged, brushed, buffed and generally been over my face so many times that I know all the contours like a blind person can read Braille.
For the past 8 or 9 years, all I have used is the mineral powder makeup, as well as some mascara and an eye liner pencil. Not only has my skin become more sensitive as time has passed, but I really hate the feeling of having on so much makeup that I need a caulking gun to make touch ups.
Besides, no matter how many serums or lotions or exfoliating washes I use, I have wrinkles that could provide cover for a teacup poodle at the very least. I earned them, they are mine, they tell the story of my life and their patterns are familiar to me.
That doesn’t mean that I want them to be familiar to anyone who looks at me. And most makeup made for youthful complexions tends to crumble and cake into those fissures in my face like a disaster movie scene where the street opens up during an earthquake. In fact, cracked makeup caked in your wrinkles is guaranteed to make you look older, as well as more than a little foolish.
So I faced the idea of having my face done with all the enthusiasm I display when it is time for me to get a tooth pulled. I know I have to do it, but I hate the thought and I dread the outcome.
Here is a bit of free advice: Go ahead of time and have a practice session. I did this, and I am really glad I did. I thought I wanted eye makeup like Angelina Jolie in “The Tourist”, besides trying to make my cheekbones look bigger and my sagging chin line look smaller. My makeup stylist, who had the patience of a saint (bless her heart), followed my instructions faithfully. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I thought I looked like that Cat Lady who had way too many surgical procedures on her face out in LA. And the look of horror and astonishment I saw on the faces of my husband, daughter, waiter at dinner and even my dogs told me that this was NOT a good look for me.
Back I went a second time. Most people don’t need to do this, but most people are a whole lot smarter about this kind of thing than I am. The second time around, I left Patty alone and let her do her job. Abracadabra! I looked younger, if you weren’t less than 2 feet from my face, and I could even smile without my chin cracking and looking like a stage dummy in a bad Vegas act.
The day of the wedding arrived, and we were all there practically at dawn: the bride, the bridesmaids, the sisters of the groom, both moms, my sister in law and the photographers. “Oh no”, I thought, “This is going to be snapped for posterity”.
To my complete amazement, we had a really good time. The salon provided us with mimosas and bagels with various yummy spreads, cake and coffee and it was like a little party. Of course, the salon was full of regular customers at the same time. We became an unexpected little show for their entertainment. And I found that, by and large, women are really nice to each other at a time like this.
We were lined up, four chairs all in a row, and we had hot and cold running estheticians working us over (or do I mean working on us?), while the other members of our party waited and drank, and the photographers caught us in multiple stages of creation. Literally, a Cinderella Assembly Line, with us all being gilded and groomed, then turned out of our chairs and led to our hair stylists for the next phase like pretty lambs to the slaughter.
Suddenly, in the midst of all this primping and partying, the whole idea struck me as supremely funny. I wished I could see the whole process on video, played at a faster speed, to see if we looked like dolls being painted in a factory somewhere. All it was missing was Lucy and Ethel in the factory from that classic episode of “I Love Lucy”. It was something I have never experienced, and I have to admit I enjoyed every minute. It was also worth every penny, something I don’t say lightly. My husband thought I looked great, and I was assured by the photographer that I was very photogenic. (Which is photographer speak for I didn’t break the camera.) It seems that the ladies at the salon were actually magicians. I’m glad I gave them a big tip!
So girls, moms, aunties, everyone involved in the prom or the wedding, take a deep breath, square your shoulders, pack your checkbook and get ready to brave the peril. You may not recognize the person staring at you from the other side of the mirror, but there really is nothing quite like being a pampered part of the Cinderella Assembly Line. Even if you do turn into a pumpkin when the clock strikes midnight.
First posted on the Diva Toolbox website. Reprinted by permission.
Sandi Tuttle is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show “An Average Woman in a Superwoman World” (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sandi-tuttle).