This past Saturday morning, my friend and I were getting ready to head out to the children’s museum I told you about yesterday. Her two year-old daughter was keeping me company as I tidied up my bedroom. She was helping me pull the comforter up on my bed, wiping down the bathroom sink with me, and generally doing all the work. Along with the normal stuff, our real estate agent had scheduled a showing for later that morning, so we had to get the place clean as well as replenish all of our bribe money, which really takes some time.
So my little sidekick and I finish cleaning up, and since it’s getting close to the time we’d decided to head out for the day, I return to the bathroom to start “doing my face”.
Now, I don’t know where that phrase came from – I don’t even like using it – but I also don’t feel like I wear enough product to warrant saying that I’m “doing my makeup”, so really, there isn’t a more pleasant alternative. I apologize.
So I begin doing my face - putting my face on, taking my face off – whatever it is that involves washing and covering up the zits that have sprouted during the night. And as I perform each step of my routine, my little friend is asking me, “what’s that thing”, or “what are you doing”. It started innocently, with me explaining why we wash our faces, but we were quickly in sinister territory.
It all started when I pulled a set of tweezers out of my bag. If there was ever an instrument that looked hazardous to your face, this was it. She looked horrified. “What are you doing?!”, she asked, in that sweet but appalled voice that only children posses. She looked like I’d just shown her where the vet sticks the cat thermometer for the most accurate reading, and was thinking that perhaps that was how one got the most accurate human reading, too. In that moment I realized that what I was doing seemed totally absurd. Here I was, telling a two year old that I was using sticky black paint to make my eyelashes long and pretty like hers. I was using foundation to cover any spots on my face. (Spots? Don't animals have spots?) I tried to whip through the lipstain phase so she wouldn’t ask why I was doing it. The only answer I could think of had to do with clowns and strawberries. It was better to stay quiet.
Back when I was in high school, I went on this youth retreat with my church. One evening we played a game. We were told to find a partner, and each set was given a bag of supplies. The object of the game was to use the supplies in your bag as makeup for your partner’s face, and that the best job done in the allotted time would win. I, of course, became the canvas, and as soon as the game began, my partner cracked open our first supply: tomato ketchup. Now, I don’t know when it became a good idea to take something with vinegar as a key ingredient and smear it all over your face, but we were doing it, and we were going to win. Next, she screwed the top off a jar of marshmallow fluff. I can’t even remember where that went. Mustard followed that. Yes, what graces your Hebrew National in July was now giving my eyelids the nice sheen that accompanies chemical burns. Thank goodness we didn’t have any combs - it could have been mascara. Lastly, I got hit with a dollop of peanut butter lipstick.
For the sake of retelling, I really wish I had a peanut allergy, but I don’t. I also have a photo of this, but it's at the other house. Regrets.
So there I am, sitting on the carpet, covered in lunch condiments. And in the time it takes for everyone to be judged and the winners announced, I’ve developed two pink, semi-permanent, soda-can sized circles on my cheeks. It took at least 12 hours for the ketchup stain to fade, and I’m pretty sure my face stung for at least the next day.
We did win the game, though.
I'm hoping that my friend's daughter doesn't take Saturday's makeup lesson to heart. As I was applying what I consider normal tools of maintenance, all she probably saw were the makings of a good hot dog. So please, next time you guys are at a ball game, get her a pretzel. No cheese, no mustard. Just salt. Or better yet, dry.