One of the perks of having children later in life is the privilege of looking like the grandmother at your own child’s wedding. I met this fate several years ago. Everything about weddings celebrates youth and beauty, but my appearance screams old age and personal neglect, so I decided to get a makeover — the first since my own wedding 35 years ago. What an eye-opener that turned out to be.
My rehabilitation started the moment I entered the salon. I learned that the employees are not sales clerks; they are “artists” and should be referred to as such. Mine was a 20-something named Maximilian. He sported hair of unnatural colors which I guessed was styled by a toddler wielding a weed whacker.
The salon workstations were packed tightly so that each makeover was, at best, only a semi-private affair. That design may well have been deliberate to provide both horror and amusement to surrounding artists, several of whom are still recovering from my visit.
Maximilian began with an innocent question about what I use to wash my face. I intended to say that I use soap and water but, from the collective gasp of the artist colony, I must have accidentally said that I take my face down to the creek and beat it against the rocks. I still don’t know the correct answer to that question, but a safe bet would be a $100 skin-care product from salon shelves.
Valiantly trying to recover from the shock of my face-laundering routine, Maximilian took up the task of peddling foundation and blush. Before he could suggest a color, we overheard another customer deciding between two shades. Spoken none too quietly, her exact words were, “Do I want Orgasm? Or Deep Throat?” I wish I were making this up. Later, I looked online and found that their palette also includes Super Orgasm, Sin, Seduction, Reckless and Unlawful. No wonder they call it blush.
Finally, it was on to the eyes and Maximilian steeled himself for another dose of my naïveté, asking how I shape my eyebrows. Upon hearing that I pluck them, he heaved an audible sigh of relief that at least I wasn’t groomed by a troop of baboons.
A couple of purchases later, the cosmetics party came to a merciful end, and I slunk out of the salon under the weight of more makeup than I’d ever worn in my life. I pitched the frequent-buyer card, avoided all eye contact with passersby lest I be accused of escaping a circus or soliciting, and made a beeline for my car. That makeover ought to hold me for the next 35 years or so.
— Mary Kay Jordan Fleming
Mary Kay Jordan Fleming is a professor of developmental psychology at Mount St. Joseph University and mother of two grown children. She spends most of her time leaving notes for herself all over her home and office, and writes humor (and some serious stuff) in her spare time. She is the winner of the 2016 Erma Bombeck Humor-Writing Competition and has published at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Next Tribe, Boomer Café, Sammiches & Psych Meds and HumorWriters.org. Follow her work on Facebook.