Today my friend X took me to the mall and we decided to visit the new Bloomingdales. We entered in the cosmetics department, unaware of the horror that awaited us.
Some bitch at the Benefit counter approached me and started telling me about their new eyebrow waxing service. I tried to ignore her and looked at the make up while she gave X a brochure or something. As I started to walk away, the bitch says brightly: “Can I just show you something?” I turned to her and said “Sure.”
Without any warning, she whips out a tube of something and starts rubbing it all over my face. I was too stunned to react. I couldn’t even believe it was happening. She babbled about the product while rubbing it in, and I kept my eyes tightly shut , dreading a blob of it on my contact lens.
When she finished, I blurted out, “How do you know this won’t make my skin break out?” meaning, How do you even know if I just had a facial peel, if I’m wearing a pound of foundation, if I’m on my way to a dinner party and can’t wash my face, if I have severe allergies, or if I’m carrying a kitchen knife to stab you with?
She smirked and replied: “It’s oil free and hypoallergenic. It’s silicone based.” I felt my face and indeed it felt slippery like the silicone glossing serum I don’t like to put on my hair.
I staggered off and told X how furious I was. I wondered if it was worth asking for the manager an causing a scene. We walked a few feet to the Dior counter, where a nice young black-clad gay guy asked how we were doing. I remarked that I was traumatized by the Benefit bitch.
He nodded and confided, “That’s their philosophy over at Benefit. Believe me, I’ve worked for them.” With that, he persuaded X to let him do her lipstick by saying, “PLEASE, I’m so bored and it will make me happy!”
The Dior guy did an expert job of lining and filling in X’s lips, explaining each product and why there was nothing like it. He did her eyes too, using 5 different products. While he worked, he told us about his unhappy childhood in a small-minded Christian community. He asked about my favorite poet, revealing that his favorite is Sylvia Plath.
“OH!” I said, recalling that the second most popular source of literary tattoos is Sylvia Plath, “So do you have any of her stuff tattooed?” He proudly yanked up his long sleeve to reveal a whole long poem about death on his upper arm, the words alternating in red and black ink. He kept right on moaning about his childhood, oblivious of how easily I had just pigeonholed him.
Finally, he was done with X, who looked great. He lined up around 8 products and asked her which ones she wanted to buy. When she said she wanted to think about it for a while, you could see his entire demeanor change. He coldly advised us to have a good day. When we left the store, we were careful to avoid the cosmetics department.
What next at the make up counter? A gang rape?