At a ripe old age, I’m learning a foreign language, one that young women are naturally conversant in: the language of cosmetics.
I have absolutely no natural talent for this. My idea of makeup is lipstick, a swipe of mascara and a few dabs of a foundation to hide the blotches around my nose. But who am I kidding? Most days I’m the best I can do is slather Olay cream on my madly dry skin.
So this is my state of ignorance when I accompany my daughter, Vanessa, to Sephora.
What is she shopping for? Under-eye primer.
Under-eye primer. The words mean nothing to me. Turns out it’s a cream you put on before under-eye concealer.
“You wear under-eye concealer?” I ask. She’s all of sixteen, but she appears to believe she has circles under her eyes.
But back to the primer. It turns out that faces are like walls. The prime kinda does the same thing.
When you’ve entered middle age without knowing what primer for the face is, the news is not exactly earth-shaking. Still, in the spirit of the moment, I bought primer “lash builder primer,” by Clinique. “Conditioning undercoat boosts benefits of Clinique mascara, extends wear.” I have to say it sounded kind of great. Mascara never seems to last on my lashes; that’s partly why I rarely bother with it.
I can now smugly report that my mascara, combined with primer, lasts a full evening. Oh, baby! I actually had trouble getting the stuff off.
Naturally, I’m not getting too carried away. I know a woman does not need makeup to look and feel good about herself. I Girls shouldn’t feel they need it; but many do. it’s part of meeting cultural expectations. I’m part of a generation that said, f*** that, but this generation is different. They seem to find makeup empowering. I dunno, some girls definitely overdo it, and end up looking like 30-year-olds, but I figure there are more important things to make a stink about—like equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work. We have a ways to go there.
And while we’re getting there, I may need a good eyebrow pencil.