If I were a little kid, and I presented you with this picture I had drawn with crayons:you would have no real way of knowing if it was supposed to be a boy or a girl. It’s kind of a generic person face. Nothing especially feminine or masculine about it.
However, if I were to present you with this picture:
you would not hesitate to identify it as a female face. If a girl gave you this picture and told you it was a picture of her Daddy you would wonder if her Daddy perhaps had a career in show business. It’s the exact same picture, the only difference is the eyelashes.
Somehow we’ve decided as a society that of all the things that mark the difference between men and women’s faces – the jaw line, the presence of facial hair (though, to be honest, the older I get the less you can tell the difference in that regard between my husband and me,) or even hairstyle, it is the eyelashes that make the difference.
And so I found myself one evening in the makeup aisle of Wal-Mart presented with a choice of approximately sixty bajillion different kinds of mascara. I needed mascara. I said that phrase to myself after I selected other items I’d gone to the store for: “I need mascara.” Because heaven forbid I should show up at work with pale, short looking eyelashes with no definition.
I’m not really a makeup girl. My guess is that once I retire (please buy my books so I can retire sooner rather than later) I will own one dried out tube of lipstick and some ancient eyeshadow that I will drag out four times a year when I get forced out of the house to go to weddings. But now I work, and makeup is part of the uniform, so it was off to the cosmetics aisle at a discount store for me.
My 12 year old daughter was with me. Marin is a makeup girl, despite the fact that she rarely wears it. She rarely wears it because (and I think she’ll agree with me here) she is inherently lazy and it is a lot of work. Plus, she has a tendency to get out of bed about three minutes before the bus comes, so she has to pare down her routine to nothing but essentials. But she watches a lot of makeup tutorials on YouTube and every once in a while, when she gets a burst of energy, she busts out her “contour palette” and whatever else is in that giant pink case that takes up half the bathroom counter and comes out looking sophisticated and elegant and twice her actual age. (She is young enough that twice her actual age is still a compliment. Twice my personal age is usually accompanied by the phrase, “And she can still get around pretty well, bless her ancient heart.”)
I stood there, stupefied by the range of choices. What in the heck is the actual difference between volumizing and plumping? Why is one three dollars and the other seventeen? All I knew is that I didn’t want something that would drip down my face every time my tear ducts activated with a yawn (every twenty seconds in the afternoon.) I noticed another woman, approximately my age, standing there with the same dumb stare on her face.
Eventually my daughter took pity on me. “This is the one you want,” she said, pointing to a yellow package.
“Is that the one I want?” I asked, “Or is that the one you want to swipe out of my drawer to use yourself?”
“Both,” she said.
Then I noticed. There were two different yellow packages, one with one stripe, one with two. “What’s the difference?” I asked.
After a middle-school worthy eye-roll she said, “One has a curved brush, and one has a straight brush.”
This meant little to me. “And?”
She made a noise that might have been made by a predatory cat. She grabbed a package off the wall and threw it in the cart.
I saw the other woman grab the same package and throw it in her own cart. “Thank you,” she mouthed at me. I nodded sagely.
We all have to share our daughters when it helps. Especially the ones that watch YouTube.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.