I’m vain. I’ll admit it.
This skin cancer scar has made me a bit shy about going out in public. I’ve gotten over it with some of my women friends. I can get to the grocery store bare-faced without worrying about it. I even forget about it most days, except for the time I spend in front of the mirror each morning and night, covering it up with makeup, or revealing it at night.
The angry red stitched-up scar has faded into a thick, stubborn, pink line, but the lumpiness remains. I can hide most of the pinkness with makeup, but the hard ridge isn’t easy to ignore, and it apparently isn’t going away any time soon (if ever). I’ve even learned how to outline my lips to camouflage the slight asymmetry that happened when they pulled the wound together.
I had an opportunity to attend the National Breast Cancer Foundation gala this week with a group of colleagues that I hadn’t seen since my surgery. Part of me wasn’t ready to debut this new face quite yet. But the part of me that loves all things fancy and fun won out! A little voice in my head reminded me that very few people actually take a hard look, anyway, especially at women, ahem, of a certain age. But that is a blog for another day…
So I started the little dance routine that women do when they are prepping for a big event. First, I raided my closet. The timing, as usual, was perfect - I just took an armload of gala-worthy dresses to a garage sale three weeks ago. I scrounged around and found an ankle-length skirt from a decade ago, plus a top I found on the clearance rack at White House/Black Market in 2013. Still fits, so this is the winning outfit. But shoes…I haven’t put on high heels over 2” tall since my pre-broken ankle days (see “Summer of Cast” blog series from 2015). Way in the back of my closet, covered in dust and dog fur (don’t judge), I found a pair of silver, sparkly shoes with an acrylic kitten heel. I’m not even sure about the year, or decade these are from, but they didn’t make my ankle wobble. They were spit-shined and put back into action.
After a quick trip to the hair salon for a trim and blow-out, I stopped to get some heavy-duty “spackle” to help me keep some confidence on my face for a few hours. Oh, the perils of a quick trip to Sephora!! I couldn’t help it. Every aisle screams “look younger, look prettier!” The lip gloss section was really loud, with promises to make my lips look like one of the Kardashians – I can’t remember which one, though. I almost made it out unscathed, except for those eyelashes. Sigh. I’ve never had long or thick eyelashes. My eyelashes are short and golden blonde - exactly the opposite of long, lush, dark and feathery that beauty standards recommend. I grabbed a beautiful pair of fluttery, wispy lashes and a tube of glue. How hard can it be? I used to wear them back in the ….uh, back when I did theater (can we leave it at that?)
The Sephora detour set me back a little on my schedule, so I hurried back home. I spackled, blushed, brushed, powdered and painted until I was satisfied that the pink line was as camouflaged as it could get. The hair fluffed out nicely. All I needed to do was attach the little wispy spider-things to my eyelashes. I scanned the instructions, then I did what we all do when we need to actually learn something – I googled it. Turns out, there are dozens, maybe hundreds of videos showing how to put on lashes. All accomplished it in about a minute, on expertly made up, perfect, young eyes. There really should have been a disclaimer on these videos – “your results may vary.”
First, I needed to trim the things, since I placed one, sans-glue, on my eye (as they recommended) and it actually got stuck in my eyebrow, So I chopped about $4 worth of hair off the lashes, then I watched another video to make sure the first three weren’t lying about how easy it was. I put a little mascara on my real lashes to have something to “blend” the lashes into. Those little tweezer thingies they give you are hard to manipulate when your hand is shaking and you’re also trying to hold the magnifying mirror because you can’t see anything close up without it.
I got one lash centered on my eye and gently tapped down the outside corner, as they prompted. The inside corner promptly jumped up and tangled in my eyebrow again. I backed off and straightened it all out, then went back in. I tapped it down again, and started pressing along my lash line, until I pressed too hard and jabbed myself in the eye. I blinked hard, and when I looked up, the lash was gone.
My sink area is white and I have high-powered lighting around the vanity – you’d think a dark eyelash would stand out, but nope. I looked to see if it had adhered to my spanx, or gotten tangled in my hairsprayed locks. Nada.
After a minute, I found it on the floor - near my foot. Like everything else that gets dropped on my floor, it had a long dog hair firmly attached to the glue. At this point, I’m 15 minutes behind schedule and out of patience.
I stuck the lash back in the box, shimmied into my outfit and took one more look in the mirror to see if anything else had gotten out of whack during the eyelash episode.
Spackle intact. Hair still looks good.
Vanity has limits when the clock is ticking.
Eyelashes 1, Tam 0 (until next time).