I’m in New York and loving it. Quite a contrast from last time I visited,
a fortnight after having returned from Antarctia the first time, constantly
getting rushed at by honking cars while staring at the rooftops and fire escapes
of tall tenement buildings. I went to the New York Public Library to escape
the mayhem but even there became overwhelmed by the books. No, today I’m
loving it and have had a most amusing morning.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m here for my brother’s
wedding. Folk are flying in from around the world: UK, Germany, Egypt, California,
Sweden, Argentina… descending on the city for what promises to be a great
party. And as warrants for such an occasion, the hype is picking up. Now, any
follower of this website should have realized that though I adore my brother
and everything, well almost everything, about him, we are very different creatures.
I don’t like shopping, I don’t know the correct names and locations
of any countries in South America, or any continent for that matter, can’t
argue politics, culture, current affairs or money with any conviction and certainly
wouldn’t know the difference between cool and kitsch. However if he and
Michelle are going to have a party, no amount of sea ice could keep me away.
So, first I got my hair cut, that was a novelty but I survived and no-one,
not a soul, noticed. (Why do folk pay good money to look exactly the same?)
And then I bought a dress, and some shoes. Pink shoes no less. And today I went
to get my legs waxed. My ‘beautician’ was a polish gem and rather
than gawk at my furry legs we spent most of the session talking about how ridiculous
the hair-free culture in the US is. I still can’t believe that her 15
year-old daughter, or anyone for that matter, shaves her arms.
Next stop? The spa directed me to Bloomingdales to buy some make-up. Now I’m
not sure how you’re supposed to decide between the various desks piled
high with powders and lacquers but after circling the floor once I somehow ended
up in a chair in the Mac booth, being done. There were three worryingly beautiful
people working at this stall: one doll-like girl, one heavily made-up queen
and my gentleman artist with finely curled lashes for whom I was the palette.
We begun with foundation, he did half my face first and then the whole thing
to show me the difference. I looked like me but blander. Then he put concealer
on and I looked like me but blander and paler. And then he put cream blusher
on and I looked more like me again. Finally he put glycerine all over my freshly
blushed cheeks and I looked exactly like me at a party. Once it was all done
he covered me in invisible powder (the point?) and told me to beware of the
subway as the air there is so filthy. I didn’t think it appropriate to
mention that Felix and I were intending on taking the F-train to his wedding.
Next came the eyes. Inside light, outside dark. Make the dark bits lighter
with this one. Make the sticky out bits lighter. Edges dark again, “like
an apple”. Right, that helps. Then a middle colour at the top and a dark
one at the edges and underneath and then a pencil right in my eyes so they watered
and looked bloodshot but I later realized that was the desired effect. “Smokey”.
And then the lips. This was my favourite bit.
“You usually use yongblast?”
“Do you usually use long-lasting lipstick?”
“Um, I think I’ve worn lipstick 5 times in my life”
And he gave me some lipgloss stuff that apparrantly lasts 7 hours as long
as I don’t eat chicken wings. I’m going to test it all day today.
The crème de la crème came at the end with lash curling and mascara.
This took ages, I have no idea why and when he showed me the mirror I burst
out laughing as I looked the spit of Aunt Sally. The whole thing took him twenty
minutes but he confidently said I should, with practice, be able to get my morning
make-up routine down to seven though evenings would obviously still require
half an hour. I was having such fun by this time that I bought 80% of the products
and he gave me his phone number. I still don’t understand.
As I was leaving I asked if it would be very cheeky to come back on Saturday
for him to repeat the activity for real. He replied in all sincerity, “what’s
cheeky?” adding, “ I heard a Brit once call his friend a cheeky
bastard but didn’t know what it meant.”
I walked home with my pre-pubescent legs and drag-queen lashes laughing to
myself. I did feel beautiful but, contrary to the aim of the exercise, it had
nothing to do with the external applications and all to do with its ridiculousness.