I had a surreal experience at the Laura Mercier makeup counter in Bloomingdale's last night . I was getting my face done for a party, and I felt slightly uncomfortable in that kind of environment, with its overwhelming emphasis on the pretty. I had to marvel at the sly remarks that go along with an experience like that, which are subtly designed to make you feel simultaneously pretty and inadequate. I got a lot of this last night: "Do you use an eye cream? You should." And "Your skin is sooo dry!" (well of course it looks dry, that's the layers and layers of powder you just put on, you makeup hag). I also love how they glop so much powder, shadow, lipstick and whatnot on your face that it starts to look like Homer Simpson's make-up gun, set to "whore." (Speaking of things that remind me of the Simpsons, there's a funny blog called "Improvident Lackwit," http://improvidentlackwit.com, which just features posts about things that remind the author of various Simpsons episodes. It's quite genius actually, I just wish it was updated more often.)
But the coup de grace came when the walking layer of foundation who was doing my eyes said, "Do you use mascara? NO?!" and then promptly examined my left hand, asking warily, "You married? No .... mmm-hm." As if my failure to use mascar on a regular basis was somehow responsible for my lack of husband (because it's been sciencetifically proven that there's a positive correlation between the use of high-end cosmetics and a happy marriage). Incredibly, sexism is alive and well in the beauty industry. How utterly unsurprising.
And yet, I bought the mascara.