Ever get a sliver in your eye? At 6 a.m.? This, I know, sounds vaguely impossible. I can assure you, though, I’m headed there.
Here’s how. I use an eyeliner pencil that every few weeks needs sharpening with one of those hand-held pencil sharpeners.
I swear, whenever I do the sharpening deed, the wooden part of the pencil eyeliner becomes a collection of shards and splinters that stick out farther than does the bit of color. Does that stop me from using it? Hey, I have my pride. I must go out the door with my doll-like features enhanced! So I apply the eyeliner delicately, and pray that my eyelids won’t turn blood red instead of “sapphire blue” or “natural cocoa.”
I hear your groans. And your thoughts, which I’m guessing go something like this: “Why doesn’t this dame go out and buy a new eyeliner?” Of course, I say that to myself, too.
“Why doesn’t this dame go out and buy a new eyeliner?” (See?)
Well, I’m going to. It’s definitely on my list. Do you have one of those open-ended lists? The one that grows more than it ever diminishes? It can be on the back of a used envelope (new envelopes are on my list), or on your cellphone’s Notes app (that I forget about until three months later when I open the app, and stare at the lists, uncomprehendingly. Are these book recommendations, composting rules or my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions?) or on the inside of your arm (a trick I learned from observing my college students’ unobtrusive tattoo placements, probably thinking they can go to that job interview wearing long-sleeved shirts, or they decidedly do not want that particular 9-to-5 job after all, or they know by the time they go into job-hunting mode, most of their potential bosses will also be wearing sleeves that are not made of cotton, but of ink).
A friend of mine tells me about her own makeup fiasco several years back when she was a working mom. She was a professional who needed to appear calm, competent and compassionate. Part of that comes with looking good, as we all know. Which, for women of a certain generation, requires makeup. At the time my friend was a green-eyeshadow gal, and also used a subtle blush.
One day, probably at that oh-so-dangerous 6 a.m. hour as her small children pulled on her skirt, she quickly applied her makeup in the semi-dark. Later, she arrived at work. Luckily, she glanced in the mirror before her first client arrived. Reflected back at her were pink eyelids, and cheeks a glorious green. Saved by the mirror, none of her clients had to run from the room in terror.
Moving away from physical appearances, but sticking with the theme of embarrassing moments (who doesn’t love another’s such moments?), the other day I recalled how my lack of spelling skills nearly did me in at work. I didn’t lose my job, but rather, I became the focus of hilarious laughter.
I was in a news meeting three decades ago. It was late January, and the guys were getting fired up about the big American football event that happens every February. Not to be outdone by my mostly male colleagues, I slipped a note to another reporter. It read: “Where are you watching the Super Bowel?” He nearly fell off his chair, as did others as word spread of my phenomenally spelled note. I blushed through my blush.
Since then, I am careful about the notes I pass, I advise my students not to rely on spellcheck alone and I try to enjoy a good laugh at myself. These days, that’s an essential in anyone’s makeup kit.