Sunday, June 26, 2011

450. That Time I Looked Exactly Like Jennifer Aniston

So we joined a pool. We were on the waiting list for three long years, and this year they finally decided to accept our money. I was overjoyed and immediately went out to buy waterproof make-up to celebrate.

I walked into Sephora and zipped up to the register girl for help.

“Excuse me? Can you tell me where to find waterproof make-up?”

For some reason, the girl thought this was really funny. Looking back, I am guessing it is because I wasn’t wearing any make-up at all, waterproof or otherwise.

Then, because I was feeling slightly facially naked at this point, I launched into this whole dissertation of why I needed the make-up.

I don’t think the girl was really questioning why I needed make-up, I think she was questioning why I had waited 40 years to decide that this would be the day I would buy any.

She handed me off to Regina, the Waterproof Make-Up Specialist, and I started wondering if this is what her business card said.

Regina walked me over to a make-up wall that was equivalent in complexity to the cockpit of a 747. There were jars and tubes and wands and bottles and brushes and sponges. I didn’t even know where to begin. I was suddenly very grateful to have Regina at my side.

“What exactly will you be using the make-up for?” asked Regina.

“Uh, to look pretty?”

“No, I mean swimming-pool swimming, lake-swimming, jet-skiing, boating, snorkeling, fishing, water-skiing, sailing, ocean-swimming, diving, racing, canoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting, synchronized swimming performances, yachting …”

Did I look like a synchronized swimmer? Or a yacht-owner?

“Uh, just basic splashing? With my kids?”


This apparently was not the answer Regina was looking for. She wanted to sell a lot of make-up to someone who would use it. She could already tell I was a lost cause.

“Regina, I just want to buy some waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Something kind of… neutral.”

Up until this point, rap music had been blaring over the store stereo. Make-up selling girls had been talking to clowns. Everyone had been laughing and chatting and having a great time, but when I uttered the word, “neutral,” the store went silent as the mall on December 25th.

“Did you say … neutral?” Regina’s face was aghast, as if I had told her that a new law had been passed banning lipstick.

Another salesgirl within earshot walked over for damage control.

“I’m Caroline, the manager,” she said to me, extending her hand for me to shake, and then to Regina she whispered, “I’ll take it from here.”

Regina scurried off, happy to be away from the crazy customer they had surely dubbed “Neutral Lady.”

“Ma’am, you don’t mean neutral neutral, do you? You meant earth-tones, right?”

I didn't know what the heck I meant.  “Uh, okay, earth-tones would be fine. I just want to swim a little bit and not look like a dead person.”

“Got it.” Caroline confidently went to the 747 cockpit and grabbed about eight products. “This,” she said, gingerly handing me the tiny tube as if it was made of glass, “this is a wonderful lipstick.”  She said the word wonderful like I might say the word Godiva

“How much is it?”

“It’s on sale. It’s only $33, regularly $38.”

Yikes. That was about $32 more than I normally spend on my stand-by Chapstick.

“Maybe no lipstick?” I said nervously, handing it right back. “What about some sort of product for my eyes? Eyeliner?”

“Then this,” she said, procuring another important tube, “this is my absolute favorite eyeliner we sell. This is the exact same one that Jennifer Aniston uses.”

“Does Jennifer Aniston swim? I would prefer to buy the same one Dara Torres uses?”


“She is one of the top women swimmers of all time?”

Long silence as both of us blinked up at the glittery 747 cockpit wall.

Finally, Caroline offered, “Well, Jennifer Aniston is our spokesmodel. See?” She pointed helpfully to an oversized poster of Brad Pitt’s ex-wife frolicking in ocean waves, presumably wearing Sephora products all over her wonderful face.

I had to admit, her eyeliner looked really flattering.

“How many eyeliners would you like to buy, then?” Caroline asked, closing the sale.

“It won’t smear?”


“I guess I only want one then. And I also need some mascara.”

“Also waterproof?”

This was just about the dumbest question I'd ever heard. Who would wear waterproof eyeliner but then buy regular mascara?

“I think I need both to be waterproof.”

Twenty minutes and $48 later, I walked out with the waterproof eyeliner and the waterproof mascara and the special waterproof make-up remover. My new make-up was absolutely guaranteed by Sephora, Regina, Caroline, and Jennifer Aniston to not smear, smudge, flake, run, or swim off my face under contact with water or even rain.

My wallet was in shock at spending so much money on make-up. I was usually a Target or drug-store kind of girl. But, I knew that wearing the high-quality make-up would make a difference. I might not be able to swim like Dara Torres, but I could at least look like I had eyeballs.

The next morning while the kids watched cartoons, I put on my new waterproof products.  I even added a festive little orange hair clip. 

As I examined myself in the mirror, I was instantly regretting that I had not invested in some sort of lipstick, too, as Caroline had initially suggested.  But, overall, I was pleased with my look.

I took the boys to the pool and helped them swim. Tall is fairly confident in the water, so he dogpaddles up and down the length of the pool while I mostly try to pry Short's four-year-old death grip off the wall so that I can hold him and help him move around the pool.  I must convince him over and over that I won’t let go of him. For this reason, I did not get to do what I, or Jennifer Anniston for that matter, would consider “actual” swimming. My hair did not even get wet.

We had a good time, and then the boys were getting hungry so we decided to walk home and make lunch. I had forgotten all about my new make-up until we got back to the house. Then I took a quick glimpse of myself in the front entry hall mirror to assess how well my new make-up worked.

This is what I was expecting to see:

This is what I actually saw:

I looked like I had been beaten up in some dark back alley by Jennifer Aniston’s body guard. I was not happy.

Luckily, I had the excellent make-up remover that Caroline had sold me, so I soon looked like my normal self again.

Luckily, too, I had saved my Sephora receipt. 

“Come on, kids, we’re going to the mall.”  The boys and I had an important errand to do, an errand involving a refund of $48 for false advertising.



  1. I've always been slightly intimidated by those department store make-up counters. I think I'll just stick with the grocery store brands. ;)

  2. I know what you mean. When I was in college, I was (believe it or not) hired by a Dept Store to be the "Clinique girl". I felt like such an impostor!! It was soooooooo hard for me to close a sale, I always felt pushy and fake. And I am not a huge make-up person (obviously) so it was a very short-lived job. Ha!


  3. Sounds like it was more water-resistent than water proof. Water proof actually takes a sand blaster to get it off. I am kinda the queen of makeup. Reminds me of the time the Director of Quality was RIF'd by our company, she was uber smart and degreed. Came to work with wet hair and never used any products. She asked me lunch one day and tried to sell me some products she was hawking for this new facial care line. I was nice but the entire time I kept thinking does this woman actually think I need her help. Trust me I checked the mirror when I got home, too.

  4. fmcgmccllc (do you have something against vowels? is this an Eastern European or Russian name?),

    I agree. Water resistant (but then, I swear I did not even put my face in the water!! maybe it is only resistant to the make-up remover?). Maybe they meant "sweat-proof"?

    That is hilarious about that lady trying to sell you products when she had wet hair and looked, uh, un-producted herself. I absolutely love working at the kitchen store because the customers come to me (as it should be) instead of me having to drum up business (which would be a challenge for me).

    Thanks for writing!


  5. You can call me Nola, not my real name but it has vowels.

    Maybe I should post on my blog how this nonsense started.

  6. I would love to read it, Nola/ fmcgmccllcqzgmvrpwlkxjh!!!



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