There is not much you can do to me to make me cry. Sure, you can invite me to a funeral, or Tuol Sleng or the first wedding ever held at David's Tower overlooking the ancient city of Jerusalem or any sort of movie that evokes the tragic limitations of the human condition (Hotel Rwanda, for instance, or Dutch). But on a person-to-person level, I never get too worked up about everyday demeanments, petty humilations, simple assaults... Okay, but then there is the matter of makeovers. I just had one, compliments of the Israeli Wedding Industrial Complex, that was so profoundly traumatizing I had almost fully repressed its memory until I read a story in this morning's New York Times about the legalized torture that is getting makeup slapped on one's face by a professional:
"Feel your skin!" commanded the beauty adviser, taking my hand and running it along my face. "It's so uneven. You have dry patches and your pores are clogged!"Seriously folks, now I know why genocide victims avoid Holocaust movies.
Here's what happened, as best as I can recall. I sat down; she said something like, "What do you like?" Having applied makeup to my face every day for approximately fifteen years I had some preferences and opinions about which I filled her in, at which point she pinched the delicate skin underneath my eyes with her tiny hands and commenced poking the insides of my eyelids with a sharp navy blue eye pencil. "Look up. Look up!" she said. "Why do you keep pointing your face up?" "Your skin is so dry," she said. "You don't drink water." Also: "Stop pointing your face up!" Also: "You have very large pores." Also: "No, I will apply your mascara, please let me do my job."Also: "It is going to look like you have a lot of foundation on your skin, but I needed to use a lot because of your pores."
After thirty minutes of this, I will admit, I was beginning to crack. As someone who has survived a lifetime with a distinctly infuriating combination of mouth whose largeness is eclipsed only by eyes whose size is eclipsed only by schnozz, I felt an abiding, soul-stirring sort of pessimism as I felt myself covered with navy eye smudge whose massive quantity was rivalled only by year-old mascara whose thirty nine layers were equalled only — actually the mascara was almost dwarfed — by pink glitter.
I took a look in the mirror: it was all too much. Like, way too much. I began to sob uncontrollably. I ran. Fled, really.
No, yeah, I know. It was some Abu Ghraib shit for real.
No, I Wasn't Mugged. Why Do You Ask? [NY Times]