Today is Day One of No Starbucks. It sucks, but it is worth the sacrifice. I added it all up and I was spending five dollars a day for a latte and a banana nut bread. So now it’s oatmeal and Trader Joe’s Columbia Supremo Whole Bean Coffee from a French press for me. Even with a little milk, it’s not the same thing as a latte. How long can I make this last? I need your help, people. Do you know of any recipes that can make morning coffee actually taste good?
Anybody I have ever known knows that I have issues with the whole idea of what “femininity” means in our society. You can’t just be feminine. No, true femininity means buying and wearing key items like high heels shoes, purses and cosmetics. Otherwise useless things. Big events don’t count, but every day? That’s crazy. I’ve felt this way since junior high, when my mom started telling me for reasons still obscure that I need to start carrying a p-p-purse. Bleck.
“A purse? What do I need that for?” I complained.
“To carry your things in.”
My God, what things. But I soon learned that my mom meant maxi pads.
Then later on, I learned that that’s where you store your make up. You carry it around with you, all these plastic tubes and things, filled with completely unnatural colors. One day my freshman year in high school, this girl in the locker room was in a panic because she lost her purse. She screamed, “Oh no! My face is in that bag!”
None of this has ever made sense to me, but I so digress. Anyway, one day, many, many years later, my friend Hortense* called out of the blue. We were co-captains of our college swim team and great pals but I’d given up on ever hearing from her again after she moved up to Redding to be a full time mom.
We talked for about an hour, and somehow she was talking like if I just sold Mary Kay cosmetics, I’d actually be a happier, more fulfilled person. Why, I could be an Independent Beauty Consultant. It does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
What I learned from the very nice sales lady with big hair was that the principles behind Mary Kay Cosmetics were developed by a tanner. Tanning is a process for dead cow skin. It’s what makes your leather coat so nice and soft. Just look at Mary Kay Ash‘s skin.
“Would you believe that she is 102 years old?” asked our big haired saleslady. There was a moment of oohs and aws. If we started taking care of our skin now, at age 15, by the time we’re 80, we’ll still be carded at the movie theaters! How do you argue against this logic?
We learned that Mary Kay, that enterprising genius that she was, thought, “Why not apply these same processes to women’s live skin? And if I can get five friends to sell these products, and if they can get five friends, and if they can get five friends, I’ll be rich, bwa ha ha ha ha.”
I’m paraphrasing. In fact, I do not believe that’s how it was explained at all, but that’s what I took with me. We spent a good hour if not more applying and re-applyng goop to our faces. I felt silly. We could all be outside riding our bikes.
I remember how my mom looked at me when I walked in the front door. There was an uncomfortable silence. I looked good. I felt pretty. And it made me sad because I knew it was temporary. You wash it off, and you’re back to your normal self again.
“But Hortense, you know that I don’t wear make up,” I said.
Oh, don’t be silly, she said. We have tons of products besides make up to promote healthy skin. And for almost a day, it made sense. I pictured myself walking door to door in my t-shirt and cut off shorts, peddling Mary Kay products. Would I even have credability?
A day or two later, the Mary Kay brochures arrived in the mail. Look at all these happy women, I thought to myself. Their skin is so perfect. They drive pink cars. They carry purses. Could I be that happy, too? All I’d need to do is buy $2oo of product a year.
My boyfriend at the time, who from this moment onward shall be referred to as Gumbo Lambruzco by his own choosing, didn’t say too much. I could tell by his silence that he detected strangeness in the air. A few days later, I started to wonder if maybe Hortense hadn’t been abducted and brainwashed by aliens.
Finally, I put the brochures in the recycling bin and went back to my normal, humdrum life. I never heard from Hortense again.
Turns out, I think that Hortense was brainwashed by Mary Kay Cosmetics. Now I know I’m not making this up because there’s a whole website now out to prove that Mary Kay is either a pyramid scheme or a cult. It’s called the Pink Truth.
*Do you really think her name is Hortense?!
**I don’t even know anyone named Clarice. That’s not her real name.