Tuesday, November 29, 2011

an allegory of mascara



Here's the thing about the Mary Kay people: When it comes to their makeup, they have boundary issues. It's a truth supported in no small part by the fact that they drive non-ironic pink cars. When my mom was a PR executive at the corporate office in Dallas, she'd tell outrageous-sounding tales of the mass hysteria that would follow the announcement of a product's discontinuation.

According to my mom, droves of menopausal women would call and write to her, promising to boycott the company, stage protests, and set things on fire. She swears to have received more than one thinly-veiled suicide threat. I always pictured Kathy Bates' character in Fried Green Tomatoes as the scorned customer in these scenarios. Then it happened to me.

Is there an aesthetic situation more tragic than clumpy eyelashes? Clump happens because most mascaras applicators have as much sturdiness as a ball of peach fuzz. Maybelline's Lash Stylist comb, though, was like a jagged razor blade laced with barbed wire. That's why it was so wonderful.

Lash Stylist was my six-dollar holy grail mascara for five years. Its power was firmly rooted in one four-letter word: Comb. The comb gave birth to eyelash offspring. No Eyelash Left Behind.

When I learned it was being discontinued, I began to buy two and three tubes at a time. Spring turned into summer and one day she was gone, her usual spot occupied by something called "Lash Stiletto".

One more time in slow motion please: Lash Stiletto.

In my mind, this abomination was the brainchild of a Maybelline ad exec who, while facing a midlife crisis, decided they'd inject new life into the brand by attempting to target an overlooked demographic: Prostitutes.

They need mascara too.

Although they vetoed Oh Brothel Where Art Thou? and Lashes With Low Self Esteem, the Maybelline people decided that loose morals were in again. This decision took away my favorite mascara, but taught me a profound lesson about myself: I am the Mary Kay people.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

new little project

I've received a battalion of e-mails over the years from people who thought they were talking to someone else. I saved them all. The result is e-mails from strangers. This is your invitation to join in on the voyeurism.