Saturday, January 04, 2003

Seen in the grocery store parking lot today: two women pushing a full cart. Tiny, wrinkled Mom, with curly white hair and gold-rimmed glasses, crept along in her too-big camel wool coat. She clung to the cart handle peering and smiling out at the world. She'd powdered her face and put on cranberry-red lipstick, very carefully.

Her daughter matched her pace, awkwardly, with Mom's halting steps. Her henna'ed hair was a helmet of curls. She wore a Land's End jacket with suede trim, pressed blue jeans. Her nails were polished and perfect in their coats of blood-red. Her lips, the same color and stark against her white-powdered face, were curved in an identical smile. She could have been 70, or 60, or even a prematurely-aged 50. With all the make-up it was hard to tell. They looked like they enjoyed one another's company.

I wondered about the heavy make-up. Did Daughter learn the art at Mom's knee? Does she get up every morning and apply it just the way Mom taught her? Or does she only apply pale powder to her cheeks, and vivid gleaming red to her lips, when she's going to be with Mom. Is this how she avoids a reprimand: "You're going out in public like that? Without any make-up??"

But then I wonder about anybody who wears pancake make-up (except TV newspeople; *them* I know about). That's just me. I wear hardly any--indeed mostly, none. I think I've always been a little weird about that. It's a mental block: I don't understand why (for example) a man would find the same woman more attractive with a bunch of pigments and paste on her face. It's the same woman! Maybe someone should give him a present of a make-up kit, then he could stay home and adore that.

Like I said, I'm a little weird on this subject.

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