Saturday, April 5, 2008

So's your face

Generally speaking I'm not the beauty industry's biggest fan. I think there's something a bit messed up about any industry that thrives from making people feel bad about themselves and pretty much has to make people feel unattractive in order to thrive. In my book Naomi Wolf's brilliant The Beauty Myth is pretty much on the money. I don't want my face to be one uniform colour and I don't think every 'flaw' has to be covered up or concealed.

But at the same time I'm not walking around in a hemp sack rubbing my face with a papaya or anything. I don't think cosmetics and things that smell nice and come in jars are the worst thing in the world and I don't necessarily think the industry that surrounds them is responsible for everything from eating disorders to body dysmorphic disorder. So I have a fair collection of wee bottles of gloop in my bathroom cabinet. '

Even so because I'm a tree hugging hippy I generally buy my gloop at somewhere like The Body Shop - it smells pretty, it doesn't come with a hideous marketing campaign involving supermodels suggesting with a wink I could look like them if I tried hard enough and it doesn't involve squeezing shit into fluffy bunnies' eyes. Plus, I like to think, it has more of a positive vibe than the clinical white floors of, say, the David Jones cosmetics counters where hungry-looking wenches with severe hairstyles try to spray stuff in my face.

But today I had an experience that made me both angry and paranoid and I have some stupid bitch at The Body Shop to thank for it.

The scene starts when I pop into pick up some moisturiser, having run out of my last bottle. I know what I want so I avoid making eye contact with the shop assistants, grab the bottle and head to the counter. Then Blondey McFuckface comes up to serve me, all too-much-make-up and suspiciously perky tits. Naturally she immediately puts me offside both by being an insecure, patronising cunt to the middle-aged woman standing next to me ("Oh honey you do NOT have to wear make-up - you're so BEAUTIFUL") and by bullying me into trying out some shiteful crap labelled 'tester'.
Even so I was doing okay until, somewhere along the line, this happens...

HER: Tell me, what kind of eye cream do you use?

ME: Uh, I'm not sure. Some random brand.

(This was a lie. Since an incident several years ago when my face blew up like the flipping Hindenburg my undereye skin has become super sensitive and I don't put anything on it. In this case, however, I didn't want to have to tell her the story and I didn't want her to try and pimp me some under eye stuff.)

HER: Well you know those little white dots under your eyes?

ME: Uh... yeah? (Thinking: white dots?)

HER: Well those dots mean that the stuff you're using your under your eyes is too rich.

ME: Hmm...

HER: So you should use something a bit lighter...

ME: Right...

Immediately I felt insecure and hoped nobody around me was trying to check out my under eye skin and/or reeling in horror. I bought what I had come for and got out of there but the whole experience brought me down in a big way and I spent the next hour or so trying to catch a glimpse of my under eye area in the reflection from shop windows.

Part of me thought the stupid bitch must be out of her tree because surely there's nothing 'too rich' about, you know nothing but the other part of me thought white dots? And then, of course, I started to think that perhaps I really ought to start looking for an under eye cream that doesn't react with my skin to avoid looking like some sort of white-dotted eye freak.
The issue is not whether or not I have white dots or something under my eyes it's why some stupid shop assistant thinks nothing of pointing out the facial failings of complete strangers under the guide of, I don't know, helping out I suppose. Maybe I want fucking white dots. Maybe I love the way they make my poo-brown eyes pop, or something. It's none of your business you white trash fuck. Would I tell an overweight stranger with a bun in her hand that it'll make her fat? Would I tell the blonde Body Shop tool that her makeup looks like it was applied by a cement mixer? No and... well probably no.

The net result: I felt paranoid, insecure and in need of a fancy cream brimming with the blood of the animals it's been tested on to make it all better. Score another one for the beauty industry, I guess.


Dave said...

I think the white dots are very becoming of you.

my name is kate said...

That's it - you're on the mothefucking list, man.