Monday, February 16, 2009
CONFESSIONS OF AN EVIL PAINTED CITY WOMAN
I have a rather intense relationship with make up.
To me, cosmetics are an obsession…and the only reason that obsession can’t be
classified as a fetish is that it is a socially acceptable obsession.
Like Peter Lorre in the classic cinema noire movie “M”, I should have to carry that letter as a mark to warn others of my degenerate predilection. In the film, Peter Lorre was a child molester and murderer, and the letter M was surreptitiously scratched on the back of his shoulder in chalk by a concerned citizen who wanted to warn others about the danger he presented. In the movie, he wasn’t aware that he was a marked man being stalked by an angry mob.
My letter would also be an M (for make-up, of course) and it’d undoubtedly be scrawled in crimson lipstick across my fore head, although it probably wouldn’t look too out of place among all the other paint I usually wear. Any clerk at a make-up counter definitely wouldn’t need to see an M on me to discern my true nature. They could easily read it in my hungry eyes.
I’m so bad can’t even look at cosmetic ads in magazines without feeling an illicit pleasure- I get all warm and tingly – and get a simply perverse rush at the possibilities and uses of the product being touted. The ad copy for most cosmetics reads like porn: breathlessly descriptive paragraphs about adorable little pots and tubes of color using wanton words like “silky”, “transparent” and “playful”.
Those MAC ads with Beyonce looking like a bronzed deity, a tawny Mary J. Blige dripping honey lip gloss, or Christina Aguilera’s eyes paved with lime green glitter make me weak with lust- not for the women themselves, but for their make-up! A publicist pal once pulled some strings and got me some gratis MAC make-up for a DVD shoot I was doing. It was like hitting a jackpot in Vegas, I was literally beside myself in disbelief. Hell, I almost proposed marriage on the spot!
To me, MAC make-up is worse than heroin or crack cocaine. Remember back a scant few years ago, when the terrorist plot at Heathrow Airport was foiled, and there were news clips of airport personnel at security checkpoints not just confiscating carry-on bags and plastic water bottles, but also relieving female travelers of their cosmetics bags, all in the name of safety? I was watching that on television, with a number of other people, as it happened.
“Oh my god, that’s HORRIBLE!” I shrieked, my hand flying up to my mouth in shock and dismay, like a heroine in an old-school love comic.
”It’s just awful!” everyone else agreed, “Thankfully, they caught it in time!”
I was way too ashamed to tell them that the shock I was feeling I wasn’t in reference to the terrorist plot, but the fact that the security people were commandeering bags full of make-up! It was simply barbaric! Take away a woman’s make-up, are you fucking kidding me???
Had I been there, I would’ve rebelled without a second thought, and definitely landed my ass in a dank English jail cell. I never, EVER would’ve willingly surrendered my MAC…those efficient security agents would have needed to pry my precious cosmetics case out of my cold, dead hands! And speaking of airports and MAC, I’ve heard no less than nine flight attendants-on as many airlines-proudly refer to themselves as “MAC Ho’s.” Once on a Jet Blue flight from LA to New York, I had every stewardess in the cabin clustered around my seat sighing in wonder and admiration over my brand new MAC products, including an otherworldly, Disco-overdrive, silver-prism cosmetic glitter. They were blithely ignoring their own beverage service- not to mention other passenger’s repeated requests for extra pillows- so they could take a guided tour through the stash of stage make-up I had in my carry-on bag. Nobody wears more make-up than flight attendants, unless you count beauty queens, professional dancers or female impersonators -or me. I travel all the time, I think I can safely state that MAC make-up is the first choice of most flight attendants on major airlines. As a matter of fact, on my frequent trips to Egypt, I have noticed an un-written law in Egypt Air's Flight Attendant Dress Code. It seems that no less than five shades of eye-make-up must be worn, at any given time. If an employee can't or won't comply, they are grounded!
My fascination with make-up is so all encompassing that when a Sephora opened up at a mall within a mile of my house, I “flagged” myself, cutting myself off the way a bartender would a drunk. If it were possible to self-issue a restraining order preventing me from venturing within five hundred feet of the store, I would’ve taken that precaution, too.
The way some folks view their favorite movies over and over, I used to watch the late night info-mercials for “The Alexis Vogel System”, a line of products and instructional DVD’s by make-up artist Alexis Vogel, who specializes in the frosty, uber-highlighted, diffused’n’ air-brushed-looking faces of movie stars and Play Boy Bunnies alike. Alexis Vogel is the LA make-up artist who made Pamela Anderson look as a slick Super She-Ro. To me, Alexis Vogel, as an artist, is on par with DaVinci. I wouldn’t even allow myself out of the house- even to go to the grocery store- until I slicked on my lip-gloss and blended pearly shadow just below my brows, until I was fully Vogelized!
Once I stole a copy of “People” magazine because it had a feature on “Dancing With the Stars”... Sure, I’m a fan of the show, but the reason I swiped the magazine was because in a backstage photo of dancer Karina Smirnoff, I recognized the work of my favorite make-up artist, Linda Sammut, who has done my face in movies, still photos and DVD’s for years. Linda wasn’t even in the photo- only her hand was- but I identified her by the signature beaded bracelet she always wears; I am used to seeing that bracelet out of the corner of my eye as she works her magic on my, making me gorgeous.
When I get anywhere near a cosmetics counter, I feel the way I’m sure a sex addict must standing in the doorway of a brothel. Free sample? If they were passing out a sample of everything in the whole line, it still wouldn’t be enough! It’s like what they say in rehab programs, about controlled substances: one is too many, a thousand not enough!
If you think I am alone, you are crazy. This obsession is shared by millions of women.
We hurry past beauty supply stores trying to be “good”. When we’re at malls, the stronger of our ranks steer clear of stores like Mac, whose sales people are made up like perfect dolls, presiding over rainbows of shadows and bouquets of brushes. I try to ignore Sephora, with it’s endless rows of lipstick lined up like soldiers at attention; it’s walls of perfumes, counters chock full of pencils and pots of sparkly powders and glosses… but sometimes I can’t-none of us can! Our darker side takes over. It’s the Reptilian Brain in action. Throwing caution to the wind, we enter, blindly fumbling through our wallets for our credit cards…like a subject in a hypnotist’s act, or a pre-programmed Manchurian Candidate.
Like a junkie.
So what if we already own twelve shades of baby pink lipstick or seventy plus colors of shadow for only two eyes? It’s that dizzying feeling of being about to get sucked into a black hole of pleasure… a black hole of glitter and riotous colors, dual-finish powders and false eyelashes as thick as a mink’s tale…of metallic eyeliner in a plethora of chrome-infused colors, palettes of shimmering hues and cunning, cathedral-shaped nail polishes lined up like a tiny rainbow chorus line… darling little retro bottles, pots of candy-like gloss, divine smelling potions and… please excuse me, dear reader: I have to get online and see what’s new at MAC Pro. Actually, I can’t believe that site is free! They could charge for that shit! I would gladly pay to gain access…sigh….