Monday, July 28, 2008

The Eyes Have It

By Margy McCarthy

One afternoon when I was in the seventh grade, I took some of my paper route money and selected a pot of Cover Girl lavender crème eyeshadow from the mythic wall of womanhood- the cosmetics section of our local Pamida discount store. It took forever to make my choice, and I felt very grown up counting out my change for the cashier. I was buying makeup.

After breakfast the next morning, I stole into the bathroom and gave my lids a thick, shimmery coat of purple goo. When I kissed my mom goodbye, she stopped me and asked, “What happened to your eyelids?” I stated the obvious: Mo-o-ommm... It's eyeshadow. “Does your dad know?” she asked. I said yes. Not technically the truth yet, but he would in a matter of minutes. Sure enough, on the way to school Dad turned to me and asked, “Does your mother know you’re wearing makeup?”

Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Yes. She did.

Shriek appeared in the kitchen the other morning, dressed and ready for an out of town shopping trip with Silly and her mom. Although I greeted her when she passed my chair, I was terribly involved with a sudoku, and it wasn’t until Sparky announced, “I am never buying you contact lenses, and that’s final.” that I really looked at my daughter.

Her complexion was flawless, her long blonde hair swung glossy and smooth, her mouth was a pale shiny pink, and her eyes- even behind the glasses- were like a Disney princess. Huge. Blue. Mascaraed.

I said, “Take off your glasses and look at me, Honey.” She did, and I laughed. When did she learn to do this? Subtle. Appropriate. No purple garage doors in sight. “You look beautiful.” I said, “Now look at your dad.”

A shudder ran through him. “No contacts,” he repeated. “Not now, not ever.”

“Why not, Daddy?” she asked, in an all-new reasonable tone to match her Barbie doll face, “What terrible thing do you think will happen when I get contacts?”

He shuddered again. “Boys.”

Because I later realized how ridiculous I must have looked with my lavender garage doors, I have made it a point to keep Shriek supplied with lip glosses and appropriate (cast-off) color cosmetics for a couple of years now, just for fun. Occasionally, she and her girlfriends have played with them during a slumber party, but until the other day no serious interest has been shown in makeup for daily use. She was a jump-out-of-bed at the last minute kind of girl. Get dressed, grab some toast, brush your hair, brush your teeth, and go. Fifteen minutes from pillow to passenger seat. And that was fine with us.

But now…

Now she needs her hair cut like Elliott on Scrubs. She swears she will get up early enough to style it before school. Now she needs tighter-fitting polo shirts for her school uniform- none of those we chose last year are the “right kind.” Now she needs her own mascara and mineral powder, because after the unveiling of the glamorous new Shriek, I discovered my makeup box in total disarray- and I love her like crazy, but I’ve seen those magnified pictures of the eyelash bugs- I am not sharing my makeup.

And now she will get her contacts.

God help us all.


Laura said...

Oh, what a lovely time for little Shriek, Margy! She'll adore her contact lenses. It sounds like you have a wonderful attitude that will be very helpful to her as she deals with the boy stuff.

My first garage doors were bright, sparkly Cover Girl blue. I was on my way out the door to a dance at the local middle school. My father observed (in a very loud voice) that I looked like a Japanese hooker. (He'd served in Japan years before.) So good for my self-esteem....

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, my. I was partial to the color-coordinated Maybelline packets that included 3 tones of the same color eye shadow, and eyeliner and mascara. Because, really, when you're 14 is about the only time you can get away with purple eyeshadow, liner and mascara. Unless it's the green.

You have to match your clothes, right?

Have fun!

MargyWrites said...

Thanks, Laura and Judy. It is a fun time- I like that she waited until now when it isn't a battle. I also like that she mysteriously knows how to apply this stuff without looking like a creature of the night. Maybe all those mornings elbowing each other at the bathroom counter have paid off.

Isn't it funny that we remember our first eyeshadows? And Judy? I still wear green. (Are people snickering at me? I swear- it's very subtle, and it matches my EYES.)