Monday, October 26, 2009


"When I was in grad school," I said, carefully attempting to keep one eye open so I could watch myself clumsily apply eyeshadow just at the lash line. Frowning darkly at the effort, I closed both eyes, swiped some on and warily blinked to view the results. Shrugging, I continued my story. "I had my hair done and asked for the complimentary make-up freshening."

Tiny Friend nodded, gracefully accenting her wide eyes as the Mary Kay consultant looked on proudly. I glared down at the color before sighing once more. "She went a little crazy - lots of foundation, heavy eyes, dark mouth. Thanks," I interrupted myself to take the tiny vial of lip color that was put on my palette. "I went back to the lab, walked in the door - hair wildly curly, makeup extremely done - and watched Nicer, Taller and Smarter turn around. Their mouths fell open," I remembered, watching my lips curve in the tiny mirror that allowed me to view the color I absently applied. "And Taller finally said, 'Whoa,'" I recalled, smile widening. "'What happened to you?!'"

TinyFriend and MaryKayLady giggled at me and I shook my head. "I am not," I offered simply, "the sexy type. I'm very lip gloss and neutral eye shadow. Cotton panties and black flats with little bows on them." Feeling a twinge of regret that my arches cramp when I wear my red pumps and that eyeliner looks far more silly than sexy, I waved away the feeling and decided I'm a bit too old to play dress-up and wish for what isn't.

I recalled the evening spent in my dining room as I winced at my reflection in the master bathroom this morning. I looked pale, dark circles under my eyes contrasting sharply with my overall pallor. Swirling, tapping and buffing for all I was worth, I sneezed at the powder that hung in the air from my furious application and cocked my head. Adjusting my glasses so they perched straight on my nose, I tugged at the hem of my black top and shrugged before moving slowly downstairs.

Apple juice and saltines tucked safely beside my laptop, I carefully drove to work and parked neatly in a spot before wandering toward the building. Feeling too queasy to want lip gloss, my naked lips and I went to the first of 9 hour-long meetings and tried to sleepily pay attention. I escaped briefly to head to the restroom, smiling weakly at the woman washing her hands.

"You work on that team," she told me, turning to smile brightly.

"OK," I agreed absently, shaking myself when she looked a bit bewildered. "I'm sorry - yes, I do work on that team."

"You won an award," she said, smiling again and I laughed as I went into the stall and unzipped my gray pants.

"Yes," I agreed, wondering what the appropriate response to that is. Someone who wears eyeliner well probably knows a gracious and elegant reply, I decided.

"Could we have a meeting?" she asked as I finished and emerged from my stall. "Would you mind?"

"Not at all," I said politely, wondering if she was Southern and wondered what we'd discuss.

"I'll book time on your calendar," she decided happily and I grinned at her enthusiasm before nodding. People are funny, I decided, counting slowly to 15 as I washed my hands and reaching for a paper towel.

After I tossed the damp towel in the trash but before I managed to open the door, my simple black flat hit an unexpected puddle of water. I hit the tile with a thud, whimpering a bit with pain before scampering to my feet before anyone saw me, wishing once more for a bit more grace and beauty.

I have showered and washed my face, carefully applying moisturizer because it's getting dryer up here. I managed a full day at work, though I'm utterly exhausted and don't know how I'll manage a 10 hour day tomorrow. And my bottom hurts. Because I can't walk around without falling down.


JaneB said...

Awww, poor Katie! Why do slips and trips so often happen when you are already using all your resources just to be there and try to act normal? It doesn't seem fair. Hope you slept well and are finding a little more energy

Anonymous said...

As they say: beauty is on the inside, Katie, and you're beautiful! BTW, I don't like make-up, either. When you think about it, the concept of make up is kinda weird - just a bunch of chemicals we smear on our faces to make ourselves look different. : )

With you on the flats, too - they are the answer to a girl's prayers when she can't take wearing heels for too long but still wants to look ladylike and elegant.

Hope you feel better-er. ; )


Anonymous said...

You know, I just looked up the phrase, "beauty is on the inside," to see if I could figure out where it originated, and lo and behold: some people (online) appear to have a rather cynical interpretation of that phrase. So, I just thought that I should say that that cynical interpretation was *not* what was meant, here. The phrase was meant to be taken at face value.

Totally clueless at times,

post-doc said...

Thanks, Jane.

Dear Soon-to-be, I took it as a lovely compliment. But you're terribly sweet to clarify. Non-germy hugs to you. :)

Psych Post Doc said...

Flats rock. After a nasty fall 2 years ago, heels are out for me.

Sorry about your fall, that stuff happens to me all the time.

Hope you're strength and energy returns quickly

Amelie said...

Ouch. I cannot wear heels for long, either, and look silly with eyeliner.
You do have grace -- in your writing, for example.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so understanding. Sending non-germy hugs to you, too, and I hope you're feeling better today.


WomanScientist said...

Glad you're feeling a bit better! I'm also glad to hear I'm not the only one that randomly falls down. I've spent the last two days trying to do lab work with my non-dominant hand because I tripped and hurt my shoulder. :( Hope you continue to perk up!

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