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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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How To Fail at Being Pampered

Robyn Welling @RobynHTV fail at being pampered

I know I tell you every thirty seconds about how ungirly I am, but for the love of all that's glittery, I got a manicure - my first one ever!

Robyn Welling @RobynHTV manicure

During the procedure I was required to wear an eye mask, which I now can only hope was standard spa procedure and not an opportunity for the spa employees to rifle through my purse.

Many things went through my mind as I sat in my personal darkness. Among the random thoughts, I found my brain wondering, "How do people who wear makeup deal with this eye mask requirement? Doesn't it smudge their... eyeliner, or whatever?"

Of course, as usual, I was wearing no makeup whatsoever because I don't know how to apply it and I'm too lazy to learn. Which reminded me of a story.

Dissolve to flashback...

It was the late 1980's, and my friends and I were hitting the mall - hard. The first stop was always Orange Julius, because of DELICIOUS, followed closely by a visit to the Merle Norman counter.

Merle Norman, in case you've never heard of it or they don't make it anymore, is/was a fancy line of makeup that was just fancy enough to have its own mall storefront, which is to say, probably not all that fancy. However, they did offer free makeovers, and the lady behind the counter was always bored enough to humor us even though she knew there was zero chance her facial artistry would lead to a sale.

Detailing the finer attributes of the various eye shadows, presumably practicing for customers who actually had money, she described her technique as she swiped the brush across my lid, dipped it in a new color, swipe, dip, and so on for approximately forever. Then...

"Okay, honey. Your turn!"

Huh?

She wanted me to do the other lid, which was a terrible idea because my eyes surely wouldn't match each other (the horror!) due to my inexperience. And also because I'd been paying more attention to my Orange Julius than to her tutorial.

However, afraid to disappoint any authority figure (including the cosmetologist behind the Merle Norman counter, apparently) I tried my best to slather my eyelid in makeup. Meanwhile, she set about painting my friend in shades of shimmering blue.

When she came back to check on me, the look on the woman's face was difficult to read. It was something like part shock, part pity, and part amusement - and whatever it meant, I knew it wasn't good.

Soon, the mystery was revealed.

"Oh, honey," she said. "Why didn't you just ask me for a mirror?"

Yes, that's right - I had so little practice with makeup that it didn't even occur to me to request a mirror to apply my own eye shadow.

So, how bad did it look?

Well, it was difficult to tell, because I'd made my lame attempt at makeup application on the same eyelid she'd already put eye shadow on.

You heard me.

So to recap, my right lid was as shadow-free as the day I was born, while my left lid had one layer of professionally-applied powdery blends of color, topped with the cosmetic stylings of a 13-year-old with no mirror and no clue.

Stunning.

Sadly, at the age of 37, I'd probably still make the same mistake. Pampering just isn't my thing, and I continue to screw it up to this day - as evidenced by my trip to the spa a few weeks ago. Please come on over to In The Powder Room, where you can laugh along with/at me as I give a more recent example of why I'll never be one of the Spa People. Today is your lucky day - save that click for some other time, because In The Powder Room is allowing me to republish the article right here!
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My husband gave me a spa gift card because he's awesome, and I ignored it for a long time because instead of being awesome I'm afraid of spas.

Too much public robe wearing, if you ask me.

But after months of avoidance, I swapped the massage package (nooooo thank you to strangers rubbing my oiled-up nekkid body) and opted for a pedicure; I was pregnant and couldn't reach my own feet, so I figured I'd use that as my excuse for why my toenails looked so scraggly.

It was a poor choice. I didn't realize preggo pedicures came with a complimentary aromatic hot stone cankle rubdown. I left there so swollen I barely fit back into my flip flops.

Two years later, the gift card resurfaced from the depths of my purse. It still had half its value left, and if there's any part of my personality that's stronger than my fear of spas, it's my hatred of wasting money. Thus, I promptly (after six more months of procrastination) overcame my trepidation and made an appointment.

The waiting room was just as I remembered it: equal parts Arabian Nights and Yankee Candle store. I managed not to pee my pants while listening to the rainforest-waterfall-infused pan flute music before I was greeted by my manicurist, whose sweetly earnest desire to "assist me on my journey today" made me feel like a horrible human being for laughing when she insisted I wear a blindfold throughout the treatment.

"There is no way I'll get through this," I thought. "Is she staring at me? Why can't I stop smirking? Why must my eyes start itching now that I have a mask on my face and hot towels wrapped around my hands?!?"

But then came a warm, heavy neck wrap thing that was either bona fide spa equipment or a sack of cooked spaghetti, but soon I didn't care which because it forced my shoulders to relax. My breathing slowed. I listened to the music (now parakeets playing harps in a thunderstorm), and allowed myself to enjoy the experience.

It was amazing. I felt pampered. I actually yelped, "I look like a girl!" when she lifted the mask and I saw my fancy hands. I started to believe I could become one of the Spa People!

As I was leaving, I tried to use the remaining $10 on my gift card on some luxurious goodies thanks to my new appreciation for self-indulgence. The salon owner showed me a jar of cantaloupe cucumber jasmine facial lotion that was approximately the size of my French manicured pinkie fingernail. Determined to embrace my transformation into someone who spends money on non-essential beauty products, I said, "It looks great - how much?"

"Only $65," she chirped.

Too bad I'm still afraid of getting one of those oily massages; I think I threw my back out from laughing so hard. I guess I'm not going to become a Spa Person, after all.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


14 comments:

  1. I remember Merle Norman stores! I've never been brave enough to go to one of the makeup counters in the mall and have my makeup done. I'm afraid of what I'll look like!

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  2. I don't blame you - I only did it because I was a preteen who wasn't allowed to leave the house in makeup. Gah, without makeup, how was I supposed to meet boys at the mall?!? What? Oh, I *wasn't* supposed to meet boys? Hmm.

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  3. You could have just played it off as though you meant to do the same eye since the pro had messed it up so badly. Then you could have walked around like that and just acted like everyone else was behind the times.

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  4. Yet another reason I wish you'd been around when I was 13. :)

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  5. I'm 36 and while I own make up (which I've used once in 2 years for a wedding) I just can't stand the stuff. When it's hot and you wanna splash water on your face or something, what goober wants to worry about gunk on their mug? Pish...pretty toenails is about as far as I go. But don't look at the rest of my foot, because it kind of looks like a Hobbits...

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  6. Wow, at least I know I'm not alone! I've only worn makeup twice. Once for a practice run for my wedding, and the second time was the day of my wedding both of which were done by a friend. I wouldn't even know where to start!

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  7. My mother took me to a Merle Norman when I was sixteen to learn how to put on makeup. They still exist. There's a store in a strip mall not too far from where I live.

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  8. My stepmommy (who is the best mom ever, btw) was so successful at selling Merle Norman products that she ran her own Merle Norman store for years. I love me some makeup and do a pretty darn good job applying it everyday. But I know I'll never look as stunningly, flawlessly beautiful as she does. And she makes it look effortless as well. She's pretty amazing. (And not just at makeup. See previous comment about best mom ever.)

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  9. Ha! I agree, I never could figure out how people rub their eyes or fall asleep face-down on the couch without messing up their makeup, but then again I never really wore any so maybe it's not as complicated as I think it is. I might just try pretty toenails this summer, though, especially if it's effective at distracting from Hobbit-y feet! :D

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  10. Knowing they're still around makes me happy for some reason. :)

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  11. That's what amazes me - that people put it on every day AND make it look good AND make it look easy! It's a special skill, for sure - just like great momming. :)

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  12. I LOVE makeup! It's the only thing I will always play with my girls. Beauty Shop? heck to the yes. and then I haul out my plastic bin that sits under the sink and Go To Town! 70's disco blue shimmer anyone? bring it. :)

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  13. I forgot about that - my oldest daughter and I used to play with all my old makeup, too! Of course, we had about the same skill level when she was 4, and we both just looked hilarious. Now that she's 8, I feel a little funny about letting her wear it - mostly because her pre-teen years are coming soon and NOOOOOOOO!

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