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My birthday was last month and I’ve wanted to get a makeover for months. I was worried I’d gotten stuck in a stay-at-home mom look which was aging badly. My Auntie J gave me a gift card to fund this project and I made an appointment at the local M.A.C. counter which happened to coincide with Auntie J’s summer visit.

We met at the counter and it got off to a rocky start as the makeup artist I was scheduled with had called in sick. But another one was there and she was available, so no harm, no foul.

I brought in a lovely photo of Julianne Moore to demonstrate that I wanted a polished, subtle look. No smeary/smoky eyes. No two-inch long false eyelashes. I have similar coloring to Ms. Moore (in the broadest sense possible, i.e., we’re both fair-skinned and light-eyed) and thought she was a good starting point.

And in the beginning, it worked.

But then Maria, the makeup artist, got creative.

She told me I had beautiful skin, and proceeded to spackle on at least four different types of concealers, foundations, and powders.

She moved on to my eyes, starting at my eyebrows, which happen to be blonde because (spoiler!) I happen to be blonde. They’re too light, she said, and drew on the eyebrows of Brooke Shields in her early modeling days.

Things just went from bad to worse.

Instead of subtle, flattering eye makeup, I got dark brown shadow and heavy eyeliner (both liquid pencil/magic marker? and powder). I objected and Maria tsked, but wiped a little off.

In the end, I had a face absolutely full of makeup. It was very glamorous, but completely unrealistic for my daily life. Heaven knows how much time it would take me to layer all that stuff on every day.  Assuming I could muster the will and energy to even try.

I used my gift card to buy a carefully edited selection of products and thanked Maria for her time. She badgered me to come back when I start dating (See? People are forever pushing me to date!) and let her do whatever she wants.

I can just imagine the Match.com headline: “Middle-aged single mom held together by the best magical forces of cosmetics available,  seeking a near-sighted man who would believe the illusion.”  The first outing would have to be to a dark bar or movie theater.

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