This (middle) sister is doin’ it for herself. I’ve referenced in previous posts the Pu proclivity for parsimony. Growing up, I was mostly oblivious to my parents’ skinflint tendencies. But there were isolated moments where I was embarrassed by my parents’ insistence that we shop at Goodwill, or that we not have cable.
As I alluded to earlier, these privations were not entirely cost-driven; my parents also delighted in the character building element. They shelled out for thousands of dollars’ worth of calculators, Speak & Spells, SAT prep software, etc. Accordingly, this justified cutting clothing, food and climate control expenditures to almost nil. Educational games were to be our entertainment in lieu of “Thomas the Tank Engine” episodes. I remember my dad assigning me to learn all the words in the Speak & Spell. If I did, he would take me to Chuck E. Cheese. “All right!” I told myself, already glad-handing with the jaunty-capped animatronic rodent in my mind. Power on. The first word the ol’ S&S asked me to spell was … blood. Wait, what?
How long does it take a tyke of 4, freshly acquainted with the written word, to guess the vowel combo that comprises “blood”? Seriously, flash yourself back to callow, unorthographic youth. The schwa is just not on your average pre-K radar. Sadly, I missed the Chuck E. cutoff that year. The next year, the offer was revoked, and I was never taken to Chuck E. Cheese again. (Until I had my 15th birthday party there, of course, and was bitten ferociously in the calf by a 3-year-old in the ball pit. But that’s for another blog.)
My point is: We’ve always been a proudly frugal family. When we were kids, my dad fed my two sisters and me ketchup-drizzled Top Ramen every day out of emesis basins. For those uninitiated, emesis basins are the disposable plastic bowls that bedridden hospital patients vomit into. My dad would take the discarded (i.e., vomited in) basins from the hospital and place them lovingly into our cabinet. Soggy, tomato paste-covered noodles were placed gingerly into the bowls, just like the blood-twinged, goopy biohazardous tissue that was their precursor. Who needs fine china?
Now it’s 2013, so frugal and resourceful are no longer pejoratives. Good! Times have caught up with the Pu family.
And there’s me. My big Cheap Beauty Secret is that I’ve never paid to get my hair, nails or makeup done.
Now, I’m usually reluctant to admit the haircut thing, since I think hair is a highly suggestion-influenced feature. As soon as I tell people I’ve never gotten my hair professionally cut – ever! – they will see split ends, flyaways and inadvertent asymmetry. Which may have been there to begin with, but again, under the normal rules of engagement people don’t even notice those things if the rest of your appearance looks sufficiently polished.
In this last post covering the Pebble Beach trip, I have to discuss my Princess Day.
I got a pedicure, manicure, facial, massage and hair wash/styling. Here are my lessons, as a relative beauty treatment neophyte, from same.
New Egg Timer Job alert! During my treatment, I learned that I am already a facialist. The technician put a delicate eyemask over my face as she wildly palpated during the facial. But I finally asked her what implements she was using to pop my blemishes (gross, sorry, but that’s the key perk of a facial). She sheepishly explained: “This is just my fingers. We’re not allowed to use tools.” I rushed to my boyfriend, hands at the ready, to tell the good news: I already have everything I need to pummel those pores. All the tools are literally RIGHT AT MY FINGERTIPS!
I screamed the news/command: “Lemme at yo’ face!”
And he ran into the Del Monte Forest, never to be heard from again.
OMG. Remember when it was reported that Kate Middleton did her own makeup for the Royal Wedding? Now, at the time I naïvely thought that was all bluster, lies and not-so-subtle angling for a berth in the next Us Weekly’s “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” feature (breathless caption: “THEY APPLY THEIR OWN SPECIAL-DAY SLAP!!”). After my spa experience, I not only believe ol’ Worth-the-Waity, but I AGREE.
Violet on Orange Spa Lesson #1: Always Do Your Own Makeup.
While I enjoyed the novelty and pamper element of my makeup treatment at the spa (reminiscent of when Norma Desmond called all the specialists into her house for round-the-clock beauty treatments for her never-arriving reappearance in the limelight!), there were a few key problems:
1. Not to judge a book by its cover, but when my assigned makeup technician sidled up to me, I took a quick glance at her nametag. I won’t blow up her spot by saying her name, of course. And she was perfectly nice. But her name was … a gerund. Let’s call her “Gliding.” Seriously, it was something close to that. She proudly told me that she made it up herself.
Violet on Orange Spa Lesson #2: When Someone Has Rechristened Herself Something Random (Destiny Hope → Miley), Observe Circumspection Re: Reinvention Motives
Conclusion: Gliding was probably trying to outrun a reputation for wayward makeup application. Which brings us to the next point.
2. The makeup was straight-up meretricious! Seriously, nobody uses that word — which sadly didn’t appear on the Speak & Spell but whose archaic meaning of “prostitute-esque” I totally love. “Meretricious” was surely invented for the straight-up Space Oddity craziness that Gliding visited upon my face. How did this happen? Simple: I absentmindedly agreed with Gliding’s analysis that my iris shade necessitated bold makeup.
Apparently Gliding and I took different lessons from the song “Brown-Eyed Girl.”
Violet on Orange Spa Lesson #3: If given the option, never, ever agree with the statement:
“Yes, I think my brown eyes are the perfect canvas upon which to visit a pitch-perfect homage to Picasso’s Blue Period. As in Pablo’s works, the aggressively cyan palette — never before seen outside the “Breaking Bad” finale, a wayward Stilton factory or the veiny postmortem visage of the Little Match Girl — will elevate this to the sublime. Sadness, cerulean and lumpen dysmorphic forms will join in perfect harmony on my epicanthic folds.”
It’s a trap. They will not.
3. After all was said and done, Gliding kept following me around and demanding to take an “after” photo. I was stunned and a little frightened, but it’s very hard to assert your backbone when you’re walking around looking like an unwitting reject of the Blue (Wo)Man Group.
Violet on Orange Spa Lesson #4: Never trust your gerund-monikered makeup artist as she insists that she needs a photo of her “masterpiece,” barely hiding her cackles all the while.
Again, it’s a trap.
I’ll never stray from the Kate Middleton Makeup Strategy again.