Cosmetic Carnival

I’m in a wedding this weekend, so this week’s shopping included typical female pre wedding items such as rein-it-all-in-and-prevent-Janet-Jackson-Super-Bowl-moments under garments, and the fancy blister Band-Aids for the perfect shoes that will inevitably tear up a few toes. During my quest for wedding garb I passed through the cosmetic carnival, and was stopped twice during my unsuccessful attempt at “keeping my head down and powering through” Michael Bluth style. One saleswoman asked if I’d like to learn about new pore cleansing products and another asked if I’d like some new serum for the dark circles under my eyes. I declined both and went on about my very specific shopping.

While I was checking out, the undergarment cashier and I had this conversation:

Cashier: Do you have a baby?

Me: No, I’ve just been eating a lot of feelings lately.

Cashier: Oh, no, I don’t think you’re fat. I meant because Mother’s Day is coming up. If you were a mom I was going to wish you “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Me: Oh, right. No, I don’t have a baby, but thanks.

Cashier: Are you going to spend the day with your mom?

Me: No, not this year.

Cashier: Oh, she doesn’t live here in the city?

Me: Something like that.

After that invigorating exchange, I dashed back through cosmetic carnival with high hopes that no more fun was in store. I almost made it to the safety of the revolving door before getting caught by someone wanting to sell me wrinkle cream. I declined and darted out into the anonymity of Michigan Avenue where I could breathe in more pollution and clog some more pores.

As I processed the shopping fiasco, I thought about all the things I could have said to the lovely salespeople. Like how maybe I don’t care about my clogged pores because I see sick children at the hospital next door. Or how I’ve earned every bit of the dark circles under my eyes this year. And that I don’t mind the wrinkles so much as I mind that I’ve been perpetually tired for 6 months. Sure, a vat of under eye concealer wouldn’t hurt, but I’d really just like to get more sleep. (I do have waterproof mascara packed for the wedding, lest those dark circles get a paint job.)

Perhaps we should have our own cosmetic carnivals for each other and congratulate ourselves on hard-earned wrinkles, dark circles, and clogged pores. We should high-five each other for being upright and having on any kind of undergarments because we bravely crawled out of bed and got dressed to face another day. Maybe instead of offering serum we should offer support for surviving whatever issue it is that clogs our pores and wrinkles faces. Authenticity and compassion trump signs of aging and crow’s-feet every time.


  1. okay, so while we drink margaritas together we can compare our dark circles…..

  2. Jennifer · · Reply

    Darn straight, Skippy.
    Preach it…and try to sleep a little on the plane.
    From your loving, for-the-meantime head of staff who knows you’re made of awesome.

  3. Betsy · · Reply

    Hang in there sweetie. I hope the wedding is in the land of sweet tea, bennee wafers, pimiento cheese, and warm caressing breezes.

  4. Kathi Worthington · · Reply

    I begin to think that we would be well-served to do away with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But especially Mother’s Day. The concept is an impossible mine field. One year, on Mother’s Day, we lifted up all women: Women who had kids who were happy, healthy, and doing well; women whose kids were none of those things; women who had miscarried, women whose babies (and our kids are our babies no matter how old they are–my soon-to-be 34 year old son will always be my baby) died; women who desperately wanted children and couldn’t conceive; women who are single and longing for children; women who do not want children (and who get no end of grief over that); women living in such poverty that they an barely feed their kids, never mind celebrating motherhood; single moms who work and work and work and work. We celebrated all women, because extolling the wonders of motherhood paints a picture that is not real, rubs our noses in a fairy tale that is not the life of any mother, and because our culture does not celebrate women. This Sunday, when I take part in leading worship, some of these words just might slip out of my mouth.

  5. Kathi Worthington · · Reply

    And, many of our mothers died when they were too young to be gone from us–mine at age 59. Mother’s Day is just tricky.

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