Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Had the good train fortune this morning to be seated next to one of those renegade make-up girls who so upset the prim elderly ladies by putting on their makeup in public, which was unthinkable just yesterday. To do the makeup routine on a moving train takes that bravado to a level I cannot but admire in these fearless young women, much as we admire triple acrobatic somersaults without a net. I'd observed their work from a distance before, which is difficult on crowded rush hour trains, as all the swaying bodies keep blocking the view.

Anyway, there were no grandmas harrumphing nearby (which I've heard can start a fight these days), so the young lady went on the cosmetic attack with all the practiced efficiency of a SWAT team. With her large bag of finely crafted tools and name brand materials on her lap creating a sort of mobile cosmetic clinic, the various devices clinking and clanking as she picked them up and put them down, the brushes and powders, tweezers and files and creams, salves and colorants, unguents, rouges, lipsticks and glosses, pancakes and highlighters, curveballs, sliders, twin cams, turbochargers, dual carbs, afterburners, ramjets, re-entry procedures and whatnot, after our fast ride to the Big City she would be ready to face the world from behind precisely arranged layers of various materials.

It was fascinating to watch how, while one hand held the mirror as she surveyed her progress and decided upon the next phase of the campaign (on a tight train schedule), the other hand delved in the lap clinic, finding everything by feel as she organized the steps of her shading, layering, highlighting, sanding, spackling, resurfacing, grouting and pruning, now and then grabbing and whisking with a sable brush to level everything out in a cloud... Then at one point she dove back in and came up with - shudder - a large gleaming pair of gawky eyelash curlers, opened them wide and... and...

As linked to above, I'd previously seen a similar but less threatening technique used on another train in the application of mascara, but to watch a young woman with lovely eyes approach those same eyes with a gaping metal scissory object - while the country train bounces, lurches and careens along - grasp the short straight eyelashes, close the scissors tightly, hold that position long enough to put a good curl in without yanking everything right out, lurch, careen, then release and go for the other eye, is to approach a level of horror first staked out by Oedipus.

This young lady avoided a similar fate, however, by employing some sort of biogyrotechnique while using the curlers, as the train did its best to remain upright. It occurred to me that this technique might be of great use in mobile surgery, and that microsurgeons could learn much from these daring females. Might even have given Oedipus second thoughts.

Then she got off the train and all the city saw was the makeup.


Tabor said...

This is so funny and was so enjoyable a read! You should have nudged her and told her that she will never look like Angelina Jolie no matter how many layers and to just accept that fact. Of course, she will discover this in another decade or so as all of us woman have.

Pam said...

The mascara is actually capable of more harm than the eyelash curlers, I believe. I suppose it's possible one could gouge a whole eye out if the train took a nasty bump, but those rails run pretty smooth.
When I was in Japan the public makeup fests were generally still confined to McDonalds. I've never been to a city where women wear more makeup than Osaka. I was told it's to "protect their skin from the pollution."

matabele said...

its extreme