I wanted to buy a face cream. A little treat to help with the winter flaking. I went to my favourite drug store.
Twenty minutes in I was standing stupefied before a dazzling array of lotions and potions.
Do I need the revitalizing lift serum?
If I buy the rejuvenating mask for my cheeks do I also need to get the under eye brightening treatment?
The 8 in 1 miracle drops promise sculpting, firming, and toning. Is it a face cream or a gym membership?
Why do I need a day cream for day, and a night cream for night? What will happen if I wear the night cream at day, or the day cream at night? Will my face get confused and fall asleep at the wrong times?
What if I plump up my lips with the lip plumper but then my chin looks droopy? Should I also get the hydraulic acid peel to exfoliate away the years of skin cell build up? (I know that the word is not hydraulic. It is hyaluronic.)
The packages are big and bright, sweet candies, fly lures to the trout.
The bottles within are tiny, all sparkling glass. You can’t see inside, but there must be a Genie in there ready to grant wishes.
Dot it on. Dot dot dot.
Pat it on. Pat pat pat.
Never rub it in, but gently massage it upwards in gentle strokes.
Food has expiry dates but face creams do not. Maybe if I eat the face cream?
The eager cosmetic consultant says: You’ve got a little bit of creepiness going on there.
I think she means I looked creepy, stalking the aisles. Which I am. Stocking cap hiding messy hair. Baggy bum gym pants. I can’t remember if I washed my face yet today.
She says: No, crêpey. A bit of Crêpe.
Oh, I say. Like a French Crêpe? Should I get some maple syrup?
She doesn’t laugh. You’ve got wattle.
Like turkey wattle.
And you’ll want this for your crow’s feet.
I like crows. They are magic.
You’ve got marionette lines. And you’ll want a brightener for that, she says, pointing to a freckle I’ve had since I was a kid.
No, that’s an age spot.
It used to be a freckle.
Now it’s an age spot.
She wanders away to get me some free samples. I look in the giant rotating mirror they’ve got at the cosmetics counter. It is a magnifying glass of the same strength NASA uses to find new planets. I look distorted. My pores are craters worthy of a moonscape. A solitary wispy hair is growing out of my chin.
I take off my glasses. Suddenly I look so much better. Plus, I smile. Instant face lift.
When I add up the cost of all those face creams, it comes to the same amount, roughly, as half a year’s worth of wine.
Home now, with the wine. And some waffles. No crêpes. Or creeps.