Thursday, 22 March 2012

Timelines

A bit has fallen off my face. Last time I looked, a smooth pink contour joined my nose to my left eyebrow. Now there's a grand canyon. It's a bright morning and our bathroom faces east so I decide to wait until dusk and examine it again.

I borrow some Vaseline from my 7-year old's room and am grateful that he spends his pocket money on such things as J-cloths and washing lines and heavy duty lubricants. I rub it into the missing part of me, then peer closely with the Vicar's vest draped over the lampshade. It now resembles one of the cracks down my sheep-and-cow coffee mug: faint, but still There.

When my mother comes to dinner I keep the lamps down low and hide the candles. Twenty years ago she urged me to splurge on make-up to 'make the most' of myself. Now she urges the same 'to make the best'. There's a indefinable shift there that I do not like.

She says that I look tired. She asks if I've got anything on my face. She delves into her bag and waves a pot of apricot powder. I reply that I do not like cosmetics. I also do not own any. My mother, whose three drawers of Max Factor make her look twenty years younger, disapproves. She points out that my friend Serena has an Estee Lauder concealer stick that works wonders on her bags.

I feel my new fissure widening as she ponders me and she senses that it's time for diplomacy. 'At least,' she says brightly, 'you must have plenty of self-confidence to go out with a face as Nature made you.'

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16 comments:

  1. What would we do without mothers to keep us grounded, eh?!

    I'm not a huge fan of cosmetics, but I do feel transparent if I don't have mascara and a bit of lippy, especially to work where I like to keep up an appearance of efficiency.

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    1. I wear lippy because my mother used to ring up to check. But I don't like to smother my bristles in goo.

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  2. Ha! I have just the cream you need!

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  3. No housework AND no makeup? Do you think that there was a mix up in the hospital and we were somehow separated? Far-fetched I know, but you have to admit the similarities are startling.

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    1. There's definitely a genetic link. Too much of a coincidence to have two unadorned slatterns on the loose.

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  4. Oh mother's have a certain way with words don't they? On seeing my engagement ring for the first time mine said "Oh it looks rather industrial doesn't it? Sort of rivet-like." Thanks, Mum.

    My mother also always warned me that Vaseline stimulates hair growth (I've no idea if this is based on fact in any way) but maybe best not to put it on your face, just in case ;)

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    1. Now you tell me. No wonder I have to shave my forehead. Rivet-like - love it!

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  5. Yet another reason why you and my mum would be a match made in heaven. My mum never wears make-up. In fact, I'm not sure she's ever actually owned any. Have you tried plasticine? I hear it works wonders...

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    1. I didn't like the colours in the plasticine. Wattel and daub is more robust and matches my natural hue.

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  6. I don't wear make up either. And I don't look a day over 630.

    It sounds trite to say this, to as talented a writer as yourself, but I really love this post.

    And Tony Blair used to swear by a bit of Touche Eclat. Apparently.

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    1. Well, you've done what I'm inadvertently beginning to do which is grow a beard to hide the damage. People often say Tony Blair and I bear a slight resemblance. I think it's the orange glow - but mine's entirely natural!

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  7. Mothers. They know just how to hit the spot.

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    1. I know I'm the same with my daughter. It's probably some essential evolutionary survival process.

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  8. I don't wear make-up either. And people often think I am in my twenties. But I've started to notice little signs of bastard ageing creeping in. Should I wear make-up now? Or just get the face lift and have done with it? Stapling my cheeks to my ponytail just seems a bit extreme.

    Moo doesn't go out without a touch of mascara.

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  9. Mothers. I once went to an interview not long after giving birth to my son. It was a crazy thing to do. My mother came up to babysit. As I was leaving the house, I turned to her and said, "They'll never give me the job when I tell them I've just had a baby." She said, "You won't need to tell them". Then she patted her stomach to illustrate. x

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