Oct. 11th, 2012 10:11 am
perevision: magnifying lens illustration (examine)
[personal profile] perevision
It's my cousin's wedding and in my family, that means the grand pre-dressing hair and makeup ritual.

I'm sat in a chair in the bathroom, beside my aunt. She sits across the big mirror over the sink, all her Bobbi Brown brushes and Nars palettes laid out. The artist goes to work on my aunt while their assistant curls my hair with a straightener. I'd had no idea you could do this. While I alternate between reading Dorothy Sayers on my iPod and watching fascinated as my aunt is airbrushed to her exact skin tone, the assistant slowly turns me into a Shirley Temple clone. I pretend to bounce the curls and giggle winsomely while the artist explains that the ringlets are meant to gradually loosen in the tropical humidity. Genius!

It's my turn to sit in the makeup chair. I've never been airbrushed before. The artist has an air compressor the size of a handbag and I desperately want it.

(Pause here for the obligatory fantasy sequence involving the compressor, a Copic Air set, and becoming the most amazing travelling illustrator ever.)

But before the main event, they trim my eyebrows--with a bare drugstore razor blade, held delicately in the artist's large fingers. I think of the Corinthian in the Sandman, of Elric of Melniboné carving off his enemy's eyelids. Of course for me it simply means a lifetime of buying Japanese disposable eyebrow trimmers; only a comparable fate to the lazy groomer. (Hang on...)

The artist then primes me with thick orangey-pink cream, gessoing my eyelids and cheekbones. It's time for the airbrush now, and I'm sad to have to close my eyes while they go to work on me. The makeup doesn't feel damp or heavy as it settles on my face; the only evidence that there was anything in that nozzle cup is there when I open my eyes. My face has turned into a smooth, featureless mask, my eyebrows reduced to pencil marks and my lips to a tan smudge, except when I grin.

Oh my God I forgot to brush my teeth. Be right back.

Sorry...anyway, airbrush. So as I'm trying to get used to the sight of myself without discernible eyelids, the makeup artist has me close my eyes. I am about to receive my first application of false eyelashes ever. Will it hurt? Will my eyes be glued shut by this elmer's-smelling fluid? Will my 'boy entrancers' (thanks, Louise Rennison) fall off before the end of the evening?

My aunt laughs at me. This is nothing, she claims. In her day they used the sticky gum in the pith of star apples to fasten their eyelashes. (Because in the 70's, this country was importing false eyelashes by the truckload but with typical foresight forgot to import any glue.) the artist chimes in with their own favourite solution of jackfruit juice. I listen to all this with my eyes shut, suddenly grateful for the 'Elmer's'.

It does take a few seconds to get my eyes unstuck, though. And the weight is something I don't think I'll ever get used to. The artist then contours my brows and nose with brown, and applies cream eyeshadow and gel eyeliner. When this dries, I again open my eyes, and voila! I have eyelids again. And flesh-coloured eyelashes underneath the layer of upward-curling falsies. It looks really artificial up close, but from a little way off I have to admit I look pretty red-carpet. My lipstick and gloss are in a candy-pink shade my aunt picked out which I never imagined would suit me, but somehow do.

After that it's time to rein in the Shirley Temple curls with a glittery dragonfly clip and a lot of (CFC-free!) hairspray. Once I'm all primped-out, I say thank-you-and-bye to the make-up artists and my aunt, and toddle across the garden to my grandparent's house to struggle into my Spanx and dress.

As for a picture...I'm sorry, I forgot to bring a camera!
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