I had been dating Willis (a pseudonym) for seven months when, suddenly, a weeklong stay at his loft revealed more than the entire span of our relationship. He never flossed, used his breakfast dishes to accumulate toenail clippings, and occasionally blew his nose on his bed sheets.
Believe it or not, this isn’t what cinched our relationship’s demise. It was the collection of cosmetics I found under his sink, which led to the discovery of the other woman. Which led to my belief that conventional wisdom may be true…All the good men are taken, and the slobs are pretty much spoken for, too.
I told my friend Eve about the feminine artifacts I’d found at Chez Willis—from the bejeweled compact to the kiwi-scented deep conditioner—but she was desperate to maintain her own fevered optimism and offer some potential explanations. She rationalized the compact as his sister’s (not a chance, he was an only child) and the conditioner as confirmation of his blatant metrosexuality (please, the man didn’t have a hairbrush to his name).
As far as I was concerned, the jig was up. The next day, I discovered the other woman was a friend of mine who, like me, has an obsession with beauty products.
In the days following the discovery, I sought solace in the very thing that cinched the breakup: makeup. A visit to a primping powerhouse seemed like the most effective method of rehabilitation and so I found myself in the cosmetics department at Saks Fifth Avenue, famous for offering free makeovers to the walking wounded. The playground of pulchritude—with its seemingly infinite rows of jars, tubes and promising potions—was as comforting as a cold cucumber mask. Powders, shadows and glosses abounded, and there was certainly enough color to wash away my blues.
That afternoon, I picked out a chocolate-flavored gloss by Estée Lauder, adding to my already impressive collection, and took delight in its immeasurable power to attract the opposite sex, including the handsome specimen in the parking garage who was loading his BMW with a few new purchases of his own. (Did I mention he was a friend of two-timing Willis whom I’d nearly forgotten about? How small the city is!)
In retrospect, it’s hard to determine whether our conversation started as a result of my (transparent) gloss or the smile it put on my lips, but it leads me to the moral of this story: cosmetics will always serve up a unique type of therapy and, sometimes, it’s a cocoa-flavored taste of one’s own medicine.