I was taking my time browsing through the make up and perfumes in the duty free shop at Glasgow Airport, killing time while I waited for my flight back to Paris. The trip home had been seriously short - I'd only really had two full days in Scotland - but I'd done everything I had needed to do. I'd spoken to the priest about marrying us in his church, I'd viewed three venues for the wedding reception, had my highlights done and even managed to squeeze in a lunch with Zannie. It was hard to go back to France after such a whirlwind visit, but at least I was going home having made headway on the wedding plans.
"Can I ask you a question?" A girly voice interrupted my thoughts and I was confronted with an orange-faced, platinum blonde, blue-eyeshadowed member of staff.
Before I even so much as uttered the word 'yes', the girl whipped out a cosmetics brush from her back pocket quick as a flash, and before I even knew what was going on, she brushed it across my cheek. I stumbled back slightly from surprise. Then, with the same lightening flash actions, she pulled a pink hand-held mirror from somewhere else on her person and showed me my reflection.
Ah. A cosmetics girl.
I should have recognised her before she approached me. I could have avoided her, hidden behind the Chanel N°5 perfume display perhaps, if only I'd seen her hovering around. Looking at her then, I couldn't believe how I had missed the signs; the ten shades too dark foundation, the overpowering waft of strong perfume that followed her around, the name badge that read 'Sophie Jane - Cosmetics'. I was a fool for not having been en garde in the duty free shop, a fool.
I have always been very wary of these make-up girls who work behind the cosmetics counters in department stores. I don't trust grown women who plaster their face with every single product that they are trying to sell all at once. No normal person would honestly believe that their orange foundation, blood red lipstick and multi-coloured metallic eyeshadow would convince any customer to buy cosmetics from them, surely? I mean it's hardly a good advertisement for the products, is it?
I looked at my reflection in the pink mirror and saw a startled girl with a single circle of red blusher on her left cheek looking back at me.
"Stunnin', innit." Cosmetic girl said. It was more of a statement than question. I looked helplessly up at her, my mouth opening and closing like a fish, unable to find the words to reply.
"But don't worry," she continued, grabbing my hand and leading me to her counter. "I wouldn't leave you with only one side of your face done! Sit up here," she patted the seat of a high stool. "And I'll even you up!"
She had been trained well, this cosmetics girl. All her actions were so fast and sneaky that you had no time to argue, no time to even think of an excuse in order to escape. In the end, I suppose I climbed onto that stool because it was easier than finding a plausible excuse and let's face it, managing to walk away with my dignity intact when I had only one cheek covered in blusher was impossible. The damage had already been done.
"So, what's your name?" The cosmetics girl asked as she whipped out three different types of foundation and dotted them on the back of her hand.
"Linsey," I replied, realising that it was the first time I'd had a chance to actually speak to her. She mixed the three blobs of foundation into one vile brown colour, and began applying it to my face. As she did this, my eyes darted around the shop, wondering how I could escape, where I could run to, where were the nearest toilets so that I could scrape this muck off my face and what I could possibly say to get out of this situation.
I realised that since we were in an airport, the best bet would be to look at my watch and gasp, state that my flight was boarding soon and then make a mad dash. But I had already done the unthinkable. She had gotten me to sit on the stool, and everybody knows that once you are in that stool, you are there until the bloody end.
"So Linsey," she spoke up, breathing her morning breath into my face. "I'm going to make you look stunnin' today." Stunnin', it appeared, was her favourite word. She finished rubbing in foundation and several layers of unknown creams and lotions, before she whipped out the mirror again and I saw that I was a fetching shade of tangarine orange. The girl then grabbed my hand and, without asking, spritzed three sprays of perfume on the inside of my wrist.
"This perfume is called Seductive," Cosmetic girl stated. I raised my eyebrows. "Are you feeling seductive today, Linsey?" She was so cheesy, I almost rolled my eyes.
"No." I replied matter-of-factly.
She glared at me. "Well, you will."
Next to come was another layer of foundation, which was supposed to give me a 'bronzed glow' but when I looked at my reflection in her hand held mirror, I saw that it only made me a glittery tangarine orange. Classy. Very classy.
It took almost twenty minutes, but finally, finally, she was done. Cosmetics girl took out her mirror for the final time and showed me the result. My heart jumped into my throat.
"You look stunnin'," she said.
I almost punched her right there and then. My skin was orange and glittery, my lips silvery pink and I had two big, red, round circles where my cheeks used to be. My eyelids were painted with metallic gold and in contrast to my face, my neck was completely white. I looked like an eejit.
Apparently the cosmetics girl took my silence as a sign of delight. "So, what do you see that you want to buy?" She chirped, confirming my fears that she was on comission. There was a large pile of products lying on the counter next to me, according to her, all those creams and potions and lotions had been used to make me look this...er, stunnin'. But I didn't want to buy anything. I had only walked into the shop to browse! I have no money! I didn't need any of this stuff, I didn't like any of this stuff!
So what did I do?
"Um," I pointed timidly to my chin. The area that was least affected. "I'll, uh, I'll take the shiny stuff." Cosmetics girl's face lit up and I could almost see dollar signs in her eyeballs. She packaged the tiny and extortionate 'shiny stuff' up for me and I paid, grudgingly, using my credit card. As I made my way out the door, keeping my head down and trying to navigate towards the nearest loos, I couldn't help chastising myself over the fact that I can never just say NO.
I really need to get a back bone, damn it.