Friday, February 25, 2011

Ode to an Eyelash

There are a lot of things I would change about myself, given the chance.

How big my cheeks are, for instance, or the size of my rear end. Or perhaps my OCD tendencies and my lust for all things expensive.

My eyelashes, though, are not one of these things. I inherited full, long lashes from my mother and am eternally grateful to her for this trait. We like to joke that we wear enough mascara between the two of us for an army of women. It's probably true, but I'm not ashamed. When faced with the old "stuck on a desert island with only three things" question, a tube of mascara will always be on my list. A tube of L'Oreal Voluminous mascara (with a curved brush!) in black, to be exact.

They get me into some interesting situations though, particularly at my job where I am surrounded by women on a daily basis. Men don't appreciate eyelashes. When they see a woman whose eyes stand out, they don't consider her eyelashes... They just think, "Beautiful eyes!" Women, on the other hand, think... "Look at those lashes! Wonder if she's born with it or if it's Maybelline?"

Needless to say, the comments I've gotten on my eyelashes while on the job pretty much run the gamut. Now, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. The way I see it, there are much worse things I could be known as among clients than "the girl with the really long eyelashes." I'm ok with it. A compliment, no matter how convoluted it is in its delivery, should always be accepted with grace (doing so has never been my strong suit, and my mother has forever lectured me on this issue), and I appreciate them all.

For instance, the woman who once deemed my eyelashes "butterfly wings" quickly made her way to the top of my list of favorite clients. She even has a flapping motion she makes with her own lashes to demonstrate her point whenever she talks about them.

A co-worker of mine prefers to call them "finger eyelashes." She also has a movement she makes with her fingers seemingly protruding from her eyeballs in order to demonstrate the effect my lashes supposedly have on onlookers. Somewhat scary, but quite funny nonetheless.

Others aren't as playful. The compliments sometimes get lost in the awkward stares, during which time the person is undoubtedly weighing the realness of my lashes in their head. Most don't seem to find it rude to ask and blurt out, "Are those real!?" I've had to bite my tongue several times to control my urge to ask if some of their assets were real. What really gets me, though, is when they ask if I'm wearing eyelash extensions. Extensions? Eyelash extensions? I didn't even know those existed.

And then there are the ones who stand in front of me and swear up and down that I'm using Latisse. Hello! Do you think I'd admit it if I were?! It seems to me that that would defeat the purpose of going to all that trouble and risking your irises turning ten different shades of murky brown in the first place.

Today almost beat them all, though. I was working with an older woman, helping her choose a spring blazer for her granddaughter. Once she actually turned her attention to my face and away from the jackets we were choosing between, she leaned forward and peered closely at me. I looked at her in confusion as she said, "Your eyelashes are beautiful!"

Before I could say thank you and steer the conversation back to the sale, she continued:

"Do they stay on?"

Me (confused stare): "What?"

"I mean, do they fall off?"

Me (forehead wrinkling in further confusion): "What?"

"Your eyelashes!"

Me (still confused and now somewhat perturbed at this interrogation): "Fall off?"

"Yes! You're wearing tips, right?!"

Me: "Tips?"

"Yes! I just learned about them from a lady down at TJMaxx. Apparently you can have tips put on your eyelashes for just $15o!"

Me (now trying to hide indignance): "No tips for me, ma'am. Just regular old eyelashes that stay attached at all times." And, in a desperate attempt to change the subject, "Which blazer do you like better?"

This is just one of many bizarre conversations I've had on the sales floor regarding my eyelashes. Before my career in retail began, I had no idea that eyelash extensions existed, and I certainly didn't know about "tips." (Or maybe they're the same thing?) Falsies, sure, but tips? I don't think so.

I'm just glad I've got long enough eyelashes that "tips" don't have to be one of my three things I get to take to the desert island. My mascara will do just fine.