The Most Hideous Woman in the World

A few days, or possibly weeks slash months, ago I had the distinct privilege of setting foot in my local shopping mall. For the purpose of returning a bathing suit.

If we’ve had coffee once in the last four years, you might be familiar with my ongoing saga-drama-habit of spending hours looking for a bathing suit online, putting a couple of options in a virtual shopping cart and then waiting for swimsuit season to pass me by. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

But not this year. This year, I began my annual ritual scrolling through every beach offering on JCrewdotcom and then, in what can only be described as ‘the lone decisive moment of my forties thus far’ I actually hit ‘checkout’ and paid for a swimsuit. And as soon as I did, I fell into a pit of remorse. The US exchange rate! The reviews that warned this swimsuit wasn’t lined! I probably ordered the wrong size!

Seriously, what size am I? If I knew how to answer this ridiculous question, I would probably do all manner of shopping online. Instead I spend months contemplating entering a store and trying on clothes, whilst yielding to my inclination towards avoiding anything that resembles ‘work’……which is why I own two pairs of pants.

Minimalist? Lazy? Lazy-Minimalist.

But back to the swimsuit. After suffering through a week of regret, the swimsuit arrived. Despite its ‘long torso’ status, it was still a tad short. The cautionary reviews proved correct. And so, my four years of online pseudo-shopping resulted in having to drive to the Chinook Mall with a black and white striped swimsuit stuffed in an envelope.

Naturally, since I had the misfortune of being forced to enter a shopping complex, I carpe’d the diem to tend to some of the shopping-related items on my years-old to-do list. Like replace my four (five?) year-old eyelash curler. If you’re cringing in horror at my using the same eyelash curler for four (or five) years, rest assured: I did not get pink eye, nor did my eyelashes fall out.

I did, however, have to set foot in Sephora to tend to this particular errand. If you’re a woman on the ‘low maintenance’ end of the cosmetics spectrum, there are few places more daunting than a Sephora or a department store cosmetics section, with its eye-searing scents and employees clad in black, displaying on their faces an amount of makeup you might use…. in a year.

But there I was, trying to figure out which eyelash curler I was supposed to buy and remembering that I was out of moisturizer. I made the mistake of asking an employee for her opinion on the array of possible options. There we stood, two woman around the same age. One sporting unwashed and/or uncombed hair with nothing but dried water on her face. The other meticulously made up sporting that pink-orange lipstick that frightens me more, apparently, than going out in public in an unkempt state.

She gazed at me in a manner that suggested a mixture of pity and horror. She used phrases like ‘as we age’ and ‘skin discoloration’ and ‘cell turnover’. She inquired, tentatively, about my ‘price point’ because apparently the amount of product required by my face would require a significant financial investment. ‘You need to buy serum,’ she insisted, pointing at a row of tiny bottles with three-digit price tags, the implication being that moisturizer alone would not cut it for someone like me.

‘That’s where I spend my money – on serum,’ she disclosed. And, upon gazing down at the face of my much shorter, well-coiffed, well made-up contemporary, I noticed she did, indeed, scary orange lips aside, have excellent skin. Her serum investment had reaped noticeable rewards. But judging from the serene expression on her face, she most certainly does not have three boys who consume the financial equivalent of a mid-size mortgage every month. So I committed to one container of Philosophy’s aptly named ‘Renewed Hope in a Jar’ and took my leave.

As it turns out Amazon sells the same product for significantly less and the only size-related matter I’d need to consider is: do I want a big jar or a small jar.

That’s what I get for going to the mall.

Also, I still don’t have a bathing suit. Maybe 2018 will be the year.

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