I’m a believer

In the seventh grade, I was still being forced (much against my will) to go to Ridgeroad Junior High makeup free. It was mortifying. All the cool girls at least got to wear their prescription liquid base from the dermatologist. Since I had maybe one pimple a month, I wasn’t even allowed that treasure, no matter how much I begged.

In between classes, it was a status symbol to pull out your prescription bottle of chalky liquid and apply liberally, all the while talking about what the doctor said during your last appointment. Alas, all I could do was glance in the mirror – and possibly use the restroom, if you get my drift. I was a blemish-free ’script wannabe.

Yardley keychain lipstick

But things began to change after Mother slipped an ever-so-cool Yardley of London three-lipstick set in my Christmas stocking. She was a pretty cool mom – totally straight moms didn’t give their daughters frosted white, frosted orange and frosted olive green lipstick. But mine did.

After that, it was Katie-bar-the-door, for a while, anyway. I mean, you can’t wear lipstick without mascara, right? And mascara is just a skip away from eyeliner, which leads to eyeshadow.

By eighth grade, I was in eye-makeup heaven. (But not base. Mother never gave in on that, and she must have known what she was doing, because I made it through high school with my one prominent zit a month.) Still don’t wear base to this day.

Pattie Boyd guided me through the prepubescent years, fashionwise, but in junior high, it was British supermodelJean Shrimpton all the way. She was glorious. She was beautiful. She was hip. She was a Yardley girl.

Pam and I began experimenting with makeup. Yardley of London was our main brand, and the summer between seventh and eighth or eighth and ninth grade – I just can’t remember after all these years – we did it all. Tiny flower-covered eyelids, little fake bottom lashes, a single heart below one eye. The coolest was covering our eyelids from lash to brow with black-and-white checks. And the coolest-coolest thing was the effect we didn’t anticipate – with eyes open, the checkerboard made a groovy optical illusion.

Very Peter Max.  I used Peter Max notebooks, by the way. Groovy.

Rosie Vela

(Side note: My 10th-grade Spanish teacher’s daughter Rosie Vela became a Revlon model and lived with Peter Max for a while. I met her at her mom’s second wedding, to which I was invited. The bride wore a micro-mini. Dig it.)

Pot o' Glimmerick

I spent a year wearing black liquid eyeliner, topped by white Glimmerick eyeliner, topped by olive green eyeliner to match my eyes. Yes, I was a triple threat.

Shortly after that, I was over it. Makeup takes too much time. By junior year, it was just black mascara (Revlon metal-wand only) and ‘30s-style plucked eyebrows.

(Claudette Colbert

Claudette Colbert

The incredible Garbo

ring a bell? Greta [I vant to be alone] Garbo? Their eyebrows had nothing on mine.)

I remain a makeup minimalist, and my eyebrows tend to fend for themselves these days. (Can’t see up-close well enough to do too much about them anyway, but after extreme plucking for years, they just get occasional strays anyway.)

But I do miss the merry mod days of old. I’m still a believer.

4 thoughts on “I’m a believer

  1. I LOVED reading thisI I used to steal my big sister’s Yardley Pot o’ Gloss (gross!) out of her makeup bag that she’d made out of the seat of an old pair of jeans.The bag was always hanging by its denim strap on the post of the top bunkbed (hers) — I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t resist the cute spokesmodel’s TV pitch: “Pot O’ Gloss lights up my lips, my eyes, my whole face.” … I stole for beauty! Thanks for the time travel. (Oh my gosh, did you ever have those Peter Max hotpants that Sterling Stores carried?)

    • I didn’t have those hot pants, but I had a pair of knit ones – again, that Mother bought me. And I had a crushed velvet one-piece hot-pants jumpsuit that looked every so Brady Bunch. I wore it in my 30s to a Halloween party, in fact, with a little glimmery flower painted under my eye. People guessed I was “Barbarella”!

  2. Did you put mayonnaise on your hair? A friend and I, during my Charlottesville years pre law school, got obsessed with 70’s beauty remedies and tried the mayonnaise thing several Sundays in a row, until we figured out that it was …uh, not doing our hair any favors…because the mayo today has a bunch of crap in it that 70’s mayo didn’t have. D’oh!

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