Cosmetics

At my store, I sell makeup.  One entire wall of the store is devoted to it.  Covergirl, Maybelline, Revlon, L’Oreal, Rimmel, Neutrogena, Sally Hansen, you name it—thousands of items, categorized by brand, use, color, and any other way the manufacturers can differentiate them.  It’s a daily occurrence to see some lady standing by the foundation, agonizing over whether she is a nude or a light beige.  To a guy like me, the entire process of selecting, coordinating, paying for (the stuff is on par with gold on a per ounce basis), applying, and wiping away makeup is a maddening ordeal that I am very thankful to avoid.

And, really, is it worth it?  Are cosmetics really worth the effort and expense you ladies put into them?

Some of you would argue that, absolutely, it’s worth it.  “If you could see me when I first wake up…” you say, and I won’t debate the point.  If it makes you feel better, prettier, sexier, more worthwhile, to paint your face, then by all means do it.  But I’m going to share with you now the big secret that the cosmetic companies don’t want you to know.  It’s a bit revolutionary, perhaps even inflammatory, but it needs to be said.

There is one brand of cosmetics that is far superior to all the others.  It hides scars and stretch marks, it evens out skin tone, it fills in wrinkles and restores a youthful appearance.  It adds color to pale skin, reduces redness, and covers unsightly blemishes, even those of the soul.

Yes, the best makeup out there isn’t Covergirl or Maybelline or Revlon.  The best makeup I know of is the love of another person.  100% natural, hypoallergenic, and it works for all skin types.

A person in love may see, with his or her physical senses, all the things this makeup covers, but love does what no other cosmetic product can—it makes them disappear without really doing anything to them at all.  A husband in love with his wife may see the scars on her knees from her bicycle accidents as a kid.  He may see the crow’s feet forming at the corners of her eyes, and he may see the stretch marks she had from bearing his children, but, at the same time, he sees none of these.  In his eyes, through the cosmetic impact of love, he sees her as whole and perfect.  Likewise, a wife may acknowledge her husband’s thinning hair, his thickening belly, and the lines on his brow, but to her, through her love, she sees him as her handsome prince.

Conversely, when that love fades or vanishes entirely, those details are thrown in sharp relief.  A man who once saw his wife as perfect may now see all the physical flaws he spent years reassuring her were not there.  The wife, estranged from her husband, not only sees his gut and receding hairline, she cannot look past them to find any resemblance to the man she once loved.  Love is a powerful cosmetic, to be sure, but nothing throws blemishes and scars into greater relief than love lost.

And so, to those of you in love or seeking love, please realize that what you see or hope to see is not truth.  The scars you see do not really fade, but that does not matter as long as love remains.  It’s when love fades that we learn how we have tricked ourselves with the grandest of illusions, the king of cosmetics, the all-concealing power of pure love for another.  All any of us can hope for is a life supply of that brand of makeup and to live the illusion as long as possible.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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