It’s All About You
Walking through the maze of cosmetic counters at the mall a while back, I was stopped by this woman. Armed in her sterile white coat, she could pass from afar as a physician with her flashing smile.
“Excuse me miss,” she waved.
I didn’t have my iPod with me right then, which has effectively prevented these unnecessary daily interruptions many a time, and I involuntarily looked up and caught her eye. Now it would be too rude to ignore. I sighed inward, and shuffled toward the counter.
Close up, her smile is revealed to be a careful construction of colors and geometry. A bright berry spreads over her lips, which is lined precisely though invisibly with a lip liner of similar hue. A bronzey taupe shimmers across her lids, which are deep set. The lower rim of the eyes is lined expertly with a neutral brown and smudged ever so slightly to give that smokey look. Two coats of mascara, at least. Foundation, likely powdered, the uniform flesh tone is broken by shadows of bronzer, which is correctly applied in the hollow of her cheekbones and lightly over bridge of her nose, forehead, and chin for that sunkissed glow. Then a peachy highlighter swept across the apple of her cheeks and up and outwards towards the temple seals the deal.
The look of the effort-fully effortless.
“Miss, this is all about you.” She smiles. The paleness of her professionally-whitened teeth blinding.
I force my gaze upwards to her eyes, a baby blue. The bronzey taupe makes them pop. It is a good choice.
“What I meant is that you have an unique look, you know, and you seem like someone who is very stylish and would enjoy this special offer we have right now, which includes…”
Amused. I observe the opening and closing of her berry pout, and the moving of her facial muscles at a frantic pace. They seem so limber.
She is working hard. I wonder how many women buy into these free compliments? She delivers them with an expert friendliness and tone that raise no alarms and give no reason to be refused.
“Really?” I offer a small smile, the polite thing to do. “That seems like a good deal.”
“It is! And most importantly, it celebrates the uniqueness of each individual by allowing you to choose from a variety of colors and products that suit you. It is, of course, All About You.” She is beaming.
I smile some more, and pause to give the illusion of consideration.
Sensing my feigned apprehension, she tiptoes further.
“You know, I feel like I’ve seen you before. Have you purchased a product with us before?”
“I can’t say that I have.”
“Really? I could have sworn that I had another customer who looks just like you…I mean, the same hair, same eyes…you know? I remember this because you are both very pretty and exotic. Do you mind me asking what your background is?”
Connecting with the customer.
“Oh really? Maybe I have a twin around…and well, I’m not that exotic really, just Asian. There are so many of us around in Toronto.”
I widen my eyes in expected delight, and she follows.
“Yes, but you look like you could be mixed! You have great lips.”
I almost laugh aloud.
Personal compliments. Focus on their best attribute.
“Hmmm,” I keep smiling, with teeth this time, showing my great lips.
“That is very nice of you to say. No, I’m not mixed, as far as I know.”
Then she went in for the kill.
“Tell you what.” She leans forward, harboring a secret shared only with me. “If you decide to take the offer today, I’ll throw in something special for you. I don’t normally do that, but I like you, and I’ve got some extra samples in the back. You’ll love them.”
Make them feel special. Personalize the offer. Make it time-sensitive.
“Hmmm.” I cock my head to the side and wait a few more seconds, then meet her gaze.
“I’m going to think about it. Thank you so much. That is really nice of you.”
A glint of disappointment flashes across iris of her eyes. The baby blue cools.
“That is fine. I’ll hold the offer for you until end of the day so if you change your mind, just come back and find me and I’ll set it all up for you.”
She recovers with another smile, though with less warmth.
“I will. Have a good day.”
As I turn and walk away from the fluorescent rows of silver lined bottles and tubes, I wonder if there is another girl like me in Toronto, wandering around, stopping at brightly lit cosmetic counters. The funny thing is that this is not the first time I’ve heard about this uncanny resemblance. And if so, did the woman in the white coat really met her? Or was it just an easy, white lie?
The pale glow of her coat, her teeth, the white of her eyes, continue to flash in my mind intermittently as I walk home.
I get in the door and collapse on the couch. Rummaging through my purse, a slippery cardboard materializes. The White Coat must have given it to me.
Holding the glossy pinkness in my hand, I examine the expertly contrasting colors and design: fresh, modern, feminine, like spring.
I give a small laugh, can’t help but feel a smudge of…irony? Satisfaction?
It is, of course, All. About. You.
And just who the hell are you?