When I was a little girl, my mother’s dressing room was next to my bedroom. It had three large mirrored closet doors opposite a long dressing table where Mom kept the promise of enhanced beauty in a plethora of pots, jars, tubes and brushes. But it was her collection of false eyelashes that intrigued me.
Mom wore “Twiggy” false eyelashes at night that looked more like spiders than false eyelashes. I skipped over those and played with Mom’s more “natural” lashes. Putting those “natural” lashes was tricky for me.
Whenever I could, I’d plop down next to my mother’s boudoir chair and carefully study her every move as she put them on. First, she’d skillfully apply the DUO Eyelash Glue at the base of the false lashes. Then, she’d lean in close to her lighted mirror, and starting from the center of the lid, she’d gently pat the lashes in place with her fingertips.
After she left the room, I would mimic her, using her extra pair of lashes. At 9 years old, my chubby little fingers weren’t as agile as my mother’s long, graceful ones. Often, I’d end up with glue all over my hands and the lashes all twisted and stuck together.
Then, Mom switched to the new “Individual Lashes.” Those were much easier for me to apply because each little strip was pre-glued. There was no need to fuss with the Duo anymore, and I could stick the lashes on in a matter of seconds…peeling them off as soon as I could hear my mother coming back into the dressing room.
Everything changed with Phyllis Thomas moved to the neighborhood. Phyllis was from New York, worked in fashion and knew the latest trends…including false eyelashes. Hers were “Permanent!”
The first time Phyllis came over, I was fascinated. It was her eyelashes. They looked like black caterpillars, and I couldn’t decide if I liked these thick, fake lashes or not.
Mom, on the other hand, instantly loved them. My make-believe world in my mother’s dressing room ended a week later when Mom got her own set of “Permanent” lashes. “I’ve been liberated!” she told me excitedly. “I can even sleep with these!”
All the little white plastic containers with the spidery specimens disappeared.
It took a while for me to get used to seeing my mother in the morning, wearing a nightgown and false eyelashes.
That summer, our family went camping. Mom’s lashes even looked more ridiculous in the wilderness. My stepfather joked that even the bears were confused when they spotted her with those “things” on her eyes.
Mom didn’t care. She loved her lashes. “They make me feel pretty,” she said. “Without them, I look like a peeled grape.”
For years, she continued to get her “lash fills” once a month at a salon in Beverly Hills – the only place she could find at that time put these lashes on.
Now, 88, my mother no longer gets the “permanents” even though they are easily gotten today. Nope, she’s back to the originals. I buy them and the Duo and bring them to her. With Parkinson’s, she’s not as agile, so the skilled nurses take turns putting them on.
Yesterday, I brought a fresh crop straight from the rack at Rite Aid.
“Thank God you brought them!” she said. “There’s a new guy here and I think I’m in love…”
|Mom's new make-up table|