23 May 2010

In which Hestia gets Daniel-ed

On Saturday, the hottest day of the year, I found myself in Glasgow with a couple of hours to kill before I met up with a friend.

I get a bit vampirey in the heat (hissing when I need to go out into the daylight and sometimes spontaneously combusting) so I was hopping in and out of the loveliest shops in the city centre, lingering in those with functional air-conditioning; perusing products with the studious face of a Woman Who Might Buy Something, if ONLY she could stand next to the portable air conditioning unit for another 10 minutes to gather her thoughts sufficiently.

Eventually, I slipped into one of Glasgow's most impressive stores -  I was looking for a nice MAC lippy.  But, in my haste to get out of the sun, I foolishly entered by the main door.  You know what that means, of course: I would have to run the gauntlet of perfectly made up face-goop pimps without making eye contact.

I bodyswerved the Dior staff.  Truthfully, they didn’t even try to pounce – a sweaty woman hoiking a huge laptop bag isn’t, I think, their target market.

I sneaked past some VERY interesting maquillage that was all pink and girly and which very nearly sucked me in with it’s dinky little pots and brushes and giggling staff…..but a tap on the arm caught my attention and I made the FATAL mistake of looking up at the tapper.

‘Madame, could you spare just a minute of your time to look at this DIVINE skin scrub.’

I stopped.  I’ve not yet developed a stock answer to get me out of the clutches of beauty product purveyors. I need to develop something along the lines of 'I'd love to stop and chat, but I've got....scabes/lice/to follow this suspect' And this beauty personage was Italian. And MALE.  What’s a couple of minutes? I thought to myself.

‘My name is Daniel,’ purred the tall, tanned gent.  He took my sweaty little paws in his cool, manicured grasp. ‘What’s yours?’

I stammered out my name.  This was the first time that a male, other than my son had held my hand in, ooooh, about 100 years.  It felt nice.

He scooped half a teaspoonful of grainy lemon sand over my hands and, at his instruction, I rubbed it all over my hands and wrists. It was lovely.

‘Yes, this contains 27 minerals from the Dead Sea….you’ve heard of the Dead Sea?’ I nodded.

He poured cool water over my hands and the granules disappeared, leaving my hands beautifully soft and moisturised.

Daniel dried my fat little mitts as if they were the most delicate Mysen porcelain.

‘Now – a hand massage for you!’

There might have been actual drool coming out of my mouth by the time he was finished.

Whatever it was he was selling, I was buying….

The words ‘special offer’ and ‘additional discount’ were bandied about and I made an involuntary Tourettes-like ‘JE-sus!’ when he revealed that it was £45 for the hand scrub and another £40 for the cuticle oil and hand moisturiser. 

I thought about how pleasant the experience was and how my usual day moisturiser is Oil of Olay (ie about £4) and that my Night Cream was erm, also Oil of Ulay, and, as you do, I managed to balance up in my head that I was getting a total BARGAIN.

I handed over my credit card.

Daniel leaned in close.  He smelled faintly of the sun-warmed leather upholstery from an open-topped sports car and for a nanosecond I could see us lying together in the afterglow, cool skinned, relaxed in rumpled bed sheets in a fine marble-floored palazzo just off the Via Dolorosa.

‘Tell me,’ he whispered….I leaned in close too….’what do you use on your under eye bags?’ My fantasy plummeted to the ground so hard, I swear I saw it crash and burn on the glittery floor tiles in front of me.

‘Actually, I think I may start saving for surgery,’ I replied curtly, my chin up but my lip wobbling.  With my credit card still proffered in his direction, he sat me down and produced another miracle product.

He gently traced the eyebag under my left eye with his finger.

‘What age are you? Late 30s?’

'Oh don’t be such a fuckwit – I’m nearly 50,'  I thought to myself. I gazed into his concerned dark chocolate eyes. ‘Late 40s, I whispered.

‘You have WONDERFUL skin.  Are you a singer? A model?’  I looked hard at him and the fuckwit word nearly slipped out of my mouth before I realised that it was his Italian accent and he had actually asked me whether I was single or a mother.

The FABULOUS product was applied to one bag and then a mirror handed to me (not before he had checked out his own reflection, it has to be said).  Bugger me backwards, my eyebag looked totally different.

‘How much?’ I asked weakly.

More words and flamboyant gestures followed…..special price because I like you so much…..we’ll send you out a gift from head office….blah, blah, blah……I was starting to feel a bit ill - and not from the heat.

Daniel clutched my hands and stared into my eyes. ‘You need to take care of your skin now, so that when you are an old lady, you look just as wonderful as you do today.’

I handed over my credit card and he walked over to the checkout with me.

‘You are my favourite customer today, so I am popping in a little something extra for you,’ he smiled [it was a nail file].  He handed me a slip of paper and a pen – 'Could you write down your name and phone number for me....'

The silk-sheets of the Palazzo puffed into focus again.

‘....So that I can add your details to our database and you can become one of our preferred clients.’ The palazzo shattered into a thousand fragments again.

‘Oh yes, of course’ I smiled, bright, brittle.

He touched me on the cheek with that cool, soft hand. ‘You will always get an extra 10% off when you shop with me.’ he said sincerely.

My products were put into a couple of bags and my poor credit card was handed back, slightly charred around the edges. ‘Thanks for that, it was lovely, Daniel’ I said, turning towards him.

But, of course, he was gone.

Epilogue:  I went home and gingerly showed off my new purchases (without revealing the price).  Mum and Sonshine were quite impressed.  I popped some of the eye-gel onto one bag and waited a couple of moments for the transformation to take place.

I looked at Sonshine.

‘Do my eyebags look different to each other, ‘I asked.

Sonshine nodded.

‘Which one looks better, darling?’

A grubby finger pointed to the becreamed eye.  Huzzah, it worked!

Ever helpful, Sonshine continued: ‘The other one just looks baggy and old, but this one [he points to the creamed one] just looks like you’ve been crying a lot.’


Image:  The Beauty Counter Blog


  1. Thank you for this post today. It made me laugh out loud several times. I am the same age as you so I know how daunting these things can be and it is so good to see the humour. I will be reading this to anyone who will listen. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Sorry, I normally lurk, but someone did the same to me with these products once. Fortunately I was with a good friend who helped me not buy the stuffs. About fifteen minutes later my hands were burning as I have sensitive skin and was allergic to the product, which has given me a good excuse when people approach me in department stores now.

    I really like your blog.

  3. WTNVG and Siobhan - I get into such a flap when these people try to sell to me. I'm always nice. I'm even nice to people who phone at meal times to ask whether I want to change my gas supplier.

    I need to develop a strategy....suggestions welcome!

    Saying that you have sensitive skin MIGHT work, but everyone is flogging hypoallergenic this and paraben-free that - I think I might just go with the 'tailing a suspect' line - no one can argue with that ;-)

    Glad I made you smile and even gladder that you are no longer lurkers :-)

    Lovely to meet you!

    Ali x

  4. Haha! this post made me laugh a lot. How well can I relate to that ;) but I can also offer you a good excuse next time; just say "I'm allergic to EVERYTHING" - sadly, for me that's the truth; I cannot indulge myself with these lovely smelling creams, but have to stick to E45 and Diprobase ;( Sales assistants also hear me say "I'm not into make-up really" (even though it's obvious I've got it on my face ;)) or after a tempting offer of rejuvenating my skin and making me look 10 years younger, I'd say "Not interested" LOL!
    Anyway, best get your excuses ready for next time ;) xx

  5. LMAO that must be one old pot of Olay for £4 :D

  6. Christiane - might try that!

    Viv - it's THAT old it's still called Oil of Ulay ;-)

    Ali x

  7. Frasers (which I assume is where you were) terrifies me! I only go in for Mac, Molton Brown and Benefit, because none of them try to force things on you.

    Next time, you must go through the side door into the mens bit. You aren't hijacked nearly as much.

  8. Brilliant! Ali that it SO funny but I could almost feel myself in your place. We are such suckers at times :-) good looking bloke, (especially if Mediterranean) smooth talking, eye to eye contact, skin to skin contact and we're away. Fun while it lasts though. This will keep me amused for a while yet! X

  9. Hee hee heee! That's hilarious. Daniel sounds like quite the charmer ;). I truly wish your answer to "what do you use?" had been haemorrhoid cream though, lol.

    Jane x

  10. You made me snort coffee over my laptop! Such sensitive creatures we are, desperate to be thought of as beautiful but knowing in our hearts of hearts that it's all about the sell. I look absolutely stunning in my own mirror at home - the light is just perfect and I know the best angles to view my wobbly bits. Approached in a dept store, I would be as you described, hot, sweaty, pudgy and handing over my credit card with the flattery. Damn Daniel and all those like him!

  11. LOL - thanks for putting a smile on my face today ;-)


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