23 May 2010
In which Hestia gets Daniel-ed
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.
‘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
Delphic utterances by Alison Cross at 22:36
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