Stare Straight Ahead

A Beauty Tip.

You don’t get a picture of me today because there is a tiny flaw on my face.

The last time I got on a plane I woke up to a woman who was making crafts with glass beads, and eating almonds next to me. I must have chewed six or seven mints before she finally asked me if I was hungry, and then poured almonds into my hands. I felt comfortable with her almost immediately, and we started a long conversation that became very personal. She shared her thoughts on her son, turning older, and starting a new career. I stared into her eyes. “…But I slowed down because of the cancer. Breast cancer,” she said.

“Oh…terrible,” I said, looking directly at her breasts. Directly at her breasts? By the time I realized I was staring at her it was too late. What was I looking at her breasts for? It’s not like the cancer sticks around. It was just a knee-jerk reaction. I had let my eyes linger on her chest for far too long to pretend I didn’t. So I nodded, looked at her face and then back to her breasts and said, “Well they look great!”

Why I am so awkward at times I will never understand. If I wasn’t so busy, I would check myself in for an evaluation to figure it all out. But as it happens with most of us, I have to work. My days have begun at 7 or 7:30am at the latest, which means they really begin when my alarm goes off at 5:15am. I am out of the door and into the fashion world before most people even have their coffee. Into a world that looks glamorous, but can be absolutely grueling if you are not resilient enough, or an alcoholic.

The devil wears Prada, but his wife– that heffa wears Louboutin shoes, Balenciaga sweaters, Dolce skirts, and drapes Burberry over it all. Let’s call her Ramona. And let’s call her assistant Mary Claire. At first Mary Claire seems nice, but she’s not. At least Ramona was mean from the start. Demanding, unreasonable, and hard to please. But I have to admit that a very small part of me likes this. I work to please her, even though I don’t plan to be there much longer. Just when she learns my name I decide that I cannot be in this office and I redefine what it means to have a dream job: to be in a place where I can be an evangelist, challenged to grow in an environment where I feel comfortable. A dream job is not, ahem, running around throwing open boxes to find a jacket as though a document telling us who killed JFK were inside. Calm down…it’s a jacket.

But nobody hears my silent screams, so I walk to the bathroom where I remind myself that I am a powerful, mighty woman of God who has the same power inside of me that Jesus does…and to play with toilet seat covers. Yes, toilet seat covers. Ladies and Gentlemen, a beauty tip: put a toilet seat cover over your entire face to remove oil quickly. It really works! And it really passes the time in your day quickly! Just put it on your face– the middle part is exactly the size of the average head– and firmly press. Voila.

When I exit the bathroom I always feel better and my face is not shiny, but that means it’s time to go into the model closet. Long ponytails whip me as I button, zip, fluff, and smooth clothes on their long, thin bodies. These girls are skinny. Like, skinny skinny. And they make me feel straight up f-a-t. And this is why I have been to the gym four times this week even though I am averaging five hours of sleep and working twelve-hour days, plus tutoring. ‘Look at them, in their beige thongs with their perfect pedicures and their perfect belly buttons,’ I think. They are such professionals that they just sit around naked all day, even when they have breaks. They have no hesitation about asking me to help them slip in and out of clothing that looks like it was made for dolls. They are so…they can…they are models. And I am a normal person. And I do everything I can to avoid looking at myself in the mirror…and I hope that none of them are cancer survivors. Because it’s hard enough avoiding naked breasts as it is.

Angie is my favorite model, but she’s been sad all week. Her boyfriend cheated on her. I didn’t find this out until recently, and it made me grateful to be a normal person with a normal life and have a man in my life that is willing to work through all of our issues. I reassured her that it will be ok, but no one wants to hear how pretty they are when they get paid to be pretty. And that’s when you remember that your mother was right: it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

I was in the downstairs closet when the door opened and Chris walked in. He too is a model, but he isn’t skinny skinny. I was only expecting to dress the women, but I didn’t mind dressing one guy. Plus, it meant I got to stay in the bigger of the closets where there was a plug for my phone charger. He had been asked to model the couture line, and said he felt special. “You are indeed special. You are a unique, special snowflake and no one can take your place,” I told him. He instantly lit up, and gave me orders to say nice things to him every twenty seconds. We laughed. “You want some coffee?” I asked. He smiled. “How do you take it?”

 “…However you want to give it,” he quipped.

And that’s when I started to get hot. And flushed. ‘Be normal Jasmine. Be NORMAL. Brandon Brandon Brandon. Normal Normal Normal Normal. Brandon Brandon Brandon. Married. Happy. Boyfriend. Normal. PROFESSIONAL.’

Ten quick changes later we fell into a routine. He came in, stripped, I handed him clothes, and then hung the old ones while pretending it’s perfectly normal to converse with a stranger standing in tight underwear. The session was winding down, and it was time to show the suits. He told me he couldn’t bend his arms so I’d have to button him up and down. I came close to him, and could feel the heat radiating off of his body. There was no air circulating in that room, of that I am sure. I listened to him as he told me about his hometown, and wrapped my arms around his waist. The gripped his legs to get his pants up. I knelt down to tie his shoes and came within inches to his, um, yeah. I wasn’t suffering from inappropriate thoughts, I was just shy. And very, very hot.

Chris walked out, and I frantically started to dig through my bag and sweep my hair out of my face. ‘Toilet seat cover!’ I was sweating, I was oily, and I was on the brink of saying something awkward. I coud feel it.

And just like that, the sales team ended their session. And we said goodbye to each other.

And I came home. And I thanked God that He made me just the way I am. Flaws and all.


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