Somehow, I just missed the make-up application stage of life. I imagine that when other girls were learning the finer points of eye and lip liner, I was discovering how to blow smoke rings and getting busted by cops for having a beer can in my friend’s car while wearing a 50’s poodle skirt as a coat (I had been in a dance show earlier that night and was cold). The end result was that I arrived in adulthood with no clue how to put myself together and so I rarely bothered. Helen, of course, knew all about girls like me: “Few women,” she wrote in Sex and the Single Girl, “wrest from make-up half the magic it offers.” (I was wresting roughly .05%.) So I learned how to start the process (one color of concealer for under the eyes, and another one for pimples—who knew?), continue the process (four coats of mascara, all applied by dragging the mascara wand over the lashes, all applied post curling), and continue to continue the process (apparently brown-colored eye shadows, which were what I always used when I was trying to dress up, aren’t best for brown-complected people).
In the end, I’d say I learned to wrest at least 75% of the magic offered. And that’s on a very good day.