Tonight we drove out to my mother’s house to have dinner, and when I walked through the door I had to duck as she threw a large tube of Avon facial cleanser at my head. Because it is not okay that I admitted publicly to having something other than an Avon product in my bathroom, at least not on this website, one that is read by a few of her colleagues. But my ignorance is not at all my mother’s fault, because I have usually responded to her beauty advice by sticking my fingers in my ears. Not because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but because it makes her furious and there is something I enjoy a little too much about watching her top lip go missing. It is the same thing that thrills me when Jon screams from the bathroom that he has no more toilet paper, and I make a move to get him some a little more slowly than I should.
Only in the last few years have I really even been interested in cosmetics, and because we do not often have a reason to get dressed up around here, I am rarely a befitting representative of what the daughter of the Avon World Sales Leader should look like. On Friday night before Jon and I headed out on a date, I took a shower and actually put on some dangly earrings, a bit of make-up, and a bra made by someone other than Adidas. When I walked out into the living room where he and Leta were coloring, she looked up at me and blinked a few more times than was subtle. “Mama!” she proclaimed. “You look so pretty!” And she said “pretty” so incredulously, so shocked by what was happening right in front of her, that she couldn’t have been more astounded if I had just turned into a 400-lb black man.