Sephora and the Land of Fully Ripened Women

red hatsSo the hubs had to go to Vegas on business and I tagged along, laptop in tow–I’m a writer and, as such, I’m always on high alert for inspiration. One morning while Homer indulged some spoiled clients, I ventured down several floors and found myself in Sephora. Oh my! What to do? Alone with no apoplectic hubs aghast over the price of mascara, no eye-rolling at what pore-filler does, no watch-thumping, no deep sighs. Just exhilarating, unencumbered freedom. Now it’s important to know that I didn’t need a darn thing—I have a steamer trunk of beauty aids and a 5-year supply of my favorites—but it’s Sephora, so I had no choice but to shine up my plastic and commandeer a shopping cart foolishly left unattended on the sidewalk. (It did have a cat in it, but we got along fine.) If I purchased just the right recipe, I could walk out looking like a Tahitian sand goddess, or a porcelain-skinned kabuki dancer, or a goth inspired she-devil, or even Bruce Willis for that matter.

So there I was languidly roaming cosmetic utopia when in walked more than a dozen of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. Two were pushing two in wheelchairs. One dragged an oxygen tank, and one ambulated with the use of a bejeweled walker. Most were wearing some shade of purple. They all wore red hats. Shut the front door! I’d heard of the exclusive club, but this was my first sighting, and, with fascination akin to that of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society, I stood in appreciative awe. These were lovely and wizened women who didn’t give a damn. The little bouncerette—a tiny, lovely creature who stood at the entrance of the store, eyes trained for shoplifters and poised to pounce if she encountered one—said, “Welcome ladies. Are you celebrating?”

“Honey,” said one in a gravelly voice. “We celebrate getting up in the morning!”

They filled the space with such elegant synergy that I simply had to follow them. Now, I have excellent hearing (especially when I’m eavesdropping), so in my surreptitious nonchalance I caught several scintillating snippets of their conversations: the mysterious death of an ex-husband (ooooh), the criminal price of olive oil (I hear ya sister), and the heartbreak of a dying pooch (ouch). They talked books (DOBG, anyone?) and the best source for foundation garments (Nordstroms—I knew that). They lamented insomnia, Obamacare, and the downward spiral of American IDOL. As they gabbed, they slathered cover, blush, and eighty-dollar moisture into velvety wrinkles. They shakily applied gaudy color onto perpetually smiling lips and rubbed exotic lotions into hands undoubtedly responsible for countless small miracles.

In their wake, I planned my own octogenarian years (right around the corner), deciding then and there to outlive the hubs and surround myself with gals just like these. Fully ripened women take such good care of each other. Little old men, not so much. I pondered this, along with my excellent luck at being born female, while I waited in line behind them. Thirty minutes later, they had effectively tripled Sephora’s morning sales. Me? I bought a tube of Pink Fever lipstick (looked a tad silly in my shopping cart), and came up with a fabulous story about the dead ex. Well, hellooooo inspiration! What if the true super-secret-society purpose of this seemingly innocuous association of women who tallied more than a millennia between them was to plot the demise of unsuspecting, but wholly deserving, old farts… hmmmmmm.

She smiles. It has series written all over it!