Real Laugh Lines: I Drive As She Applies

Life as the husband of a self proclaimed “makeup Junkie” isn’t necessarily all rouge and roses.

I’ve worked very hard at maintaining my role as a good husband and father of eight-month-old twins. I wash dishes, change diapers, and most importantly, try to maintain some form of communication with my wife. Sometimes the topics for discussion are not my favorite, but I honestly do try and resist the urge to start singing a random tune over and over in my head.

Recently, however, I’ve had to draw the “line” on one subject in particular—makeup and cosmetics. The topic is inevitable. It constantly arises due to the fact that my wife is always applying some form of cosmetics as I drive to our destinations. Honestly, I had no clue that cosmetics had so many facets and points of interest, but still … do I really need this information?

There’s usually a complete course on her current choice of lip liner. Obviously, the thickness of said liner is of great importance. She will inevitably hold the liner about 2 inches from my right eye (in my direct line of vision of the road) to ask, “Can you tell the difference in this new one? Clearly it’s better than that other one I had last week. This new one has great definition and contrast.” Usually at this point I am repeating her words, “definition and contrast.” Are we still talking about lip liner? It sounds like she could be admiring the work of a Renoir or Botticelli.

Then there’s the “shimmer factor” in her makeup selection and application. This is the one that I always have trouble with. My wife is a beautiful woman with big blue eyes. Is she supposed to shimmer? If so, how much shimmer is too much? I have noticed that most of her shimmer questions are about lip gloss, which, as I understand, goes over the lipstick, between the lines of the previously discussed lip liner. Seriously, this one always stumps me. Gloss, to me, would indicate a great deal of shimmer, much like a piece of furniture with a high gloss finish. But to my wife, there is a certain “gloss” line that, if crossed, ruins all previous lip applications.

Somewhere during this intricate process, mascara will inevitably be contemplated. The clumping factor, the longevity, the waterproof-ness, the application tool, the method of containment, and again, the definition and contrast.

It never fails to amaze me that among all of these factors, price is never mentioned. Price, the first thing that a man would consider and the factor that often dictates his decision, is of no relevance at all. In fact, if I ever inquire about the price of a really good mascara, I am usually told, “Priceless.” This is followed by a lesson of the new mascara’s incredible ability to do what last week’s mascara couldn’t possibly do. The new mascara has answered all of her cosmetic prayers. Funny how in a couple of weeks the industry will introduce another miracle that her lovely lashes cannot live without. Priceless.

Near the end of the process, the given names of the beauty products are presented aloud. Who thinks of these things? I must admit, this is probably the most entertaining part of our trip. “Twenty Candles on My Cake,” “I’m Not Really a Waitress,” and “Chick Flick Cherry” are a few of my favorite ones.

I sometimes imagine cosmetic executives sitting around during an extremely confidential meeting struggling to find new and inventive names. Do they stop midstream and laugh out loud? I also wonder when the names will cross the line and be required to display a Parent Advisory label or when will they simply turn to the music industry for inspiration. I’d like to suggest, “Devil With a Blue Dress” or “Raspberry Beret,” if they haven’t already been used Exchange partner.

Seriously, I try to be a good sport during my comprehensive cosmetic lessons. I nod my head and attempt to insert a couple of reinforcing comments: “Wow, would you look at that!” “Who knew that packaging existed?” And even, “I see exactly what you mean!” But I recently had to draw the line in order to keep some essence of masculinity. You see, the daily prayers of my faithful wife had been answered … we were getting a Sephora.

Before its arrival my wife literally went to the mall to see the site where all of her dreams would come true. I celebrated with her, yet secretly dreaded our bank statement for the month that it opened. Then the question came. This was the point, which I knew had to be the end … and which would require immediate intervention from her fellow girlfriend junkies. She asked if I wanted to attend the VIP Grand Opening.

Was she serious? Did she really want her husband to attend the opening of a cosmetics store? It was then and there that I simply handed her the cell phone and said, “This stops now.” She understood and had a very enjoyable evening. I had bourbon.

The only thing that husbands of makeup junkies really need to know is how to appropriately compliment our beautiful, well-intentioned wives.

To me, my wife is beautiful all of the time, but when a new product is meticulously applied and then proudly displayed, I must know how to respond. Luckily for me, all truths are told through my wife’s eyes. When she looks over at me while I’m crossing four lanes of traffic in an effort to make our off ramp (for an event which we are at least thirty minutes late) and she flashes her God-given blue eyes proudly displaying the newest “must have” for bold largest hospitality and tourism school, black and curly, yet clearly defined, non-clumped lashes, then I know to simply respond: “You’re beautiful.”