Wednesday, March 03, 2010
My Mother's Make Over
One of the best parts about writing this column is that I get to have new and unusual experiences. I learned how to shuck an oyster, avoided getting a job on an alligator farm and gave my mother an inside look at the cutthroat business of recycling aluminum cans. This week I tried my hand at being a make-up artist.
It was a cold and cloudy morning when my mother and I drove to Abbeville for our latest job interview. We’d normally be drinking coffee at that time, but because of a busy week, I’d had to make an early appointment. It was evident that we hadn’t had time to fully wake up yet, because sleep filled the corners of my eyes, and there was a faint mark of a pillowcase zipper on the side of my mother’s cheek.
“Why are you interviewing Merle Norman?” my mother asked.
“I’m interviewing Anne Eleazar,” I answered. “She’s the owner of the store that sells Merle Norman cosmetics.”
Originally opened in 1988 by Eleazar’s mother, the little green store sits on the corner of the historic streets of North Jefferson and West St. Victor Street in Abbeville. In addition to makeovers and free make-up lessons, Merle Norman’s product line includes twenty-six blushes in three forms, over seventy-five different foundation choices and approximately thirty shades of lipstick.
“I came to work for my mom after I graduated from college,” says Eleazar. “I loved it so much that I’m still here after twenty years.”
According to Eleazar, skin care plays an important part in how good your make-up is going to look. She suggests washing your face every morning and evening, using sunscreen and moisturizer daily, and exfoliating weekly.
“The biggest mistake women make is choosing the wrong make-up,” says Eleazar. “Everyone is an individual, so they should test their cosmetics before they buy them.”
Eleazar’s favorite part of her job is the interaction she has with the customers. She enjoys helping them look their best because it seems to improve their mood.
“My most memorable customer was a little girl with cancer who needed some make-up for her dance recital,” says Eleazar. “She looked so sad at first, but after I gave her a make-over, she couldn’t stop smiling.”
After I asked my last question, I looked around the shop for a job I could work. The walls surrounding me had pictures of giant lipsticks, compacts and women looking down and laughing. It made me feel ashamed as if I’d accidentally stepped into the ladies bra and underwear section at a department store.
“Most men are afraid to come in here,” Eleazar said. “Are you okay? You look uncomfortable.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “It’s just a little early.”
I lied. It was time to do a job and the only one I could think of was to put make up on my mother. I began to wish I’d taken the job on the alligator farm.
But a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. So with a little foam pad, I applied blush to my mother’s cheeks, covering the faint mark of the pillowcase zipper.
“You put too much,” my mother told me as we drove away from Merle Norman. “I look like a clown.”
The sun started shining and I got a better look at the makeover I’d given to my mother. She had two red cheeks like a Raggedy Ann doll, or Mrs. Claus.
“Ms. Eleazar was right,” I said and laughed out loud. “Going to Merle Norman does put a person in a better mood.”
For more information on the services and products offered by Anne Eleazar at Merle Norman call 337-893-8463.