Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sephora Intimidation

I'll admit that my self-confidence falters sometimes. Okay, a lot.  On the ninth day of an 11 day tour of Ireland, Wales, England, and Paris, I found myself on the Champs Élysées  in Paris, checking the place out.  (Last week, actually.) It was hot, I was exhausted beyond my limit, my arches were falling to the pits of Hell, my sciatic nerve pain was rearing up, and I was tired of being accosted by panhandlers.  I was HURTING, in a completely shouty capitals way.  And I didn't want to let on that I was miserable, nor miss seeing a thing while I was there.

I wasn't all that excited to be in Paris, because it was overcrowded and there was trash all over the place.  I also had no idea what a big deal the Champs Élysées really was.  Ha ha. I'm such a country mouse.  

Let me give you a hint about my tiredness: a couple of hours later I was sitting on a bench on that street, and I kept falling asleep.  My eyes were literally crossing and rolling around uncontrollably, so I put on my sunglasses to disguise that fact.  I was really too tired do any acting and pretend I belonged there.

Our tour director had pointed out the Sephora store as a great place to find whatever perfume you wanted, and I wanted to compare the price of Hypnotic Poison eau Sensuelle to what I'd seen on the ferry from Dublin to Holyhead.  So I went in, all by myself, thinking it would be a little cosmetics shop....

OMG did you know that's their biggest freaking store in the world??  I didn't!  There were hundreds of people in that front section of the store alone, and I'm sure that fifty of them at least were Sephora staff.  (I believe they have a cuter name than "staff", but I can't remember what that is.). 

Three of them faced me like Stygian witches and asked what they could help me with. I stammered that I was just browsing, determined to find that perfume on my own, because I wasn't going to buy it on that stop, most likely.  (3-1-1 regulations and carryon limits were the problem, and fear of thieves with checked luggage) I expected Parisian retail snottiness, but really, they weren't like that in the five seconds I interacted with them. I was also afraid because my French skills SUCK.  I can read a menu, find the bathroom, and say all the courtesies and niceties properly, but discussing makeup techniques?  Ain't happening.

I probably seemed as furtive as a potential shoplifter.  Truth? The place scared me.  My stomach started hurting. I have never felt so out of my element in my life! I like being a girly girl, I like dressing up pretty, and I like wearing makeup that makes me look pretty, but honestly, I feel like I pull off cosmeticized "prettiness" with all the flair of a tomboy little sister.  *sigh*. Hey, I'd love to be glamorous and gorgeous, but I think I'm utterly missing the poise  gene.  

And let's face it: I'd gotten up at five am, hadn't washed my hair, put on the minimum of makeup, and was dressed in touristy clothes.  I had literally passed out on the Eurostar from London to Paris before we hit the Channel tunnel, and woke up approaching the Paris station.  I was disappointed to have missed it after all that buildup, but I was facing backward on the train and I think the speed knocked me out.  I woke up with an aching neck, feeling absolutely greasy.

In short, I looked like a haggard, swollen, badly dressed tourist.  I felt even worse than that.  (This trip, my ankles didn't balloon... My entire torso swelled, hips to ribs.  I started avoiding all mirrors. )

What I should have done was to go in and ask for a makeover.  :).  I didn't know that was an acceptable thing to do.  I could have come out looking drop-dead gorgeous and overdone for my current wardrobe, or I could have come out looking like an escapee from Madame Tussaud's.  In any case, I'll bet it would have done wonders for my self-concept, but instead I'm feeling like a frumpy fat scaredy-cat.  

I didn't even really go but about fifty feet into the store, when a stronger will should have had me exploring every color-filled row there was in each floor of the store.  Who knows, the makeover girls might have even been nice.  I might have exited feeling attractive for once.  I probably could have spent a lot of money in there, and not just on a bottle of Poison.  :) LOL. Not that that's a good thing, but you know.  I think it would be nice to feel absolutely beautiful at some point, and not perpetually existing in someone else's shadow.  

I didn't have time for a makeover, however.  Everybody else in my tour group was waiting outside the store for me, and when I came out I felt like I had emerged a failure from the Cave of Glamour.  I'm pretty sure I nearly ran out, I was so freaked out by the magnitude of the place.  A friend to explore with would have helped, I'm certain.  

Maybe one day I'll steel my nerves to go back into Sephora somewhere, and see if they can unlock my hidden (oh so VERY WELL HIDDEN) gorgeousness.  :)

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