They held the Oscars extremely close to my birthday this year, which just blew my whole week. First, it put a heck of a damper on my party, since three-quarters of the guest list were presenting this year. Second, the reminder that I'm another year older and fatter made it difficult to get as worked up over starlets in slinky dresses as I've been able to in years past.
Last year, we did the whole Oscar Party scene. We dressed up in beautiful, expensive outfits. We sipped champagne and nibbled exotic hors d'ouerves. Then we took turns rushing to the bathroom to purge so we wouldn't gain any weight, babbled on the cell phone with our agents, got married, had affairs, then divorced all in the same drunken fifteen minute blur, and then sat around and asked if chicken of the sea was a bird or a fish, just as if we were real celebrities.
This year, I took one look at Salma Hayek, looking sleek and gorgeous on the red carpet and then flipped the channel and spent the rest of the evening watching SpongeBob SquarePants with my daughter. I still look sexier in an evening gown than SpongeBob.
Possibly the greatest tragedy of my life was that I only learned to wear little black dresses and too much lipstick a single year before I got too fat to wear little black dresses. (You're never too fat to wear too much lipstick. Trust me. I believe I have proven that empirically.) But the next morning, as I stared at my new, older self in the mirror, I had an inspiration.
Salma Hayek looked good in a little black dress. Salma Hayek wore lots of eye makeup. Maybe if I did my eye makeup like her, I'd look good in a little black dress again, too!
Forty minutes of mousse, mascara and buckets of dark blue eye shadow later, I stepped back to look at the results. Perfect makeup. Perfect hair. Yup. I had just proven (empirically) that you're never too old to look like an aging hootchie.
Five minutes after that, my hair blew out and all my lipstick was smeared on the rim of my coffee cup. The look? Aging hootchie in the police station reporting a mugging.
I hate Salma Hayek.
By then, I had just enough time to get my daughter, Lillian, ready and have lunch with my parents. "My god, did you file a police report?" Dad said as soon as he saw me. He always cares.
"Dear, Salma Hayek has professional makeup assistance," Mom said. She always understands.
"Mommy blecch eye," Lillian pointed out with a two-year-old's grasp of tact. I'll say this for my little Tiger-Lily, she's consistent. Throughout the rest of the meal, she scandalized my parents by insisting on chewing noisily with her mouth open and showing everyone the partially-masticated contents.
"Lillian, that's disgusting. People don't want to look at that," I tried to be maternal.
"You talking about her eating or your eye makeup?" my father asked helpfully as Lill pretended to belch loudly.
Ignoring him, I continued explaining to my daughter, "Princesses don't eat like that. Only big, smelly guys eat like that." Okay, I was reaching, but she's only two and I'm still a rookie at this parenting thing.
"Are you saying she looks like a football player?" Dad asked innocently. He enjoys watching my attempts at parenting way too much.
"Maybe if you're talking about the back end of Randy Moss," Mom hmphed.
Later that evening, when my husband asked me how my day went, instead of answering him, I scribbled for a minute on a piece of paper, then handed him the following summary:
Some things are ugly, child
I will not lie to you
Like a finger up your nostril
Or mouth open as you chew
It's like an elephant walking backwards
Or the wrong end of Randy Moss
A snail squished on the sidewalk
Or cookies that have been tossed
Bad manners make you ugly
Though it may be harsh to say
Ugly like when the dog's butt got shaved
And he looked the same both ways
Or like that tragic-looking Oscar gown
That was so unfortunate fore or aft
A high-profile, interchangeable,
Over-priced designer gaffe
People will dance around it,
But some things are ugly, child
Just as its always lovely
To hear "thank you" and see a smile.
Comments and makeup tips to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the March 6, 2005 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.