Stella Dixon’s take on romance at the shore – where the odds are good, but the goods are seriously odd.
I’m only twenty-five, but I’ve done my fair share of bronzing under a Cape May sun, and I’ve got the crow’s feet to prove it. When I received an invite to a skin care party last week, I decided it couldn’t hurt to de-wrinkle.
When I arrived, I joined a circle of women discussing pore size over a bottle of Merlot. The hostess welcomed me by poking at my face. “I’ve got just the zit cream for that bad boy,” she said, drawing everyone’s attention to the blemish. “And what are we going to do about those sun spots? And look at those droopy eyelids!”
Hoping that the party’s focus would soon move away from my face, I busied myself by sorting through a table of lipsticks. I tried one on without reading the label and, within a minute or so, my lips began to burn. I panicked, ran to the kitchen sink, and rubbed water over my mouth. The other women couldn’t help but laugh. Apparently, I’d picked up the lip-plumping stick. The tingling I felt, the hostess explained, was merely the collagen-enhancers at work on my “sexy pout.”
“No worries,” one of the girls told me, “you could use some fuller lips, anyway.”
I walked away from the party with $80 worth of anti-wrinkle, pro-plumping gels. I’m a sucker, I know, but I live in a world where Lindsay Lohan botoxes. When even pubescent girls are going plastic, it’s hard not to stress over droopy eyelids.
I felt pangs of buyer’s remorse, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the products hadn’t done the trick; three days after the party, a cute Cape May bachelor named Mark asked me out for dinner.
On the night of our date, I excused myself while Mark waited for me in the lobby of the restaurant. In front of the bathroom mirror, I checked for food between my teeth, patted my droopy eyelids, and analyzed the size of my pores. I applied some of my new lip plumper, and strutted in front of the empty stalls practicing my sexy pout. When I returned to the lobby, I found Mark in hysterics. I turned around to see why – a double-sided mirror. I was humiliated.
During such moments, a girl’s got two options; she can either laugh at herself, or she can cry. I decided to laugh along with my date at my own foolishness because I’d done quite enough pouting already.
There’s a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way – younger, prettier, poutier – and I often succumb to it. But if we obsess over things as inconsequential as lip size and sunspots, we can end up looking pretty silly. If dating in Cape May County has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes, a girl’s got to work with what she’s got.