A Woman Needs Girlfriends

“For a stick and bones frame, you sure jiggle a lot, Boss. Hold still. Stop fidgeting.”

I feel a brush sweep gently across my eyelid. If I was better at being girly I wouldn’t need to enlist the help of the hefty feline. Speaking of whom, my legs are going numb from her weight. Our tiny apartment doesn’t have room for a vanity, so I’m perched on the ledge of the bathtub with Fat balancing precariously on my lap so she can apply layers of makeup to my face. Unfortunately for me, I’m nervous about tonight and that feeling made me jump at the chance for any help. Fat, of course, came to the rescue.

The bathroom is ridiculously bright today. I’m pretty certain she switched out the regular lightbulbs for ones with greater watts. God forbid the feline misses a chance to check out my wrinkles under harsh lighting. Beside the tub, a multitude of products is displayed on the closed toilet lid; I have no idea what most of it is. Where is a good drag queen tutorial when you need one?

“Are you going to miss the spinster life? You were just starting to get good at it. That Chinese restaurant will miss delivering food to this particular shut-in. Their business is going to suffer, you know that right?” She leans over to her make-shift counter to get some more colour on the end of the brush. “Boss, close your eyes. I’m working here.”

The brush goes over the crease of my eyelid. Seems unnecessary; I was more or less hoping for some help with making my skin look better. The situation snowballed pretty fast – Fat’s even wearing one of those makeup tool belts to hold her brushes like the gorgeous people who work at MAC. “What kind of eyeshadow is this? It smells terrible.”

“It’s cigarette ash. I was going for that smoky eye look all the harlots are after. Do I have to tell you to close your eyes again? Honestly, I swear you like being difficult.” Fat cups my face in both paws to assess her work. In the moment I’m entirely dumbfounded, Fat licks the pad of her paw and wipes something away from the corner of my eye with her saliva.

“Could you please stop doing disgusting things to my face?”

Fat doesn’t respond to my, what I consider entirely reasonable, plea. “So tell me about the guy. Where did you meet him?” She grabs one of the bigger brushes out of her waist belt and grabs a small container of blush. God I hope it’s blush. She applies whatever it is to my cheeks.

“He’s a friend of a friend. Funny. Tall.” Remember, self, minimal details are your friend here. You don’t want the cat to get the idea you want to talk. Before you know it you’ll be hugging a pillow while lying on the couch and discussing your mommy issues.

“Gangly doofus. Sounds like a winner.” She goes for my face with something that looks like a hot pink Sharpie.

“Whoa, whoa. What the hell is that?” In an effort to dodge out of her way, I come dangerously close to falling ass backward into the bathtub. I regain balance and hold tight to the off-white edge of the tub.

Her green eyes travel to regard the pen then back to meet my gaze, “Lip liner.”

“Nope. No lip liner. My people don’t do most of this stuff that you’ve attacked me with. I’m taking a stand. This much makeup is unnecessary; I’m neither a pageant queen nor auditioning for a circus. I’m going to dinner and a show tonight. We’re done here.”  I pick her up and drop her on the floor and get on my feet before she can jump back up.

“If you just give me three more minutes…”

When I look in the mirror, I’m entirely horrified. “Fat, I look like the asylum gave me a day pass.”

Only panda bears and Avril Lavigne should have eyes that look like this. The blush is so orange against my pale skin it makes me feel like my face is attempting to outdo a sunset. No is the only word that comes to mind. No. No. No. No. No. No.

“I was trying to give you a look that says, ‘No need to buy the cow’. You don’t think it’s a success?”

I grab the makeup remover wipes. Multiple wipes. A handful. Less than three will not erase the catastrophe that used to be my money maker. I bury my face in the damp cloths and rub vigorously. Paint remover may be necessary. Oh Christ, the audacity.

“Who says concubines get to have all the fun? Excuse me for giving you the Pretty Woman treatment so you can go out and bag us a rich guy.”

When my face emerges from the collection of towelettes, the formerly white cloth is now an absurd rainbow. “I’d rather have a nice guy.”

“Money talks, Boss, and it says, ‘Buy your cat some decent food so she can stop eating the drivel you consider quality.’” Fat grabs a tube of mascara and jumps beside the bathroom sink so she can see herself in the mirror. Her mouth forms an ‘O’ shape as she applies the makeup to her whiskers to make them longer and more voluminous.

I reach for my phone when it beeps. “My cat deserves to starve for what she did to my face.” I read the text, “We can continue this later. He’s parked out front, I’ve got to go.”

“You’re going out like that?” The feline meets my eye in the mirror’s reflection. “No makeup?”

“Au natural.” I nod. “At least I feel like myself.”

“I’m sure it’ll go great and he’ll want to spend all the time in the world with a looker like you. So…see you in about ten minutes?”

 

Not in the Business of Minding Her Business

“Dusting for prints?” Fat comes into the bathroom and sits on top of the toilet tank to watch me fiddle with my makeup.

Face power sits loosely across my nose, unblended in response to a reminder of gravity’s existence. My hands, as well as the counter, are dusted in a layer of pale makeup particles. I do what any intelligent pet owner would; my face leans down near the sink, and I blow the loose powder in Fat’s direction. It clings softly to her fur.

She paws to get the colour of Tim Burton pallor off her nose. “Somebody needs to teach you to resist those impulses. You are such an id.”

“Id…iot?” I look up from collecting the remaining makeup disaster into my hands. I let it fall like snow over the small garbage can in the bathroom. The remaining powder that sticks to my hands gets wiped on my black shorts without any forethought. I look from the art project on my shorts to Fat, waiting for her to explain what I just did to myself.

Fat groans, already exasperated with our thirty second exchange. “Never mind. Just go back to putting on your human face.”

I grab the coffee mug from its temporary home beside the sink and drain the remaining liquid into my mouth. The mug rattles a little when I set it back down on the countertop.

“What’s your deal?” Fat watches my unsteady hands reach for the makeup brush and finally do something about the powder speckled across my nose which makes me look like I’ve had a rough go at inhaling cocaine.

I take a second swing at picking up the makeup container with the remaining face powder. My hands twitch uncontrollably, but not enough for anyone to notice – however, a portly feline with a make-believe PhD in Nonsense Jackassery always seems to notice everything.

“Okay. How much coffee have you had?”

The soft bristles graze my face. “Since when?”

“You’ve only been up for an hour.”

“I made a pot.” I pick up the eyeliner and drag the pencil across my lid; my fingers, however, embrace the pioneer spirit and make an unscheduled journey south. “Balls.” The eyeliner falls into the sink and I cover the piercing pain with the palm of my hand.

“That’s a good look for you, Captain Hook.”

“Captain Hook didn’t wear an eye patch, doofus.”

Fat chortles at my self-inflicted misfortune and unsuccessfully tries to cover a hoggish snort.

“Pig.” I grab the pencil from the sink and throw it like a ninja star. Thanks to skewed depth perception, I miss hitting her by more than half a foot.

Fat jumps out of the way and creates a new settlement on the bath mat. “Ass.”

Reluctantly, I take my hand off my eye and check out the damage in the mirror. One eye is pink from being sodomized by the makeup pencil and both are hyper-alert from jolts of caffeine. It appears like a kindergartener drew on my eyeliner.

“You look sexy.” Fat’s tail flicks in the air in playful sarcasm.

“Shut up, Fat.” I grab a cotton pad and the makeup remover, wiping the disaster from my face. New plan: no eyeliner today.

Fat kneads the bathmat and one of her claws gets stubbornly stuck. “Who are you getting all dolled up for anyways?” She pulls hard to free her talon, but the mat lifts up with her pull.

“Nobody.”

“Like I believe that. You and your secret-keeping. You know what’s going to happen, don’t you? This mystery person is going to piss you off in some way and you’re going to vent to me about their short-comings and tell me all about them anyways.” Fat continues her struggle for freedom, getting nowhere closer to unhooking herself. “I didn’t even know you were engaged in a flirtation a couple of weeks ago until you told me it was over because he perpetually mixed up words like lose and loose.”

“Idiocy is a deal breaker, Fat.”

Fat attempts to retract her claw from the mat with no avail. “Don’t tell me it’s the ‘When Harry Met Sally’ guy.” Her shoulders slouch and her tone becomes pathetic and whiny, “Little help?”

“I told you, that guy’s just a friend. This scenario is kind of different, Fat. I’m still trying to unravel my own thoughts on the situation. I’m not in the sharing hearts kind of place, but thanks.” I bend down and disengage her nail from the bath mat.

Fat smiles. “I bet you I can figure out what’s going on before you tell me.”

“Please mind your business, Fat.”

She rubs her body against the door frame. “We both know I can’t do that.”