Some years ago, when famed RuPaul wore the ambassadorial sash for M.A.C (Make-up Artists Cosmetics) it was a pretty good signal that this company was brave enough to dramatically differentiate, deviate really, from make-up market norms. M.A.C. is a stridently progressive brand too, and puts its money where its pretty mouth is. Since 1994 they have kicked in north of $135 million to the M.A.C. Aids Fund through sales of their Viva Glam product line. Bravo M.A.C. Goodness can be good for business too. They win a lot of young consumers hearts early, and do much to lock them in for life. M.A.C. locked in an older consumer just last week. I thought I would share the story with you here today.
I gave the nice people at the Lennox Square Macy’s M.A.C. counter a call to book a make-over.
“ ... Sure, terrific, what time are you looking at …. Good, I’ll have someone ready for you. What name do you want this reserved for?”
OK. That was simple and unfussy. Nice. I did up my face with liquid concealer, setting powder (Derma Blend, great stuff), glossed the lips, threw on a little cheek color, wigged up, slid a nice big pair of shades over my undone eyes and hit the road.
Fully padded, dressed and heeled I click clacked in at the appointed time, and was warmly welcomed. My technician was going to be ready in 5 minutes, so I was encouraged to look around, and to take a flip through their look book so that they could get an idea of where exactly I wanted to take my face.
The first thing I noticed looking around was the interior promotion signage: All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. You will note that it does not say “Both Sexes”, it says All Sexes. I think this is the most inclusive statement I have ever seen on a corporate welcome mat. You just know you are in the right place, and not breaking any new ground.
Pratur, our cosmetician for the evening, introduced himself, showed me a chair, and we started talking. Eye treatment was complementary with a $25.00 purchase, and a full facial re-do would run only an additional $25.00. In for a penny, in for a pound says I, and so we trowelled my handiwork off and started from scratch. The shop was buzzing with people, really quite busy. Atlanta based readers will know that there is a pretty thick current of people surging through Lennox practically any time of the day. It was only slightly unnerving to have my clearly unmade guy face pretty much out in the open, but do you know, people just kept shopping and really did not pay any mind.
Eyes first, lashes expertly glued on, liner to my completely deforested lower lash line. A tri-color effect for the upper eye with the objective of achieving smokiness. Objective achieved. Brows now shaped and darkened, and the reapplication of cream base and finishing powder was then engaged. It was at this point that I could see the whole effect really take root, and lost the worry that anyone on the planet could actually recognize me as me.
There was lots of general chit-chat along the way. Pratur moved north to Georgia from Florida so that he could enjoy more seasons. I moved south to Georgia in part so that I could enjoy fewer. He noticed my wedding band, and asked if my wife knew. Yes, and I mentioned it was a tough thing to do, took a long time to find the nerve, and a great relief now. He replied that as a gay man, he had some sensitivity to acceptance and sharing struggles, so there we were, strangers with something different in common.
He finished up with the lips and cheeks, and the effect was to me, the best that has ever been achieved with my raw, raw material. Totally happy, I could not help smiling. And yes, they do want you smiling at this point in the exchange when the shopping starters pistol is fired. They eye shadows, some base cream, and a couple of pencils came out at around $70.00, but there is much more than a good amount of inventory for the investment, and a prettier face for the evening.
I kept my eyes open. I really paid attention to technique. I asked questions, and filed answers. In short, I learned enough to improve my own capabilities by a huge leap. There is a money saver right there.
Make-up has always been my biggest stumbling block. I think I pushed it pretty far off the path on this evening. The department store make up counter has always been on my Stations of the Cross Dresser list (# 5 out of 14), and was a milestone I made ages ago. This time around though I felt much more in a state of grace with myself, and my dressing. Beyond that, the whole M.A.C vibe is so in tune with the special requirements of my market segment, that this entire experience was a real topper. One more odd customer for life for M.A.C, a nice new face for me, and a prettier world for everyone else. I hope that whatever age, race, or sex you are that you have felt the same way, or will feel inclined to give M.A.C. a chance the next time you want to look your best.
Off into the mall, and on with the evening. More later.