9:30pm. Standing in what could only be described as the “Geriatric Wear” aisle of the Rite Aid
on Franklin, I held concealer in my hands.
Brand: Covergirl. Shade: Fair. The blue twist top. My most desperate necessity. Curse my
haggard, thin-skinned undereye for its perpetual darkness. I could not go a day without it. I could
sacrifice literally all other make-up tubes and tools if I had to. I could never curl my eyelashes
again. I could let my brows be the color they actually are. But not this. For the sake of looking as
I wasn’t on the cusp of literal and actual death, I needed this damn tube.
Not the highest quality of concealers, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t qualify what I do to my face in
the morning as a “regimen”. No. It is a face regime. I engage in skin warfare. The way I start to
apply my moisturizer is sick, rushing at a pace as if I’m being timed. About halfway through
application, my best friend (skin care magician, beauty guru) Ranna’s voice echoes through my
head: “Anna! Slow down! Your skin is your friend!”
What came first – the washing of my face, or the friend who told me to?
None of it matters in Rite Aid after dark. And yet some wave of rebellion washes over me. I
looked at my basket, full of beauty products I’ve purchased for years, brands and shades and
colors and things that were unattached to my identity and yet required for my presentation. I
balked at the weight of that basket. We carry the weight of femininity, the burden of
performative womanhood, and it is heavy!
So I held that concealer tight in my hands. My grip became tighter until the plastic seal burst
from the paper backing and the tube slipped out. I checked my 6:00, I checked my 12. No one
eyeing me. I slid the plastic cover into a tub of women’s slippers. I walked into the alcohol aisle
and slid the branded paper backing between two jugs of Carlo Rossi. And in a moment smoother
than any I’d had previously, the tube of concealer dropped into my purse.
No one the wiser.
I did complete the rest of my purchase of makeup goods, totaling some 87 dollars and change.
But I DID NOT pay for the tube. And that was satisfaction enough.