I don’t really have a beauty regimen. I usually just slap on some foundation, eyeliner, mascara and call it a day. My maximum effort is getting manicures and haircuts semi-annually. Lately, eyelash extensions have been very much on my radar and seem trendy, even for people who aren’t the Kardashians. I had been wanting to try them for a while, and decided to take the plunge. I spoke to one of my girlfriends who had them, and she said, “I just roll out of bed, and go to work. I don’t even wear makeup anymore.” WHAT?! You mean I could be putting even LESS effort into my beauty routine? Sold, bitch.
I perused Yelp for less than 10 minutes, found a place near me, and called to schedule an appointment. I was ready for my new life.
I arrived at a small space that was maybe the size of a semi-wealthy person’s closet. I was greeted by two pretty girls about my age. They were friendly enough and the one who was doing my eyelashes asked me a few questions about what I wanted. I showed her a picture from her website of a set that looked rather mild and told her I was going for a more natural look with some volume. “Like yours, yours look nice,” I said. She nodded and had me lay down on a table with a little grey travel pillow under my head. “This is great,” I thought. “I get to lay down, power through this hangover, and wake up with basically a new face.” The girls talked to each other a bit. Mostly about boy problems, some small talk about traveling, and one lecture about the danger of riding motorcycles.
After about two hours, the girl – let’s call her Karen – told me to open my eyes. I felt like someone had just given birth to me and I was seeing the world for the first time. But with more eyelashes than an infant might have. Karen put her face over mine and examined my eyes. “How do they look? Am I pretty yet?” I asked. She told me to go over to the mirror and check them out for myself. I got up, eager and ready, and looked in the mirror. This is one of the few times in life that I’ve actually seen myself look horrified in real time. My eyelashes were now 8 feet long and capable of creating a local hurricane. I was worried that if I blinked too quickly, I would spontaneously start flying into U.S. airspace and be detained for not having a license. I was no longer Tatianna. I was Cinnamon – a young stripper trying to make ends meet.
I tried not to panic, and said, “They’re…a little long.”
“You’ll get used to them!” she explained. “Let us know how you feel in a few days.” I didn’t want to offend Karen. This was her job, and honestly, if I actually was a stripper, these would’ve been great for my career. I left, and tried to hide my face on the way back to my car. “Shit, shit, shit.” I got in the car and looked at myself again in the mirror. “I can’t go to work like this. I have a regular person job.” I said to Cinnamon. I started calling everyone that was close to me to see what my options were. Here are some of the reactions I got after sending around some close-up pictures:
“You look like you have a Snapchat filter on.”
Laughter. Followed by more laughter.
“They’re not THAT bad.”
“You look like an insta model. You just need a spray tan.”
And it’s not exactly something you can hide – sure sunglasses inside are always a good option – but that really isn’t my style. Just like these lady-of-the-night lashes weren’t my style.
I called Karen back almost immediately and asked what I could do to “dial these puppies back a bit.” After some back and forth, she had me come back in to see the other girl that was there. Let’s call her Becky. Becky looked me straight in my ready-for-take-off eyes and lied. “They look soooo good.” She commented. “Just wait until tomorrow! You’ll get so many compliments once people see them.”
“I’ve already shown them to people and the reactions were NOT complimentary.” I informed her.
“Okay, well we can take some of them off and see how you feel.” I laid down on the tiny bed and calmed down a little. After a few minutes she held a mirror up to my face. “There that’s better, I think.” She said.
I looked at myself. Cinnamon was staring back at me. I turned around and looked her dead in the eyes. “I look like a porn star.”
She laughed and did a poor job trying to convince me that they looked good. “Can’t we just cut them or something?” I asked.
“Oh my God! Nooooo!” She said. “Here, let me show you what would happens. I love educating my clients!” Becky was nice, but she wasn’t the brightest bulb. She didn’t seem to realize that I would never be her client.
“Let’s just take them all off,” I said. She looked a little petrified, briefly tried to talk me out of it, and eventually agreed. She had me lay down, and put what felt like soap directly into my eyes. It burned, but I didn’t care. I just wanted these little wind turbines off my face. I listened to Becky as she tried to offer me a new free set. “Fool me once!” I thought. I thanked her and apologized for erasing all their work. I looked in the mirror one last time. Tati was back in all her makeup-less glory.