9:50 p.m. | 2003-01-27

Tonight I left work on a mission to buy myself a new pair of shoes. Something really high and sleek and expensive.

I went to Bloomingdale's since it's on my way home and found an amazing pair of red BCBG Max Azria stillettos. On sale! They are HOT.

On my way out, I stopped to buy some foundation from Benefit and picked up a set of glosses. As I was leaving, I browsed the Tony & Tiny counter, in search of a gloss that I have that's running out.

Before I stopped to think, I was looking at the eye pens. The makeup artist, making a point, decided to quick demo of the pen on one of my eyelids.

The next thing I know, she's quinting at my face with that artist's eye and said, "You know, what? Do you have a minute? Can you sit down? I want to clean your face and start from scratch."

This always happens to me. Makeup artists, even those who are my friends, like to paint my face. And that's exactly what she said, "I'm not in a good mood, but I like you and I want to paint your face. I rarely offer, but you have a good face, so let's do this."

So there I sat, in my dumpiest of outfits, with my hair a mess because I didn't shower this morning, as the professional took over.

When she finished, I thought for sure I would look like a drag queen, but what I saw, took my breath away. It was understated but finished. My eyes, finely outlined with barely there edges of shimmering black-green liner and skin-toned shadows, protruded from my skin, which she had polished to look like porcelein. My mouth, wet with light-colored gloss, balanced my other features but didn't pull from the eyes. A woman came over and whistled. I laughed. I couldn't put the mirror down. I suddenly realized that it had been forever and exactly one day, since I had actually done my makeup. I had forgotten the power of the paint.

I walked out with a spring in my step and noticed as I left, men turning to look twice at me. Sometimes in NYC, it can feel like men look right through you. It becomes numbing.

It was good to get that feeling back. To make them look. To have that power.

All that power in some pretty packages of paint. It's worth it.

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