Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

A Day in the Suburban Jungle

Posted by Lissa on March 27, 2009

10:35 AM

“I’m off to the mall, sweetie. I should be back around two or three or so.”
I left for the mall just FULL of purpose. I clearly defined my goals. I mapped out my routes for each store. I planned for parking debacles. I promised myself I would mentally smack only HALF of the obnoxious teeny-boppers I encountered. I was confident, prepared and ready.

I was wrong.


First stop: parental wedding gifts. I knew exactly what I wanted. I took cell-snaps and sent them over to Mike to make sure he approved. And then I started the simple process of filling out the forms for the engraving.

Twenty minutes later, I had pulled out a scratch-pad, my own Sharpie and half my hair while I showed the nice sweet little old lady how to spell my name, AGAIN. Thank goodness I showed up an hour before my hair appointment.

“No ma’am, I do not want the gravity pen, thank you.”

“No ma’am, I do not need a fourth gift, thank you.”

“No ma’am, I have no idea how long you’ve been working at this store and how many crazy young people you’ve helped select the perfect wedding gift.”

“No ma’am, I had no idea that your sister’s neighbor’s daughter is getting married next month to the nice boy that she met while she was back in high school and that he is so good to her son and that you don’t approve of his hair but you do approve of his job and you think that he drives his car too fast and you never see him in church but you really don’t expect that of kids nowadays.”

“Thank you for all your help ma’am have a good day.”


“Welcome to Regis, how can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m Lissa, I’m here for a twelve-o’clock color appointment.”

“Oh, wonderful! Well, Stacey’s running a bit late, she won’t be done for another twenty-five minutes or so, but you’re ten minutes early so really she’s only running fifteen minutes late!” (beaming smile)

“Ummmm, that’s great. Okay, I’m going to go grab lunch and I’ll come back in twenty-five minutes.”

Lunch took twenty-five minutes. After that, I only had another twenty-five to wait, hooray!


I’ve never had my hair professionally colored before. Back in my semi-wild days (only one tattoo and two piercings) I used to dye my hair with the over-the-counter stuff, but that was quite a while ago. Luckily for y’all, I made sure to capture the utter silliness to share with my sister:



The stuff they dye your hair with?  STINKS.  If I had to classify the scent, I’d say it most closely resembles a cocktail of three parts rubbing alcohol, two parts diseased rotted raccoon, and one part fresh-cat-dung.  With a dash of cayenne pepper.


“Welcome to Lord & Taylor’s Clinique makeup counter, are you looking for a makeover today?”

“Actually, yes, I am, thank you. I’m doing my own makeup for my wedding next month and I’d like some help in figuring out how to do my eyes.”

“Oh, congratulations!” the nice woman cried. “Well, let’s see . . . You say you want your eyes to stand out?”

“Yes,” I confirmed, “though I don’t want anything too gaudy. It should look sort-of-natural.”

“Fantastic,” the Nice Makeup Technician (NMT) replied, and proceeded to slap pancake onto my face. Or Play-dough. It felt like Play-dough.

“This is our new photo-friendly foundation! It’ll show up just great when the photography flash goes off! Oh, and don’t you have such pretty eyes! I love doing wedding makeup!”

I smiled painfully through watering eyes as she merrily stabbed my corneas with a mascara wand.

Five minutes later, I looked in the mirror and beheld this:


“Oh.  Um.  Well,” I stammered.

NMT’s colleague, Scary Makeup Lady, wandered over to coo over NMT’s job. I tried to decide if it made things better or worse to get compliments from a woman who had 1) bright blue eyeshadow raccoon-rings, 2) bubble-gum pink lipstick, 3) fuchsia blush in perfect circles on her cheeks. I’m serious, SML looked like a cross between Raggedy Ann and Fannie Mae Baker.

“Ummmmm,” I tried again. “It’s a lovely look, really, and I’m sure I’ll wear this to a club sometime, but can we maybe experiment with something lighter? More subtle?”

“Oh surely!” NMT chirped, reaching for the makeup remover. “Let’s try that same look using Dark Violet!”


“Hi, I need to make a nail appointment right before my wedding. Oh, while I’m here, could I get my eyebrows waxed please?”

“Sure-sure! You go to back room!”

On an academic note — when the woman doing your eyebrows accidentally drops a big blob of wax into your freshly-colored hair, the best removal method really is to painfully pick it out with your fingers. At least, I assume so; she didn’t offer any alternatives.


“Excuse me. Excuse me please, trying to get through,” I said politely.

“Dude! Look at ’em go! FIGHT! FIGHT!!” — “Naw man, the cops are already here’n’sh*t! They’re gonna take this to the parkin’ lot for sure!”

“ExCUSE me,” I said, a little less politely. “I don’t want to see the fight, I just want to get to the escalator.”

“Yo dude, he ripped his shirt off ‘n’ sh*t!” — “FIIIIIIIIIGGGGGHHHHHT!!”


“Oh, excuse me,” I said, VERY politely. “Was that your toe? I beg your pardon.” I flashed my sweetest smile and escaped through the gap.


Oh, surely not.
“Um, sir. That engraving has a word missing.”
“Huh? No, it’s right there!”
“No, sir. There is a word missing.  Right.  THERE.  Sir.”
“Oh. Oh, sorry about that. Okay, we’ll have this fixed right up in a jiffy! Come back in forty minutes.”


I crawled home at 6 PM. Mike kissed me, gave me a glass of wine and dinner, and put me to bed.

Now tell me again . . . WHO says that women love shopping???

6 Responses to “A Day in the Suburban Jungle”

  1. Brad K. said


    If you ask nicely, Lupin Naturist Resort in Los Gatos, CA, used to allow memmbers to have weddings on there secluded property. They had several lovely settings, nice trees and shady pocket-sized lawns for a small party. Clothing optional, and with the hot tub right next to you, no one will wonder about skipping the makeup.


    It seems the choice is to look good for the camera/photos, or in person on the day. Fortunately, we have one very smart lady to work out the details – you!

    Don’t think of a day like today as “shopping” shopping. Think of this as planning and procurement for a major project. The concepts and details have to meet the approval of the higher-ups, that don’t contribute to success, don’t care about amount of effort, and will likely claim the accomplishment for themselves. After all, they raised such a nice couple of kids.

    A fun day of shopping is when you have a plenty left in the budget, and you have time to window shop and maybe pick up an outfit, an accessory that catches your eye. Kind of like I feel about browsing through Tractor Supply or Lowe’s home improvement center. Ooh! That extension cord would work really great for grinding in front of the garage! Just kidding. Not really. Maybe you had to be there. It was a really nice 10ga/3wire cord, and 35 feet long. You don’t see them just anywhere, and the price was nice, too.

    Congratulations on surviving the ordeal!

  2. Jay G. said

    I’m sorry. I can’t get over the picture of Lissa with a tinfoil beanie… OMG! They got her!


  3. secretlivesofscientists said

    How did the makeup thing turnout? If you’re still not please, we’ll hither on over sephora before the college reunion. If you’re still looking for a non-goth but smokey eye, write this down:

    Benefit Cosmetics Crease-free liner/shadow in Skinny Jeans. It is very user friendly.

  4. secretlivesofscientists said

    Oh, and is there an after picture of the hair?? Please please pretty please?

  5. Elizabeth said

    For the makeup thing, I found Sephora to be amazing. They actually were able to give many different looks that ranged from natural to cluby and did exactly what I asked for. Ended up with Bare Minerals from them, which is one of the very few makeups that don’t make me break out.

  6. mts said

    When I saw the tin foil, I thought the same as Jay did.

    If someone says you’re a tin foil hat wearer, you can reply, “You better believe I am – and I have pictures to prove it!”

    I’m glad I’m a guy. I get up, shave, run water on my head, and am ready for the day. No tin foil to change hair color, no waxing, especially strategic areas, no nail painting with cotton balls on fingers, just go.

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