I look wicked.
That was my first thought as the makeup artist handed me a mirror to inspect the work she had done so far. She had completed only my brows but I could already see similarities between Cruella De Vil and me.
I voiced my thoughts to her and not only did she argue in support of her work, saying my brows looked perfect, she also kept insisting that it was the norm for eyebrows to look like an exaggerated, overturned tick.
Yes. The almighty Nike brows.
“Madam, I look wicked,” I said again, a horrified expression on my reflection in the mirror I held.
“Aunty, it’s not bad,” she said emphatically.
I didn’t know what to say. At that point, my face and I were unsure of what to do, though two things flowed through my mind.
Do I tell her to stop and find another solution?
Do I tell her to carry on with the hopes that I won’t end up looking like a horror movie afterwards?
I chose the latter, though I strongly considered the former but the reason I was getting my makeup done in the first place was for my friend’s 30th birthday dinner, which was starting in less than 45 minutes. I certainly didn’t have the time (nor the tools, which I had left at home since the plan was to go straight to the restaurant from the makeup studio) to tell her to stop. There was another makeup artist there whose work was satisfactory, however, she was occupied with getting my friend, the celebrant’s makeup done.
And so there I was seated, fervently praying that the final result would be better than what I was afraid I would get, as I stole intermittent glances at the wall mirror before me. My heart, which broke with every little progress she made, was in my mouth the whole time. I look wicked, I kept thinking.
I look wicked…
I look wicked.
We both got tired, I think she more so, of me continuously telling her what to do and questioning her every action.
“I don’t really like that colour o,” I would say.
“Don’t worry,” she would reply, an obvious touch of frustration in her voice. “It will be nice.”
“Why are you putting concealer around my mouth?”
“I’m trying to make your lips look more defined.”
“Hian. That’s too much definition o…it’s making me look so mean.”
We did this dance until she was finally finished and when the mirror saw my face, it burst into song.
“Karishika, Karishika, queen of demons…”
The foundation shade was a tad too light for me but that wasn’t the worst thing. My eyebrows and overly defined lips made me look harsh, like a bitter and overbearing Nigerian aunty, eagerly waiting to frustrate the younger women around her. If I had thought I looked mean when only my brows were done, I looked even more so when the whole look was completed. And this wasn’t helping my already notorious resting bitch face.
As though that wasn’t enough, I looked like someone had visited a playground in the rain, played in the mud and thought it wise…or funny to slap the mud on a few points of my face. Oh, but I was told the official name for the mud was ‘contour’.
My face looked like it was trying to simultaneously display two completely different expressions. Each time the lower half of my face tried to put on a smile, it seemed like the the area between the top of my head and under my nose adamantly refused to get the memo.
I should have known how the story would end when the makeup artist had earlier asked me if I wanted my eyebrows painted red. Let me repeat that—she wanted me to walk around the streets of Abuja…with red brows on a Saturday evening. That should have been my cue to run farrrr away. I know, I know. I’m thinking what you’re thinking too.
Girl. You played yourself.
My salvation that night though, was my outfit—a lilac chiffon midi number that sported a heavily embellished bodice and sleeves, a deep v-back and the most beautiful ruched skirt with an elliptical hemline. Oh, and my hair. My twist out had never looked more glorious and lush.
Although my hair and dress came to my rescue (and to be fair, apart from the brows and the slightly untidy-looking contour, I didn’t look like a complete write-off) I still can’t look at pictures from that night without smarting a little. I felt like my own face betrayed me.
Thank God that was not my real face.