(photo credit: shimmering by skniht_em on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
I planned to drive to the mall, go to Sephora, get the foundation I needed to replace, and be on my way.
In the store, I found the cosmetic brand and all their products pretty quickly, but the specific foundation I was looking for was not there. I sampled the other two foundation products in the brand’s cosmetic line, but they were different than the one I needed: one was thinner and the other was thicker than what I wanted.
I looked up and standing at arms-length away from me was a young man, maybe 21 or 22, who shimmered. There is no other way to describe it. Rays of light bounced off his body. When I caught his eye, he smiled and I felt enveloped in warmth.
“Can I help you with something?”
I looked up at him and saw that in addition to shimmering, he glistened. As I looked more closely, I saw that he was wearing a bit of makeup and I could see the glitter lightly dusted on his face. His eyes were mascaraed and the lids were coated in a sparkly light blue shade.
I told him what I was looking for and he said that they no longer carry it in the store. I asked if there was another foundation that I could substitute. When he started to talk again, I noticed that his lips were the kind of swelled that women get injections to achieve, and they were covered in a thick black lipstick.
He asked me a few questions about skin type and sensitivity and how long I’d used the other product, and as he spoke and I answered, I found myself getting distracted by his lips.
I kept shifting my gaze to his lips, fascinated by his choice of lipstick or maybe the size of his lips or something indefinable that made it impossible not to examine them, and I realized I was having an internal discussion: “Stop looking at his lips. He’s talking to you. Look into his eyes. Good. Why is my gaze on his lips again? Eyes, Sara. Stop staring. This is like the way men look at your chest when they talk to you. Or at least the way they used to when you were young and wore tighter fitting clothes.”
The guy helping me didn’t seem to be bothered by my staring (I can’t imagine he didn’t notice it) and continued to help me. And he was really helpful. He suggested I stick with the same foundation and told me where I could find it online. Meanwhile, my eyes did not behave as I instructed them and I continued to stare.
I don’t know what it was about his lips that kept me obsessing over them. I can safely say it wasn’t a sexual attraction or on the opposite side, the kind of attraction I might have to a bizarre circus act.
What I do know is that I feel uncomfortable when I fail at controlling how I behave. The staring probably wasn’t quite as exaggerated as I tell here, but it happened, despite my telling myself not to do it.
Maybe if I had been in a different mood or the weather had been different or I’d been in a rush, I wouldn’t have had the same response to him. Maybe under other conditions, I would have been able to control my curiosity. Maybe I would have been able to pinpoint why I was so curious.
But for now, I have to accept that sometimes I am not the person I strive to be, at least not in every situation. And I have to be thankful for the people who bear the brunt of my bad behavior and find a way to help me along the way.
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