Today was a lazy, goofy, restful family day – the sun came out after a night of snow, and Dear One and I hoofed off to Jean-Talon Market to buy some watercress and mesclun and tiny tomatoes for a Zaatar salad. Our favourite Thai café was closed so we went to another that we had never noticed because it is recessed twenty-four inches back from the sidewalk. Then we window-shopped at the button store and went for an espresso at El Mundo’s. I finally noticed what he had on his feet.
“Is that a pair of blue ski boots?”
“They’re waterproof. They’re comfortable. They’re perfect. Have you noticed how many people are going by with gigantic bags full of toilet paper?”
I had not.
“There must be a sale on somewhere. Do you want to come into the Pharmaprix or wait outside? They have good sales in there. They always have big blocks of cheese on sale.”
“I didn’t know they had cheese in drugstores.”
Maybe, I thought, I will go in and look at the lipsticks.
I did my usual mirror search, tissue search, and futile trying of untold numbers of testers. This process always makes me feel like a counterfeit woman. A real woman would be able to find a lipstick more quickly than this. I am not a woman, but am instead some kind of blocky hedgehog, or a wheelbarrow, or an extremely straggly dandelion caught in chickenwire.
“How’s it going?” Dear One showed up in the lipstick aisle with sixteen rolls of paper towel. I had three shades of lipstick in my hand: Bronze Goddess, Creamy Coffee, and Odyssey. A brainwave hit me.
Today, day 37 in my year of daily doing some new thing, I tried on the three shades and for the first time ever asked a man to choose the best one.
He chose the brightest of the lot: Odyssey. I would have been afraid it was too exciting for a woman of fifty. I had been tending toward Bronze Goddess, which was, despite its name, much more subdued.
When we got to the cash, he said, “Here, I’ll buy it,” and the cashier, her hair pixie-cut and her face pierced with three studs, exclaimed, “Mon Dieu – un homme qui achete du rouge a levres pour sa femme – c’est rare! Il faut en profiter.”