We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.


Top 8 Lessons I Learned About Women at the Lancome Counter


You know how when you’re in high school and you exchange wallets with your friends to compare IDs (at least my group did — I ran with the nerds.) Well, nestled in between my DFYIT card (that’s Drug Free Youth in Texas) and my Honor Roll Gold Card (good for nine off-campus lunches!) were my big secrets — a Dillard’s Hosiery Club Card and the personal card of Jacqueline from the Lancome counter (this card also had fancy French words like “Clarifiance” scrawled on the back.)

See, for the last 3 years of high school I lived alone with my mother, a high-powered real-estate agent. I had my own car and was expected to help out with all the errands and chores. Shopping for groceries was kinda fun (I loved buying Chicken by George, and I’d accidentally lose the receipt so my Cadbury Creme Egg purchases would remain secret), but I dreaded those visits to the mall to buy mom’s pantyhose and makeup.

But looking back, I think these shopping trips taught me several lessons about women (other than the difference between Town Taupe and Barely There hosiery) that have proven to be useful in my dating life.

1.      Never make fun of her products or their wild claims. Turn potential mockery into a compliment. Don’t say “Gosh, why do you need some $85 cream to reduce your pores?” Instead, just say “Reduce your pores? They can’t possibly get any smaller or I’ll lose you to some New York modeling agency.”

2.      Pay careful attention to detail. Plummy Rose is an entirely different beast than Rosy Plum. Don’t confuse the two, and don’t ask any questions, just accept it.

3.      Have an opinion, and offer it quickly. Following from number 2, if confronted with a random question about which color you prefer, answer swiftly and offer supporting evidence. “I like the Plummy Rose because it matches your purse better” is an excellent response. Also, when asked a question about two different sizes, always go for the smaller one. She’d rather wear an A/B than a B/C and be uncomfortable, as long as she thinks you think she’s thin.

4.      Don’t impose your own financial logic on women. Resist the urge to point out the fallacy of buying $100 worth of products just so she can get a free $5 makeup bag full of crap she will never use. Think of gift-with-purchase as the female version of happy hour. Note – this strategy is also important for any trips to Lululemon – don’t tell her she can buy the same stuff at Target for $100 less. She knows that, she really just wants the fancy free tote bag.

5.      Shopping can increase your vocabulary. While they never showed up on the SAT, I think I’m a better person for knowing the definitions of sandalfoot, allantoin, denier, gusset, and humectant. I’ve even dropped these into casual conversation on dates, earning a knowing smile.

6.      Pay attention to her eyes. If she’s going to spend all that money on one little area (mascara, shadow, liner, brow waxing, that dominatrixy-looking lash curler tool thing, etc.), the least you can do is offer a simple compliment. Or for bonus points, be more specific – use words like “padded deep-set eyes” or somesuch.

7.      Compassion is key. Show a woman you share in her grief that her favorite reoxidizing/toning/cleansing/exfoliating/regenerating combo serum has been discontinued.  See number 1.

8.      Show some respect. You may think all this makeup stuff is frilly, but it’s actually quite complex and based on scientific principles. People win Nobels for this stuff. There’s a reason more women than men go to college – it’s all those years of studying thioglycolates, the effects of Sun-In , and other organic chemistry concepts. Remember that courtroom scene from Legally Blonde? Fall for the stereotype at your own peril.

Sage readers, do you have any wisdom to add?



About the author: Michael

Michael is a cultural omnivore and Texas refugee now based in Washington DC, but he leaves town whenever possible. By day he works behind the scenes in the performing arts, but by night he appreciates French chocolate, Kieslowski films, any of the Real Housewives, and a seat on the aisle. He’s worshipped at Westerburg, and he’s only a junior.

Michael has written 5 articles for us.

2 Responses to “Top 8 Lessons I Learned About Women at the Lancome Counter”

  1. October 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Michael, you are brilliant! And the next time I see you, remind me to tell you the story of when I worked in the hosiery department at Dillards and had a memorable encounter with a lady who needed Evan Picone pantyhose in an ample medium…Love, Jyll

  2. October 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    They give out free totes at Lululemon?! I am so there!

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