Ah, Sephora. There is something dangerously seductive in that wonderland of possibility. Tubes, pots, bottles, jars fill shelves and make so many promises I want to believe they’ll keep. In Sephora, I am swept away by the idea of what I could look like if I just tried harder and spent more money.
My could-be-me has dewey, pore-less skin that glows like I swallowed light. My eyes are fringed with thick, black lashes that make each blink a devastating statement. And my mouth—why, that perfect plump pout, ravishing in femme fatale red, is so fatale, men fall all over themselves when they see me, just like they do in 1960s Italian movies when Sophia Loren walks by a group of men on scooters. Pandemonium!
Yes, in Sephora, life is good. In there, I’m not a girl with worries, with old, frayed tissues in my handbag, with a splotch of icing on my cheek from a cinnamon roll I just ate at Cinnabon. In Sephora, I’m not even the kind of girl who goes to Cinnabon. I am a woman—a woman whose life is a collection of tidy, sweetly-scented days, days in which I don’t perspire, days that fall into line just the way they should because I am flawlessly groomed and bad things don’t happen to people whose brows have lovely arches and who look and smell so gosh darn good.
So, as I pay for my fairytale and the saleslady packs everything into clouds of red tissue paper and hands me the bag, I can almost hear the clock just striking midnight. Something is happening. I make my way slowly to the door. And then, as I cross the threshold, with Sephora behind me, I feel something leaving me, something gone. It is my could-be-me. Out here, back in the world, I’m just a girl with a shopping bag filled with cosmetics. I am, after all, only me.