Cosmetic (En)Counters

Lately I’ve been watching the Show Time series, The Tudors via Netflix. While the British history buff in me rails against certain…shall we say, liberties taken with the historical record, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the Irish actor who plays King Henry VIII is, unlike the actual Henry, decidely delicious.

Thanks to romance author Megan Frampton who alerted me to the fact that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was scheduled to appear at the Macy’s in Herald Square one Friday around 5 PM. In addition to portraying Henry VIII, JRM is the celebrity spokesperson for HUGO ELEMENT, HUGO’s “boss” new scent for men. For the bargain price of $65, the cost of a vial of said stuff, shoppers would get to meet JRM up-close and personal.

I’d like to say I shrugged and then went back to reading War and Peace, but I went. Of course I went. When you live in Manhattan, this is the sort of thing you do. I mean really, life is short.

JRM was seated dais-style in the midst of the Macy’s cosmetics department. Those who purchased the fragrance got to climb the short steps to the stage where they received a handshake (men) or a peck on the cheek (women). Though I didn’t pony up the $65 required for glad handing, I did get a respectable gawk. From “across the crowded room,” the actor appeared gracious and personable. He is also cute as a button (we could share jeans) and as smoothly polished as a Tiffany’s diamond, assertions I could prove if only one of the dozen or so photos I shot with my Blackberry camera had turned out.

It was well, a little bit crazy. Because of those blasted black suited security guards, we ladies could only stand about but so long. If you wanted to stay, you had to buy…something.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. In this case, I scuttled over to the Clinique counter to pick up some product. I mean, JRM isn’t the only one who needs to monitor his pores.

“Can I help you, ma’am?”

Ma’am? Ma’am!!!

The deep voice belonged to a burly male sales associate standing at six foot four or close to it and wearing the regulation Clinique lab coat. A man! Selling Clinique cosmetics while yes, calling me ma’am! Surely there was some mistake. Really, is nothing sacred? If a man must sell cosmetics, he can at least have the decency to be metrosexual. This guy was obviously a man’s man, a manly man. He’d probably sold Ducoti motorcycles before getting laid off.

“Try this,” he commanded without bothering to ask what I might want or need.

He grabbed my hand in his big man paw, again without asking, and started slapping on the cream Clinique was promo-ing.

“Here you go. All shined up. See.” Beaming at me, he returned my hand like it was chrome, and I’d just gotten the deluxe special at the drive-through car wash.

This is not, my friends, how women approach the purchase of cosmetics.

Ducking my head, I explained thanks but no thanks, I just needed some…some…some…lip primer.

Lip primer! To have to explain to a solidly hetero man, a man who under other circumstances might be considered datable that lately my lipstick has begun flaking, and I’m worried about “the appearance of fine lines” is wrong on so many levels.

I bought the lip primer, which this dude assured me he uses himself just before he applies his Chapstick–yeah right. Pity I didn’t stick around to get his opinions on exfoliating and waxing, but I had celebrity stalking still to do.

And when it came to the hand cream, I dug in my heels and held my own. Screw the up-selling. No dice, dude. 

Had Jonathan Rhys Meyers been behind that counter, I would have bought the hand cream–and some HUGO, too.