This Is The Least Fun $30,000 I’ve Ever Spent

Guys. Seriously. February was the shittiest month for me. Other than the fact that my birthday was in there somewhere, it was SHITTY.

There are actually a lot of reasons why, but the one I want to share with you today is because I bought a car. A Mazda CX5 to be exact. Which, as it turns out, has been the worst decision I have ever made in my entire 32 years on this planet.

Mazda

literally a stock photo because I haven’t had my car in my possession long enough to photograph it!

Let me take you on a little day by day diary, at least for the first week of this saga, and then I’ll recap the rest up through today.

January 31, 2016

I’m having a bad weekend and have some personal issues going on, and really need a pick me up. I’ve been planning on buying a Mazda CX5 for months now since I’ll need a 4 wheel drive vehicle when we move to Colorado. I’m going to buy it today!!!! That will be fun.

At this point, I do in fact, go to the dealership (Capitol Mazda, I’m looking at you) and purchase the car. They don’t have exactly the one I want, but a local dealership does and they can get it here by morning. They want me to sign paperwork tonight, which I do, with a caveat that I have 24 hours from receipt of vehicle to return it.

February 1, 2016

I’m so excited I get to pick up my brand new Mazda today!!! It’s everything I wanted and it’s beautiful. They call me in the afternoon to come pick it up. As I’m playing with my new $30,000 toy, they drop the bomb on me that there has been a recall on all CX5s and that I will not, in fact, be able to take it home today. (Now, the recall was announced in the morning, and they called me in the afternoon to pick it up, but I’m still so excited about the car I decide to let that slide.)

Bonus: They can install the roof rails I want while they keep it to work on the recall. They said it would just be a couple days.

February 2, 2016

I got a call from the sales guy at Mazda AND a text from the service department saying my car was done even sooner then they thought it would be. Yay! I head over in the afternoon to pick it up.

Me (to the service guy): Hi, I’m here to pick up my car.

Service guy: Oh, yeah, I’ve got that right here, the roof rails are all set.

Me: And the recall too right? They told me yesterday I couldn’t have it because of a recall.

Service guy: Oh I couldn’t find any recall attached to your car in the system so we didn’t do anything.

Me: <furrows brow> What? They literally told me yesterday, and you were right there. Can you please look into this further? If there is a recall out I don’t know if I even want to be driving it.

Service guy: Um, OK. I’ll have to look into it.

…… half hour later …….

Service guy: OK, so the recall was issued the morning of Feb 1, and you signed paperwork the evening of Jan 31, so technically your car isn’t prohibited from leaving the lot.

Me: OK… so I’m just supposed to take it with a recall?

Service guy: Well, yeah. You’d drive it for a few weeks until we figured out the fix and then bring it in to be worked on. But I’m not sure if you can really have it.

Me: You just said I could?

Service guy: Yeah, but since you never actually took possession of it, I don’t think we can let you have it. Even though you already bought it and it’s not technically in our inventory anymore.

Me: Sooooo… can I take it or not?

Service guy: I’m not sure, why don’t you just leave and get a rental car while we try to sort this out.

At this point, I go talk to the sales team to express my DEEP DISPLEASURE at how things are being handled. In the meantime, service guy tells me I better get going because the Enterprise Rental Car guy is waiting. Apparently, they won’t give me a Mazda loaner because now they’re telling me the recall could take WEEKS to get resolved and they don’t want their loaner cars out that long. Oh, yes, how terribly inconvenient for THEM.

I swiftly inform him I don’t work on Enterprise’s schedule and I’m not satisfied with the answers I’m being giving. A sales manager gets involved. They all want me to leave. They are afraid of loud, emotional women. (I can tell, they’re not the first.) They still can’t give me good answers, but agree to a free cargo cover for my trouble and usher me out since Enterprise is closing soon.

They tell me I have no right to be upset about the recall because it was out of their hands. Their brains cannot comprehend when I tell them that I am not in fact, upset about the recall. I’m upset about the lack of communication and the fact that I keep getting brought in here for no reason. That every time I call, one person says something totally different than the next. No one seems to be looking out for me, but rather pointing fingers at other departments.

They nod, not understanding, still convinced I’m unreasonably upset about the recall, and say they’ll call with updates. Also, apparently I am supposed to be falling over myself thanking them for paying for the rental? When they told me they were covering the cost of the rental, they looked like they had given me the best orgasm of my life, waiting expectantly for my gratitude. (Spoiler alert – they didn’t get it.)

I go to Enterprise, get the WORST customer service chick who can’t stop talking about her personal problems, and they give me sedan, because Mazda wouldn’t pay for a “comparable car” which would have been an SUV. I can have one for another $50 a day out of my own pocket though. Swell.

February 3, 2016

I’m at work telling my colleagues about all my car drama – they feel bad for me. As I’m sitting there, I realize my car payment is due soon, for the Hyundai Veloster I traded in. When I did the trade in, obviously they paid off that loan, so I log in to cancel my auto payment.

Except, it says I still owe the remaining balance. Slightly freaking out, I call TD Auto to explain the situation and figure out why it’s still showing I owe the money. The worst person in the world answers the phone.

Me: Hi there, I just traded in my car, and they are paying off the balance of my loan, but I still see it reflecting here in my account and telling me I have a payment due. I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on.

Worst person in the world: If it’s in your account, you owe.

Me: Oh, I understand that, but part of the trade-in was the payoff, and they said they work with you all the time. I’m just wondering if there is a delay before it shows up on my account or something.

Worst person in the world: Did they physically write a check and hand it to you?

Me: No, obviously not. They went through their system.

Worst person in the world: No one has just magically paid off your account. You owe whatever is on your account. This isn’t that hard a concept, is it?

Me: Excuse me? I’m just trying to understand the moving parts so I don’t get dinged for a late payment that I’m not even responsible for.

Worst person in the world: That’s not my problem.

Me: Oh, OK, thanks. Go fuck yourself.

So I call the Mazda finance guy in a panic. He tells me to chill out, that it takes 10 days to process and it will be fine. That TD Auto knows that, so should have told me the same thing as well. He asks how my car is, so I fill him in on my frustration. He says he’ll talk to some people to see about getting more information and moving things along.

February 4

Finance guy calls me. Tells me they are getting the parts for the recall tomorrow and my car is at the top of the list. Even offers to install the parking sensors I was interested in free of charge instead of the cargo cover. Great! I tell him I’d rather wait until both the recall and the sensors are done to pick up my car. I’ve seen enough of that dealership at this point. He tells me no problem, he will have someone install them on Friday so it will all be done for me to pick up Friday or Saturday. Fantastic, things are finally coming together!

February 5

Service department calls to tell me the part for the recall is in and they are working on my car. I ask if the sensors are already done. Response? “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Fuming, I call sales and finance to get a better answer, as these were promised to me. Sales guy says he has to check with the manager and will get back to me. Sales guy calls me back and says “No one said they’d be done Friday. That’s not how it works. You’ll have to pick your car up and then make another appointment to have that done if you want it.”

If I didn’t like my stuff so much, this is the point in which I would have hurled something across the room. Instead I calmly informed him that, no, I would not be doing that. I was lied to, and I’m tired of the piss poor communication. You can tell your manager that this is what is going to happen. I’m going to come in to pick up my car tonight, I don’t even want the sensors anymore, and instead, I will just not be paying the invoice for the roof rails that were installed since they are comparable in price. I do not ever want to have to come back to this dealership.

I pick up my car, and the General Manager catches wind of the whole thing. He apologizes profusely, gives me his card and says if I ever decide I do want the sensors, he will take care of it personally.

February 6 & 7, 2016

I finally have my car! We take it on a day trip to Monterey with my parents and I love how it drives, love the interior, and am overall just so happy to finally have it. But then the voice command doesn’t work. And the navigation won’t load. And the whole goddamn system crashes 3 times on the way home from Monterey.

And the rest….

So I took it in to have them fix the infotainment system. I wrote a very lengthy email to the general manager to share with the service department so they could see exactly what issues I had been having.

They replace the “module” that runs the whole thing, and tell me it’s fixed. In the service report, which I read later, it says that they road tested to make sure it didn’t “crash and reboot, as this was the customer’s main concern.” Well, actually it was ONE of my concerns but OK. I got my car back around mid-month.

Then literally just a couple days later on February 19, I realized NO, they did not in fact fix the issue with the infotainment system, and and the navigation in particular. If possible, it’s worse than before. Although to their credit, it didn’t crash again. Maybe I’m being too picky? Those thousands of extra dollars for the tech package and I expect it to recognize where I am? Actually give any sort of directions? Not reroute every 5 minutes because it thinks I’m flying over buildings? So I send another email, this time with 4 different videos as proof of how defective this thing is. This is also where I realize they probably never even road tested the navigation itself, or they would have seen all these issues.

Sooooo, they picked it up again to work on it. That was over a week and a half ago. Since then, I’ve made my first car payment on a car I’ve had for about 4 days total, which didn’t work, and has been eating up hours of my life in phone calls and follow ups every week.

I’ve been told by service multiple different things: they found an error code, they didn’t, the car is fine, etc. They finally told me if I wanted to try to escalate I should call corporate myself, which I did. I talk to them every day now. They told me one story, about another module being replaced, and Mazda engineers coming down to help the dealership, etc. But I literally JUST NOW on March 3, 2016 called the service department myself, and this is what they said:

“Yeah, we have your car. We’ve put like 50 miles on it and tested the navigation. There are no problems with it. So we haven’t done anything to it. It’s just been sitting here since last Monday. We are waiting to hear from Mazda tech/engineers to tell us what to do but I have no idea when we’ll hear back from them or how long that could take.”

Me: I’m going to throttle you. (No I didn’t actually say that, but I’m sure that’s basically what he heard). Is there no way to escalate this further? How is Mazda Corporate just sitting on their hands while I make my first car payment on a car I don’t have? You guys literally haven’t touched it to work on it?

Him: No, there’s nothing we can do. And nothing you can do to expedite it. I don’t know what to tell you, I guess you’re out of luck.

And then my head exploded into a million pieces.

I would tell you more, but this is already the longest thing in the world. If you’re tired from reading it, you will have a glimpse into how exhausting my February has been. I will probably have to start exploring legal options to return the car at this point but that’s a story for another day.

 

I Love Not Camping

I love not camping. I love it so hard.

You know what else I love? I love room service, big fluffy beds made by other people, ocean views, bathrooms that magically clean themselves and swim up bars. I am what you would consider a resort-friendly kind of girl.

resort view

I make no apologies about it. I like what I like. And when I travel, I am of the mindset of “Hey, if I’m going to be spending X dollars anyway, I may as well spend 10-20% more and get something AMAZING.” It’s the saleswoman in me selling myself… I’m kind of an easy mark. So when someone suggests a trip to Tahoe or Big Sur, I’m all about it but I envision a cabin or luxury resort with day hikes – not sleeping on the ground.

I have a relatively strong aversion to camping, but it’s not JUST because I’m what some people (I’m looking at you Gil) consider “high maintenance.” No, it’s deeper than that guys. I have emotional camping scars. And you know what they say…. you’re only as sick as your secrets. Your horrible, horrible, camping secrets.

So I’ve decided today’s the day I’m going to share them. Partly because I need to work through my feelings about camping so I can convince myself to try it again (my boyfriend of almost 2 years loves it, and we’ve done it a total of zero times). And partly because my only real camping story is actually worth sharing.

But let me back up for a second. Growing up, camping was not something I was ever exposed to. In this world, there are “camping families” and “non-camping families.” We were definitely a non-camping family. We spent plenty of time outside and liked to explore and do outdoor activities, but we preferred to poop inside, you know?

I’ve been camping a grand total of twice in my life so far. Neither have really warmed me up to the whole idea yet. And frankly the second time may not even count… my friends were at a campsite at the beach and I joined them and wound up sleeping in my car because it was so windy.

But the first and really only actual camping experience I have…. well, it left a mark. It has been burned into my brain. My soul. My eyeballs. I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT. If for no other reason, than to ease this heavy burden I’ve been carrying. And to illustrate the real source of my camping aversion. To prove it’s NOT just because I think I’m too good to poop in the ground. (I do think that, I totally do.)

Deep breaths… here it goes. My first camping experience happened when I was 18. I was what you might refer to as a bona fide HOT MESS. My brother was sick and I was kind of in a tailspin, and 18 is a great age to be an irresponsible asshole anyway, so the camping trip involved way more whiskey than it should have. I went with my friend Raena, her loser boyfriend (I can say that because she totally dumped him later… don’t worry it’s not like that’s who she wound up with) and his loser friend. We all had great taste in men back then.

The emotional baggage aside, what I remember most about that trip is what Raena and I still refer to as the “death hike.” You know, when 4 hungover 18 year olds decide to head out on an 8 mile round-trip hike in 90+ degree heat to a swimming hole with no food, minimal water and generally no good sense whatsoever.

We literally almost didn’t make it back. As in, the guys took off (told you, GREAT taste in men back then) and Raena and I staggered along the completely deserted trail on our own, making all kinds of promises to the universe or God or whoever we thought might be able to get us out of this one. Promising to shape up if we could just get a goddamn ride back to camp.

At one point, I laid down on the side of the trail, and told my girlfriend to go on without me…. SAVE YOURSELF! I implored. Actually it was more like “find someone with a freaking truck and send them back for me… I’m going to lay here and wait for someone to rescue me because I am not cut out for this shit.” I distinctly remember laying in the dirt, cheek full on in a dirt pile, watching a spider crawl up my leg, too dehydrated and exhausted to move or care, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted an ice cold Fresca and air conditioning. And to never go camping again.

Turns out, my plan wasn’t as solid as Raena’s. She DID find someone with a truck to give her a ride back, while I was laying in the dirt hallucinating about Fresca. I’m not totally clear on why he never came for me, but he didn’t and at some point I managed to pick myself up out of the dirt and soldier on. Somehow I eventually made my way back to our campsite, thinking this had to be the worst camping trip ever. I mean, come on. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Until a WILD BOAR attacked our campsite that night. Seriously. We jumped into the bed of Raena’s truck, screaming like lunatics as this beast of an animal went to town on the campsite. That’s it, that was our whole line of defense. No guns, no knowledge of boars, nothing. After it tore through our stuff and disappeared back into the woods, the woman at the campsite next to ours came over with her dog presumably to see if we were OK. She was apparently camping with her husband, an Indian shaman of some sort.

She calmly informed us that she could talk to animals (yup) and had special powers (of course), so she had this on lock. She was going to talk to the boar to calm it down and make sure it didn’t bother us anymore. Then she disappeared into the woods with her dog to have a little chat with the boar. TO HAVE A CHAT WITH THE WILD BOAR THAT HAD JUST TORN THROUGH OUR CAMPSITE.

Now before you ask, no, we were not tripping on acid. But I can’t say the same for her. We heard her chanting and yelling and then heard her dog yelping and barking, and noises I now know are what a boar attacking a dog sound like.

We stared at each other, mouths open, convinced this crazy lady and her dog were boar meat. Miraculously, she came walking back out and told us she’d taken care of it. And to be fair, the boar left us alone after that, so who knows? Maybe she talked some sense into it.

She wasn’t done though. Oh no. She decided to join us at our fire and proceeded to read our futures. Totally normal camping neighbor etiquette and behavior, right? After letting us know one of our friends had “special powers” too and needed us to watch over her, she informed me I would live in many different places, and have children I didn’t know about with different men.

Wait, pause. I might have skipped a few health classes along the way, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the woman who finds out she has a kid years after a drunken hookup in the back of an Explorer. Even if you don’t know you’re pregnant (thanks, “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” for educating me about how many women this ACTUALLY happens to), you sure as shit notice when a HUMAN BEING comes out of your vagina. But I digress.

Anyway, after “looking into our futures” she eventually had to return to her own campsite, because her husband was screaming for her and sounded pretty pissed. Maybe he had just found out about one of her secret children, I’m not sure. After a few more shots of whiskey (I mean how can you not be drinking during an experience like that?) we eventually all passed out. When we woke up the next morning and said hello to our crazy neighbor and potential boar-whisperer, she just looked at us blankly. She had no clue who we were. NONE.

I SWEAR TO FRESCA, we were not the ones tripping balls because we all remembered it exactly the same the next morning. But at that point, I was ready to be done camping. Basically forever.

Fast forward 13 years, and that’s pretty much held up. No more camping. But guys, it might be time. It might be time to give it another shot. I might be ready. But if anyone so much as mentions anything about a boar, I’m out.

California Cruising

The California coast is honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s worth reminding yourself of that when you start looking on Realtor.com and realize you can never afford to move out of your 750 square foot condo.

Gil and I recently decided to head north and go up Highway 1 for a weekend getaway. We did the same thing last year, and we both loved it so now it’s becoming a tradition. The drive is as much a part of the trip as the destination, as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then start meandering up windy roads to get to the coast.

sunny sea ranch

We were actually staying at the Sea Ranch Lodge this time around, and I would definitely stay there again. It’s a good location, and easy access to explore up and down the coast. We ended up trekking further north, all the way up to Point Arena, which boasts the tallest lighthouse on the west coast. It’s a must-see.

lighthouse

It’s more and more impressive the closer you get, and for $7.50, you can take the “self-guided” tour and climb to the top. We of course decided this was a good idea. I realized 10 steps up, it was in fact kind of a terrible idea. When you have a bum ankle and are totally out of shape, 144 winding steps is pretty aggressive. I made it to the top a few minutes behind Gil, not gonna lie.

lighthouse2

Once I caught my breath, it was literally breathtaking. This was the perfect opportunity to force Gil into a selfie. Mission accomplished.

gilandcourtney

And the perfect outfit for a windy day on the California coast? Leggings with boots, a basic tank and a cozy sweater.

courtney

If you do decide to stay in Sea Ranch, be aware: you need to pack your own food. The restaurant at the Sea Ranch Lodge is the only food in a 15 mile radius, and while the view is beautiful, the food isn’t nearly as impressive, especially for the price.

sea ranch sunset

My suggestion? Drive 20 minutes north to Gualala, where there are at least 5 restaurants to choose from and a grocery store. My favorite? Bones Road House. I had the BEST BURGER of my life there.

bones burger

Then come back to Sea Ranch to open a bottle of wine and enjoy the sunset and the sounds of the waves.

night at sea ranch

This is a trip we’ll definitely be repeating, and hopefully I’ll have an ankle that’s healed more so we can hit some of the incredible hiking trails that surround this whole area. I took one last picture before we left, and the panoramic view is a good reminder of why I’ve stayed in California for so long. You can’t beat that.

panoramic

The Perfect Vacation… And Other Lies Facebook Told Me

I haven’t posted in awhile… I really need to get better about that. To be fair, a big part of the reason is because I just returned from a 16 day trip to Europe with Gil. I know, rough life right? We spent the holidays in Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome. And it was just as beautiful as you would imagine it to be.

And I can confidently say I had a wonderful time with the man I love and it was an experience I will never forget. AND I had the best New Year’s celebration of my life, on a boat in Venice watching an incredible fireworks show and drinking champagne with my honey… it was like something out of a sappy romance novel.

BUT (and this is a big BUT) it was not the picture perfect European getaway I had been imagining. It was hard work! And we stayed in nice hotels and flew with an upgrade to “Premium Economy” (totally worth it by the way) and STILL there were more trials and tribulations than I imagined a dream vacation like this would have.

So while our friends and family got to drool over the pictures I posted to social media, they really only paint half of the picture. The GOOD half, obvs.

trip collageWe have all read about the Facebook effect right? This weird phenomenon of comparing your seemingly drab, complicated, messy, unorganized life to the picture perfect moments of people you went to elementary school with who now have the perfect life, and flawlessly documented new vacation/baby/house/wedding and make you feel like you’re somehow lacking in comparison. Because whether we admit it or not, we are all guilty of trying to put our best foot forward on social media, and with that automatically comes a bit of manipulation of the truth. Not a lie exactly… but maybe a lie of omission in some cases.

Normally I read about this exercise in the context of parenthood: a gorgeous professional picture of the entire family smiling… while everyone was actually screaming at each other between shots and the toddler was eating boogers in all but two frames. The snow filled photos with carefully selected Instagram filter of the little ones sledding for the first time… when really it took five hours in traffic to get there, they fought with each other the whole trip,  and they spent a grand total of 15 minutes in the snow before they complained so vehemently about being cold and wet that you could LITERALLY feel hairs on your head turning gray.

I AM TOTALLY GUILTY OF THIS. I just perpetrated this crime of social media for almost 3 weeks straight. Obviously not with children – I leave that parenting shit to you masochists. No, I essentially Photoshopped my vacation. Not REALLY – I didn’t actually physically manipulate the pictures themselves, but I definitely smoothed over the rough edges so the finished product was shiny and beautiful and ready for consumption.

Don’t get me wrong, I DID have the trip of a lifetime with the man I love. It was thrilling, beautiful, exhilarating, exciting, romantic, and delicious. And if you look at the pictures I posted you would glean exactly that.

What you WOULDN’T see are my teary eyes from that stupid argument we had in front of the Eiffel Tower about retaking a picture because I felt so self-conscious about how fat I looked, which is why I’m wearing his sunglasses in some of the pictures. Those pictures of the Louvre are drool worthy, but you don’t see the three hour line we waited in because we didn’t think to buy a museum pass ahead of time and how by the time we got in I could barely walk (I am still recovering from extensive ankle surgery) and so I spent most of my time there looking for benches instead of admiring art. The Colosseum is awe-inspiring, but you can’t see how sick I am at that point, or how exhausted we both are which led to us snapping at each other for no good reason.

Yes, we shared those stories with a handful of friends and family when we got home, but to a casual observer I got the perfect European vacation with my perfectly bearded lumberjack of a boyfriend. Truth? 16 days of travelling together is when shit gets real. Eleven hour flights. Questionable cab rides. Gross underestimation of how much money you’d be spending on food (some of which was totally mediocre). A swollen and throbbing ankle. Long lines. Short tempers. Obnoxious tourists. Meltdowns. MY PERIOD, a week early.

It happens. Of course it does. Life is messy and chaotic and tragic and bloody sometimes. And I would definitely use each of those adjectives to describe moments in our trip. The real triumph? The one you don’t see in any of the pictures? The fact that those were merely MOMENTS. The fact that we tackled them together instead of tearing each other down further even though it would have been so easy to do – to take out our frustration with a stressful situation on the one we love the most.

The best parts of the trip? The way we sat on a bench overlooking the canal in Venice snuggled up together watching the sun on the water. How tight he held me on the boat when we were watching fireworks on New Year’s. Feeling him reach for my hand halfway through an eleven hour flight when he was somewhere between asleep and awake. The way he helped me with my suitcase on the train in Florence even though he warned me not to over-pack because I would be responsible for my own bags. Spoiler alert: I over-packed.

These are the moments I didn’t document but they’re some of the most vivid memories. And honestly, I wouldn’t change any of them, good or bad. Well, that’s a lie too. I would totally wish for a healthy ankle so I wouldn’t have been in a walking cast for most of the trip. And maybe I would have eaten even more cheese. Yeah, definitely more cheese.

But I wouldn’t trade the experience. Now we KNOW the things we would do differently (I think 10 days is probably our max). And now whenever I see someone posting pictures from their own “perfect” vacation, I always wonder what those “real” moments actually look like. Those would make a much more interesting photo album…

I Look Like A Clown Hooker

“Hold on, your eyebrow smeared and it’s on your cheek.”

Um, WHAT??? I never thought I would hear someone utter those words to me, but it happened and now I need to talk about it. Allow me to elaborate.

You see, I decided a few weeks ago I needed to branch out and really try some new things so I could turn one of my hobbies into something I could actually do some freelance work with. My own business – nothing fancy, just something on the side that I was in control of, and that could be a creative outlet for me. The idea of a tax break wasn’t unappealing either.

So I started doing my research and found a program to learn how to be a makeup artist. PERFECT. I love makeup. I’ve always done it for my friends and this would be a fun excuse to actually learn what the hell I was doing. And in my mind, this would be a perfect freelance gig I could try out with no pressure since I’m not quitting my day job.

I found a one-day workshop that got great reviews online, and they offered a “basic certification” after completion, as well as the ability to apply for a pro card – meaning I get discounts on makeup. SCORE. Sign me up.

Sunday was the day. A friend I’d met at work a few years ago got wind of this little adventure and decided to join me. Bright and early, we made our way to the class. Dress code: all black. Excitement level: high.

It started out fine, if a little unorganized. They held the workshop in a hair salon on the days it was closed, and 20 or so wannabe makeup artists, including myself, piled inside. Most of the girls were professional cosmetologists looking to expand their skill set to include makeup, but a handful of us were just doing it “for fun”.

As I watched the owner and professional makeup artist go through her demo, I started to develop some concerns. Because about halfway through the demo, she got to eyebrows. I agreed with her statement about how important eyebrows are, and how they frame the face. She even made a comment about wanting to avoid “chola eyebrows” that look like they were just drawn onto the face. Forgetting for a second that she may have offended a number of people in class, I happen to personally prefer a more natural looking brow as well (I over-plucked in high school and I’m still recovering).

She goes on to explain that they have REVOLUTIONIZED a new technique, and it’s one we are all going to master in this class. Apparently, eyebrows that angle down at the ends at all (so, basically almost everyone) make people look “sad” and is apparently an epidemic we need to address. So as we broke off into pairs to practice different techniques, I kid you not, these were the instructions:

Ignore the natural brow where it angles down. It’s only distracting you from where the true brow should be. Pretend your client has no eyebrows and you are going to create the perfect eyebrow. Longer, and higher than where the hair is.

Hmmm. Weird. I bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking… wouldn’t you have 2 eyebrows on each side then? Basically an eyebrow that forks in the road and goes both ways? YES. YOU DO. YOU HAVE TWO FUCKING EYEBROWS ON EACH SIDE. And guess what??? That look we were trying to avoid? The one where it looks like a 5 year old drew on your eyebrow with a sharpie? THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS. When you decide to create a whole new eyebrow where there is no hair, what do you expect?

I was working with an adorable little blond massage therapist with perfect skin – one of the other people in the class just taking it for fun. As the instructor comes over to paint on her dark brows, she looks at me in horror. I point out that the color is too dark and that you can still clearly see her actual eyebrow hair under the heavy line, and the instructor promptly informs me we can “hide” that, and a lot of people just shave off the ends of their brows so you can do this shape properly. Oh, of course. YOU SHAVE IT OFF. I see. Now the massage therapist looks really nervous.

“Can we trim your eyebrow, just a little?” the instructor asks her. She agrees. I decide she’s insane. I wouldn’t let that woman near me with scissors. She “trims” them all right… basically down the skin. After she walks away, my partner looks at me in dismay, groaning about how the instructor just “stole” her whole eyebrow, and how ridiculous she looks. The instructor circles back, one of her minions in tow to show off her beautiful work. I can’t help myself at this point. “She hates it. She wouldn’t go in public like that. That may work for an editorial shoot with models, but it’s not an everyday look. No normal person wants to wear a look like that for everyday life.” The death stare of an angry makeup artist (who does in fact, shave her eyebrows so she can “create any shape she wants”) sears into my very soul. “Well, I WOULD wear that look every day,” she snaps at me, and stomps away on her 5 inch heels. Huh, guess I won’t be winning any teacher’s pet points.

Now, I don’t know if it was punishment for mouthing off, but when the other instructor came back to “help” do my eyebrows, it was a sight to behold. Same double rainbow effect, but this time, THEY ADDED GLUE. “Oh, we just layer on glue and then paint over it with concealer to hide the hairs,” she tells me. I’m laughing so hard inside at this point, I figure why not? It was basically the same glue that was in our 3rd grade glue sticks, all over my face. As she finishes her masterpiece, her hand grazes my “new” eyebrow and it winds up on my cheek.

OK, timeout. If my eyebrow can smear onto my fucking cheek, that is not a good look. I grabbed the handheld mirror at my station to take a peek. Bad idea. I looked like a clown hooker after a rough night. Not OK. And as she finishes wiping my eyebrow OFF MY CHEEK, my workshop partner is standing behind her, eyes wide, mouthing, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over. I think she might need therapy now.

As they finished taking our individual “after” pictures and started getting ready for a group shot, my friend who had tagged along and I looked at each other and just decided to get the hell out of there. It look me a minute to register what she was thinking though… at that point, everyone in class looked permanently surprised. We made our way to the door, but not before I got cornered by one of the instructors. “Don’t you just love how you look?” she asks me. I know I should have lied and been polite – it would be easier. But I just couldn’t. “Well, no. I mean, the work my partner did is great and I like the eye shadow, but I would never draw on eyebrows like this. I just wouldn’t wear them like this in public.” Awkward silence. I turned and walked away and we made our way out of the salon and back to my car.

I looked in my rear-view mirror as soon as we got in the car and just lost it. I needed to get that shit off my face, ASAP. As I reached for my bag I realized I left my makeup remover wipes in class. SHIT. I can’t go home like this and I’m sure as hell not walking back into that salon. I found an old paper towel, probably from that day last week I ate a bagel in the car on the way to work, and wiped off as much as I could.

If you don’t believe me, I have photographic evidence:

eyebrow

Now, who wants me to do their eyebrows??