Ding dong, bullshit calling

A few days ago, the Professor went out to get the paper in the morning, and she found in a little bag on our driveway not one but two! Avon catalogs. One says it is Campaign 18, and the other, Campaign 20. I start out right away feeling a little slighted, wondering what I might have missed had I not been deprived of Campaign 19. After a moment’s thought, I jump right to Campaign 20, assuming that, as in all of American commerce and marketing, things are continually improving over there at Avon, and that therefore anything 20 must be a couple of orders of magnitude better than anything 18.

Avon has apparently changed a LOT since I last knew anything about it, which I’m pretty sure was when I was in high school and my mom was buying Skin So Soft for bug repellent. In addition to cosmetics, they have kids’ stuff (pumpkin trick or treat bag), seasonal stuff (pumpkin spice lip balm), kitchen stuff (pumpkin-shaped cappuccino foam stencils), home décor stuff (whipped pumpkin scent candles), bras (for pumpkin-sized boobs, just kidding), and a variety of other clothes and jewelry. One of the lines of jewelry raises money for their anti-domestic violence initiative, so kudos there.

The catalog gave a lot of food for thought. For example, Clearskin Professional Liquid Extraction Strip goes on as a liquid and peels off dry. It “strips away pore-clogging dirt & oil INSTANTLY!“—except that the fine print reveals that it takes 20 minutes to dry. In what universe is 20 minutes “instantly”? C’mon, Avon, we live in a world where Google is concerned about a 100 millisecond delay in results return time! Also, the extraction strip’s instructions say to use it “around nose, forehead, T-zone and chin.” Last I heard, the T-zone was composed of the forehead, nose and chin. Does this mean I am supposed to apply it twice everywhere? (BTW, the Professor had never heard of the T-zone. She’s so butch.)

The products aimed at middle agers are the most fun, though, if you are in our kitchen on a Saturday morning and laughing at an Avon catalog. (You’d be surprised what passes for laughs around here.) ALL-IN-ONE DAY MOISTURIZER IMPROVES the appearance of (the typesetters are given toward caps and bold, you will have noticed, followed here by this bullet point list): • fine lines & wrinkles • loss of youthful texture • dry skin • loss of resilience • large pores.

First of all, given its name, do you have to use the entire 1.7 oz., airless pump bottle of youth restoring multi-purpose lotion, all in one day? That seems like a lot. You’d be surprised how much even an ounce is if you’re putting it on your face. And besides, if a product improves the appearance of things like wrinkles or large pores, doesn’t that seem like it would be making them bigger?

Perhaps you’d be interested in the Anew Clinical line’s Absolute Even Dark Circle Corrector. You will “see dark circles virtually VANISH.” With its “SHADOW ERASE COMPLEX and Self-Adjusting Sheer Optics, EYES LOOK INSTANTLY BRIGHTER.” A helpful illustration demonstrates the clinically shown 31% IMPROVEMENT “in the look of under-eye dark circles over time.” (Self-Adjusting Sheer Optics—what the hell does that mean?)

The Anew line reduces the look of all kinds of things. Anew Ultimate reduces the look of under-eye bags. Anew Platinum reduces the look of a sagging jawline. Anew Genics (the MULTITASKING miracle collection that DOES IT ALL) reduces the look of wrinkles, age spots and discolorations.

In case you are too thick to have picked up from the above what it is you should be concerned about, there is a helpful AVON SkinCare centerfold that lays it out for you by age group, with, of course, the corresponding “products that address your concern.” 40+, your concern: fine lines and wrinkles; 50+, your concern: loss of firmness and deep wrinkles; 60+, your concern: sagging skin and loss of definition. I’m guessing here that after 70, you are beyond Avon’s help.

Of course, women don’t need a catalog thrown on the driveway to tell us we should be suffering from angst due to sagging and wrinkles. The message that aging is ugly has come toward us from every conceivable direction for as long as we can remember.

About five years ago, I remember looking in the mirror and suddenly realizing that I just looked like sort of a different person than I was used to seeing. I thought to myself, “Oh. I’m beginning to see what my old lady face will look like.” Isn’t that nice that I live in a culture where I can pretty much assume that I’m going to get to be an old lady? I obsess about many things, but I’m fortunate that this isn’t one I spend much energy on.

Afterword: If you are interested in the pumpkin spice lip balm or any other product mentioned here, please message me privately so I can direct you to the distributor whose name is on the catalog. She deserves the business after providing us with such a wealth of humor.

About Verla

Wordfreak. Retired private investigator and Spanish court interpreter. Erstwhile librarian. Texan by birth, cheesehead by upbringing, latina by soul, in New Mexico by choice. Lover of things purple. Passionate participant in the Librivox audiobook recording project. We record books that are in the public domain in the U.S. The recordings are then placed in the public domain themselves.
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