Postcard from the Edge of a Sink

With traveling budgets tight for the rest of the year, and social life going through a bit of turmoil, one has to look at other horizons for entertainment. So with the same-day arrival of an invitation to a Halloween party and flyer from my local theatre offering professional make-up classes, it did not take a genius to make a connection.

There were 2 make-up classes, the first focused on making one look more youthful and generally improved, the second on giving character and making one looker older. Both classes use a “base” colour as the groundwork – thick make-up, similar in colour to your normal skin tone, which forms a canvas on which to use lighter and darker shades and coloured pencils to create effects in the form of shapes and lines.

Unsurprisingly, the first “youth” class was very popular – techniques such as straightening a nose, giving a more prominent, distinguished jaw line or making the eyes sparkle left everyone with a sense of amazement of what could be accomplished with a few brush stokes and a steady hand.

Aging, the less popular class, built on the experiences of youth (now, isn’t that a surprise), a few more brush stokes and a more wobbly hand essentially adding the ravages of old age. It was interesting also to note the effect make-up can have on hands, an often neglected theatrical area.

So with the Halloween party approaching, how to make use of my new found talents? Should I go with youth and beauty or type-cast, as friend so kindly suggested, as an evil witch? Well, searching through the dregs of the wardrobe, I found a few old boring Halloween costumes, but then I came across spoils of my recent travels, an Arab headdress, a ghutra, from Jordan and a dishdasha robe from Egypt. These, coupled with the darker base shades from my make-up class, would transform me in to an authentic chic Arab sheik.

It worked! The hostesses, Mei-Ling, did not recognize me as the door opened and the cats made a fast exit. The all-day decoration and cooking frenzy had transformed the apartment in to a well stocked witch’s coven, the stocks of which rapidly diminished as the guests arrived. On top of Mei-Ling and sheik alla-Ian-bin-hungry, there was a cow (whose teats were strictly off limits), several witches, a nurse, assorted warlocks, countess Dragula (sic), Mrs. Potato head, a nun and the fabulous puss in boots.

There were some interesting side-effects from some of the costumes. Standing in front of any light source, it became blindingly obvious that I was wearing very little beneath it. The cow’s bovine emotions caused her to get teary eyed every time she passed a pint of milk. However, costume issues did not stop the evening being rounded off with an excellent game of charades.

And so to be bed, but with age comes wisdom and here is a little tip. If you do darken your features considerably then you may not want to change to fresh white and cream-coloured bed linen on that day. Despite extensive cleansing, you may have horrible brown smudges all over it the next morning…

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