The beauty questions I want to answer are always things like, “Where can I find a perfume that smells like sunshine?” Or, “Who is the chicest lesbian besides Sally Hershberger right now to cut my hair?”
NO. Jane will not ask these questions.
Instead, she will look up from her salad, lean back thoughtfully in her chair, toy with the pigtail her 9-year-old daughter styled for her that morning, and take from you a few completely surreal minutes of your beauty career that you will never get back, and that go a little something like this:
“Why surrre, honey, I always have beauty questions,” purred Jane. "Let's see."
I sat there and zonked out for a second. Jane and I can both be a little spacey, duh.
Then she got rolling.
“Well, okay, so. I tried Latisse, you know -- the eyelash growing serum?” (OBVIOUSLY I know Latisse.) “But I felt like it made my eyes red, and so now it’s just sitting at home and I don’t know what to do with it."
"Okay..." I said. ZZZZZ, I thought.
Jane continued, "And so then I was wondering: Why couldn’t a bald man use it? I mean, should I give it to a bald man? Why don’t men use it for baldness?”
“Are you serious?" I asked, scribbling this on a post-it with a Sharpie. "You're joking, right?
"What?" Jane asked innocently. She was dead serious.
"A bald man?" I practically screamed. "What size bald man? Those Latisse brushes are incredibly tiny? What are you talking about?"
"Oh," Jane said. "Oh. Well, you know. I really didn't think of that."
"Um, yeah," I said. "Um, clearly."
"Well," Jane said. "Can I put it on my eyebrows?" (This would turn out to be her only lucid moment; congratulations, Jane, for having even one.)
"That's a decent question," I said. "I'm going to give you a Revitalash Eyebrow product to try for that."
“What else?” Jane pondered. “Well there are these lines around my eyes. I mean, they are really bad. It’s, like, getting to be a Bono situation. [Cat's note: No idea what this means?] It’s like I’ve been in the Australian sun, in the desert like 'Mad Max'. Yeah, it’s a very 'Mad Max' situation.”
“Uh—“ I started.
“But really I think it’s because I used to take my eye makeup off with rubbing alcohol for so long,” Jane said thoughtfully.
I practically spit out my $11 juice.
“With rubbing alcohol?” I said. “Are you KIDDING ME?”
“Oh yeah,” Jane said nonchalantly. “For years. I always took my eye makeup off with rubbing alcohol. I think that’s why I have all these wrinkles. I mean, I try now to just be proud of them.”
“Jane,” I said. “First of all, rubbing alcohol doesn’t cause wrinkles, but whatever. Second of all, help me understand your logic here. If you wanted some cheap drugstore product to take off your eye makeup, why didn’t you go for, like, Vaseline?”
“I just don’t know,” Jane said. Then she smiled in her little way and stared into space.
“Jane,” I said. “You were the youngest ever editor in chief; you’re a media mogul; you’re a publishing icon, a feminist icon. You’re Jane fucking Pratt, you are brilliant, you’re a hero, you’re -- explain to me, what the…why did you put that stuff all around your eyes for so long?”
“I just don’t know,” Jane said cheerfully.
I sat there, agog.
“OK,” I said. Maybe Julie could make up some normal questions. “Do you have any more?”
“Umm,” Jane said. “I’d like more ways to get an instant glow. Other stuff to take -- in addition to my instant glow stuff. I mean, every time you see me and I look so good that’s why.”
“What?! What are you talking about?” I asked. “Every time I see you and you look really good it’s because you use Julia Roberts’ makeup artist!”
“Nooo,” Jane cooed like a creepy little pigeon. “It’s because of this silver oxide that I drink. It gives me an instant glow! Like I drank it before the xoJane launch party.”
"Uh,” I said. “Would that have been before or after you went into hair and makeup?" Suddenly I felt fucking exhausted.
“Okay.” I said. “Let’s wrap this up. Any final...inquiries?”
“Well,” Jane said. “I’d like a pedicure that just lasts and lasts. Like, a really long time.”
I knew of one available in New York that I’ve been meaning to write a story on -- finally.
“Great,” I said. "I know about one at Salon A.K.S."
“Well, actually, no,” Jane said. “What I really want you to find for me is a product that makes my toenails not grow so quickly!”
“OK, dude,” I said. “I think we’re done here.”
“Thanks sweetie!” she said. "That was fun!" Uh-huh.
“I’ll do my best to answer all of your great questions,” I lied. "Thank you." And then I left her office. And then I ordered Julie to Google “smallest head in the world” and see if any of the gross YouTube videos that came up had bald men in them. And then I chugged an entire bottle of rubbing alcohol until I passed out. The end.
Cat's on Twitter @cat_marnell. Follow her on her stairway to heaven...