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Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Sister's New Girlfriend

She may very well be forty-three and unmarried, but my eldest sister's no dyke. She does, however, have a new girlfriend.

My sister's new girlfriend is Paula Begoun, self-proclaimed "Cosmetics Cop."

If that moniker means nothing to you then, congratulations, consider yourself hereby duly certified for one more year of Crazy-Free Living on the Planet Earth (gmail me for your certificate-- $7.95 + s/h). If you are familiar with Paula Begoun and her affiliated works, then, to quote the venerable and venerated Tim Gunn, "This worries me." If you regularly refer to Paula Begoun as "my new guru," well, you're officially inducted into the Fucked in the Head Club. Meet my sister, Chairman and Executive Director. She will be happy to go over your orientation packet with you if you'll pardon the hopelessly creased pages and drool stains.

We stopped by my parents' house yesterday and, lo and behold, only my sister was there. As you may remember, she took up residence at their house back in February when she spotted some mice having an orgy in a bag of ginseng rice in her condominium. She has since deloused the unit and has put it up for sale. Nobody's interested, and I suspect that she will remain at my parents' house until one or both of them die and she is reduced to eating their remains.

It was eleven o'clock in the morning when my wife and I showed up, and Julie opened the door clad in a baby blue bathrobe. We sat down at the dining room table and, through the window to a passerby it might have looked like any normal family gathering (except for the fact that my 43-year-old sister was wearing a bathrobe and pajamas at eleven o'clock in the morning) with us amicably chatting away. Of course, had the passerby been able to hear the content of the conversation, well, any attempt at "normalcy" would go straight down the terlit.

Her first rant was centered entirely on sunscreen. What is the appropriate SPF rating, Australian Sunscreen Standards, UVA and UVB ray protection, how, in spite of all the hype and super-expensive emolients sold at fancy retail stores that the best protection is some shitty-looking cream sold at K-Mart for a dollar.

"A goddamn dollar," she said, her eyeballs rolling back into her head, "a goddamn, motherfucking dollar."

"Wow," I said.

"I love how nobody in this fucking family takes me seriously and everybody thinks I'm such a big fucking riot when it comes to sunscreen-- but fuck all those motherfuckers. I do my research!"

And nobody could ever accuse her of not doing her research. Except my father, of course.

"Why are our BMWs not on the safest cars list?" my father interrogated her one day this week.


My father cracked up at this and walked out of the room. I thank God that he finds her obscenity-laced tantrums funny, because I know there are some other fathers out there who would have throw her out the fucking window years ago.

Julie then showed us several one-piece bathing suits she purchased for our nine-month-old nephew. They were pretty stinking cute-- with a shark on one and a bee or some shit on the other, but they looked like they were made to fit a five-year-old. "Mommy said these were the right sizes to buy," she said forlornly, knowing she had bought them too big.

"They're coated in some special material that blocks UVA and UVB rays-- and this one is coated in something that blocks against chlorine."

I'd never known that clothing could be coated in so much shit. I expected it to feel leathery and slippery. Actually, I once owned a tie coated in Teflon to protect against stains. I ruined it with cocktail sauce.

I don't know how we got onto the discussion about Paula Begoun, but, from under a stack of photocopied consumer reviews about baby strollers and car booster seats, she pulled this incredibly huge book written by Paula Begoun.

"This is my new guru," my sister said, gazing into the photograph of the authoress on the glossy cover. I stared at it, too, but not gazingly.

"8th edition?" I said, "are you fucking kidding me?"

"Well, she analyzes and makes recommendations about every single cosmetic product on the market, so, whenever they come out with new products, she is able to write a new edition of her book."

"Genius," my wife muttered under her breath.

I feared my sister might go ballistic if she'd heard my wife maligning her new master, but she just launched into another monologue in praise of Her.

"Before, I had been unenthusiastic about Olay products, but Paula Begoun changed the way I think about my face and my skin and my makeup. That fucking asshole derm bastard that I've been going to for the last ten years has been constantly been putting me on a cream that's bad for people with dry eyes. And a skin cream that's bad for people with digestive issues. That fucking jerkoff knows that I have all that stuff, I talk about it all the time. So Paula has recommendations for people like me-- I've thrown out all my old shit and I'm steadily replenishing."

Steadily replenishing. Good God. I can just imagine my sister trolling the asiles of the local CVS with that crazy-ass book clutched to her bosom, with pen and pencil notations and highlighted passages, doggy-eared pages, just like a bible.

Steadily replenishing. Following instructions.

Of course, who am I to judge? Frankly, her skin has never looked better.


  1. See, I'm like your sister, but self aware enough to start cracking up at myself mid-rant.

    Also, you know, not 43.

    But I have been known to wear a bathrobe until two in the afternoon. I DO WHAT I WANT.

    This was hilarious.

  2. I don't know who this woman is, and your sister does way too much research. Where does she find the time??

    Then again, my knowledge of cosmetics is poor at best. I don't own a single cream or lotion.

    Your sister would probably think I'm some sort of cosmetic heathen.


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