Letterpress List No. 20: Mirror, Mirror …

OK, I can say it. Deep breath.

Shop Boy is …

he’s a …

a Sephora Beauty Insider.

I mean, not that kind of insider. Yes, I shop there, but only because Mary makes me a list, jams it in my shirt pocket, reminds me to use my little bonus card and expects to see the black-and-white bag in my soft-and-supple hands when I get home. Does that make me less of a dude? Or does the fact that right now I’m holding the little keychain tag that signifies my membership mean that I probably wasn’t much of a tough guy to begin with?

Wait a minute. What on earth does this have to do with letterpress printing?

Well, um, you know, you can’t have your face falling off in the printshop. Plays hell with the rollers. Am I right, fellas? (Work with me here, guys. Besides — my blog, my rules.)

Anyway, it all happened so fast.

There we were in Georgetown, checking out the area around U.S. News & World Report, where Shop Boy was about to begin moonlighting as a journalist type. Perfect location, on the block between the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (there’s a canal boat and mules!) and the Potomac River. Oh, there’s other stuff, too. It’s on the main flight path to and from National Airport. Takeoffs and landings all day. And the president’s helicopter flies past a few times a week. You can see him in the window, the chopper’s so low. Sometimes I even wave. (Be quiet.) But mostly you’ll find Shop Boy staring at the water. Looking for fish, gazing at the boats, or just watching the water flow. It’s unbelievably fascinating. Shop Boy’s always been this way, as Mary will tell you.

True story: On a visit to the Virginia Aquarium a few years back, Mary and Shop Boy happened past an open tank that contained a couple of nurse sharks and a few harmless rays. The staff lady there said we could pet the animals. Well, sooner than you can say “splash,” Shop Boy was in up to his elbow, his full shirt sleeve soaked. Mary and the lady were laughing so hard I’m surprised they didn’t fall in. Hey, I get excited sometimes around water and aquatic animals.

Like when Mary and Shop Boy were visiting her old stomping grounds near San Francisco. We were picnicking at the beach — pretty sure it was Stinson — when, out of nowhere, a sea lion hopped onto a wave and surfed toward us. Jumping to his feet, Shop Boy sprinted toward the water’s edge, screaming to a woman walking along the shoreline: “Hey, lady! There’s a sea lion out there!”

She looked at me like, you poor, addled, little man, and answered, “Yes, we get a few of those around here.” She looked sympathetically toward Mary, who absolutely roared. It wasn’t until the next day, when we visited the wharf in San Francisco and got a whiff of what must have been 1,000 or so sunbathing sea lions — yikes! — that Shop Boy realized the full depth of his ridiculousness. The look on my face must have been priceless, because Mary was hysterical all over again.

Wait. Where was I? Water … water, oh right. Moisture. Washington, D.C.

Well, Mary doesn’t have much use for an old canal, some stinky mules or presidential flyovers. To her, Thomas Jefferson Street is the Yellow Brick Road (red brick, actually) that leads to Oz, otherwise known as M Street. Paper Source, ooh. Barney’s Co-Op, ahh. The Gap, whee. Sephora, ding-ding-ding. (Apparently we don’t get to the mall enough.)

She grabbed Shop Boy’s hand and skipped toward the crosswalk shouting, “C’mon! We’re going to Sephora!” And as soon as we got inside the store, she was gone, lost in a haze of perfume and powdered cosmetics, up to her elbows somewhere in creams, lipsticks and heaven knows what. (Hope she remembered to roll up her sleeves.) Shop Boy wished he could disappear, too, as the lab-coated — basic black, natch — headset-clad sales associates, all very well made up, descended. To the fifth one who approached, asking whether I needed some help today, I blurted out, “My wife’s in here somewhere. She made me come here. I’m not really a shopper. I mean, I’m a shopper but not that kind of shopper, you know? Not shopping for myself, OK? I’m just trying to find a place to hide. Am I in the way here? I’m a printer, fyi. Heh, heh. Yup, big machines. Not a job for cream puffs. You got a guy’s section or something? Look, I’m a dude. Yes, a Sephora Beauty Insider dude, but …”

She looked at me like, you poor, addled, little man, and whispered gently:

“Don’t worry. We get a few of those around here.”


Letterpress List No. 20

How about an hour of music to moisturize by? Look, it takes Shop Boy 57 minutes to psych himself up, all right? I got the, ahem, Murad Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer SP 15 in my eyes the other day. You can bet they were moist after that. Mary had to flush them out. Geez. Yeah, this list is a day early (dentist appointment tomorrow — yay! — might leave Shop Boy a bit uninspired). Anyway, most of these songs should be available in the usual places. Random goofy or great video links are to YouTube.

Dude (Looks Like a Lady)Aerosmith (If he looked like this, we’d all bite.)
Somebody BeautifulGene Simmons (A man who knows his makeup.)
Lolathe Kinks (Girls will be boys and boys will be girls.)
FashionDavid Bowie (Beep-beep.)
The Beautiful PeopleMarilyn Manson (“Hey you, what do you see?”)
Liquored Up and Lacquered DownSouthern Culture on the Skids (Coulda been a beauty queen.)
Kiss From a RoseSeal (Ha! Just playing.)
Pretty in Pinkthe Psychedelic Furs (Wasn’t she?)
Gone Like the WaterFreedy Johnston (Goodbye, Mom and Dad. I, um, borrowed a few things.)
UnprettyTLC (So … not so.)
Beautiful Christina Aguilera (So.)
Barenaked Ladies (Spoofing consumerism.)
Celebrity SkinHole (Not selling cheap.)
SingaporeTom Waits (“Wipe him down with gasoline, till his arms are hard and mean.”)
Where the River FlowsCollective Soul (Is where you’ll find dogs like me, I guess.)
Proud MaryTina Turner (Um … wow.)
Splish SplashBobby Darin (Silly. You got a problem with that?)
Too Many Fish in the Seathe Marvelettes (A better one’s out there.)
Bring Me Some WaterMelissa Etheridge (This one singed her eyebrows. Better get the makeup.)

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