Fake English Accents and Eyelash Extensions
When I was a kid, around middle school age, I had a best friend named Ellice. Her last name was something long and German sounding, virtually unpronounceable if you weren’t wearing lederhosen or didn’t have sauerkraut running through your veins.
Ellice had a father with perpetual dirt under his fingernails, which always struck me as odd because my dad never did.
In his filthy drab green coveralls, all greasy haired and grizzled, he was some kind of super-duper airplane mechanic. Her mother, on the other hand, was the executive assistant for some highfalutin businessman downtown. I never saw her without her high heels, red lipstick, and a really fake looking black wig with tufts of gray hair peeking out from the sides.
A more unlikely couple you could NOT imagine. If you saw her parents standing side by side you couldn’t picture them sharing a cab—let alone making babies.
Nevertheless, they had three. Ellice had a kid sister and a baby brother who were looked after by an au pair, which I learned was an exotic word for nanny, which was just another word for babysitter/maid—or in other words, Alice on the Brady Bunch. This entire concept was as foreign to me as the au pair, Kirsten’s, British accent.
Since we were tweens and obviously waaaay past the nanny stage, Ellice made it clear to Kirsten that “she was not the boss of her” which I’m sure came as a relief to the poor young woman seeing that every time I saw her she was braiding the toddler’s hair with one hand while holding the infant whose diaper had exploded ochre colored baby poo-poo all over her powder blue uniform with the other.
I can trace my earliest memories of “Yeah, that baby stuff—that’s not for me”, back to those exact moments.
That time in history, the 1960’s, was fraught with social conflict, burgeoning women’s rights, hippies and the English Invasion. All which mirrored my own internal, pre-teen, hormone fueled, identity crisis. But what may have imprinted on me the most was a fondness for foreign accents and my appreciation for the way they made the dumbest diatribes sound like freaking Shakespeare.
So, for three months one summer my “precocious friend“ (my mother christened her with that title) and I walked around our little slice of suburbia wearing Kirsten’s Mary Quant white lipstick (which we “borrowed” off of her nightstand)—and took to speaking with British accents. Now, when you’re faking British accents it’s really only fun if you go around acting clueless and asking strangers a ton of questions in the most non-American way possible like “Where is the loo?” and “Can you please direct us to the lift?”
We explained our general stupidity and unbridled curiosity by saying we were exchange students from Bristol (I wanted London, but she picked Bristol.) We peppered our conversations with lots of “brilliants” and “cheerios” and as we walked away we flipped our hair and yelled “Tah!” over our shoulders.
We acted out this charade for so long that after a while I started to believe I was British.
That is, until our neighbor, Judy, busted me at the drug store in front of a man and his wife who went from being absolutely charmed and beguiled by us—to being thoroughly disgusted.
“Corkie, is that you?” Judy asked in her thick Brooklyn accent swinging me around by my shoulders. “Why are you talking like that? Don’t be an idiot. Stop embarrassing yourself!”
My face still gets hot with humiliation just thinking about it.
Which leads me to the present day and eyelash extensions. Have you seen them? They are spectacular!
I was late to the party on this trend, but after my sister convinced me to get them for the sake of “convenience” I have to admit—I fell truly, madly and deeply in love. They became my Holy Grail. My own black-fringed version of the Fountain of Youth. My Be All and End All.
You see, I have always had to dye my eyelashes black because they are so blonde they are invisible. These days, my body suddenly has the ability to produce jet-black chin hair but my eyelashes have remained the color of straw—so I’ve taken to wearing false eyelashes, which I LOVE.
But, come on! Eyelash extensions were MADE for me! I mean, the fact that you WAKE UP—IN THE MORNING— with lush, dark black eyelashes made me feel… beautiful. I tried to stay blasé but I couldn’t help myself! Every time I caught my reflection in the mirror I did a double-take. I didn’t recognize myself. Those eyelashes transformed me into one of those women who wakes up gorgeous, like a Kardashian or a soap opera star.
Strangers even commented on how pretty my eyes looked. I just batted those long, voluminous, black lashes so furiously, they repositioned the jet stream.
As the weeks passed I started to believe that I had been born with long, thick black eyelashes. And that they looked natural. Both which were lies.
Sadly, and I mean break my heart, dead puppy kind of sad, this time the part of my neighbor, Judy, was played by my own body. I was double-crossed by a severe allergic reaction which caused me to have to “give up the jig” after a brief six weeks.
I’m ashamed to say, they were the best six weeks of my life.
Nevermind. It has been my experience that throughout my life I’ve tried on a lot of affectations on my way to deciding who I really am.
And I’m betting you have too.
Some are ridiculous, like fake British accents and we discard them after a couple of weeks, some are impulsive but they grow on us and we weave them into the fabric of who we are like I did back-in-the-day with my red hair and more recently with a tiny gold nose ring.
I will not be deterred! Age hasn’t stopped me from morphing and changing and trying new things and I don’t believe that it should! Listen, I think that if I stop doing this you’d better hold a mirror under my nose to make sure I’m not dead.
The great 11 pm. eyelash extension self-removal debacle of 2017. Which I can barely speak of without crying. Now I look like I have alopecia (not that there’s anything wrong with that.).