Adele cat eyes. That was my random goal last month.
The British Grammy winner’s cat-eye liner look has always intrigued me since she is a reluctant public figure—a hermit some have said—and yet when she does resurface for a tour or award ceremony, she is often sporting a magical Harry Potter-movie frock and that big cat-eye.
Quirky, flirty and mysterious. What’s not to love? Like the occasional ruby red lips, cat-eye liner can break up the boredom of bulky winter neutrals and dreary days. At least, that was my pitch to myself and one workday instead of lunch, I went across the street to Macy’s to Todd, my go-to makeup counter guy, to get instruction.
“Adele cat-eyes,” I told him, plopping into his chair. He knew what I meant, but said he wasn’t the best and fetched another makeup artist he introduced as The Wingtip Whiz. She had banged velvety blue hair, false eyelashes and about five times the amount of makeup I normally wear, so I was momentarily afraid she would turn me into a drag version of myself.
“I want a clean, day-time version of the Adele cat-eye,” I clarified, as though it wasn’t completely obvious from my face that I trend makeup light. You can do too much with makeup was what I discovered when I let pre-Todd artists play with my face. Often I’d sulked away thinking This is how I would look if I was headlining on Broadway or a red-light district. Often I’d sulked away with makeup wipes and apologies.
The Wingtip Whiz was pleasant and committed, but when I thought she’d been at it forever (aka – longer than the daily five minutes I spend putting on my face), I asked for a mirror. Too black, too arched, too Adele. After feedback, she knit her full, perfectly arched brows in concentration and went at it again.
It was only then that I saw she was in a fierce competition with herself and wasn’t going to quit until she delivered. This both alarmed and fascinated me because in what world was having the perfect cat-eye liner that serious?
As she seemed to be wrapping up her masterpiece, out of the corner of my almost-done cat eye, I saw a young man in a red flannel shirt and black beanie dashed by in a crouched position with something tucked under his arm. Then he popped up, ran to the next counter, and crouched down again. Todd’s face was frozen in an awkward smile and the staff at the nearby counter had WTH expressions on their faces. A buzzer went off and two security guards apprehended the thief. No surprise there, but I was blown away by The Wingtip Whiz’s willingness to hang in there amidst the hijinks around us. Maybe store thefts were old news. Maybe she was born with a surgeon’s focus and deft hands. Maybe perfectionism stalks her too. In any case, I returned to work with the perfect-for-me cat eye and laughter in my belly.