Beauty with an Edge

I have written before about my disconnect with popular culture, but I have never felt it any more keenly than on a recent visit to a cosmetics store in Myrtle Beach.

Now, I have nothing against cosmetics stores. My own non-use thereof is more an indication of my regrettable tendency to inertia than to any active objection. On the long-form census I select “Agnostic” as my cosmetics status: Neither a believer nor a non-believer me, to misquote the Bard.  

Nor do I have anything against Myrtle Beach—quite the contrary—but I don’t think of it as edgy.

As a summer resort for families, a place of never-ending beach? Yes.

MB beach

As a place to get a photo of a pelican? Sure.

Brown pelican

As an off-season Happy Hours haven for geezers? Absolutely. (Be grateful there is no photographic accompaniment.)

But as a place with edgy shopping? Not so much. Myrtle Beach is more Not Your Daughter’s Jeans than, well, I actually have no idea what the edgy option is. Which is sort of the point.

And so it was that as I trailed along behind my friend—on a mission for a special shampoo—I blundered smack into major culture shock, totally totally unprepared. I did not expect what I found in Myrtle Beach, but honestly, I wouldn’t have expected it anywhere.

So what did I smack into?

One was the new-to-me brand name: Urban Decay. As a woman of a certain age, I find any references to decay to be a bit rude. But Urban Decay for a line of cosmetics? I don’t get it.

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And the two of the one-two punch? This.

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All right then. But while rolling my eyes, I saw the adjacent display.

 

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All right then.

I know less than nothing about cosmetics, but I know this: In any marketing environment where sappy sits un-ironically cheek by jowl (you should excuse the expression) with edgy, there must be something targeted precisely to me, who is neither sappy nor edgy. We’ll leave the jowly out of this.

I didn’t find that Something, but it’s reassuring to know that it must be out there. To know that although I may have given up on popular culture, the marketers behind popular culture haven’t given up on me.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Marion

    I share your agnosticism in this area. Having dabbled in my far-off youth with cosmetics I decided they were ‘not for me’, except for a smear of lipstick when going out – and when I remember. Having lost said stick several months ago I don’t seem to have missed it, at least not enough to go into a cosmetics store and select from the thousands of shades and brands available.
    Interesting that philosophy managed “20 years of amazing grace” in the face of Urban Decay’s “20 years of beauty with an edge”, but maybe philosophy didn’t live in the city.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Marion – Yes, the degree of difference in the marketing/positioning approaches brought me up short. I hadn’t noticed the 20-year coincidence (or is it? hmm) so thanks for that.

  2. Jim Taylor

    Gilbert and Sullivan seem to be running in my mind this week. Do you remember the line, “And I think I am sufficiently decayed… If that be so, sing derry down derry, we’ll happily marry….” Both decay and decadence are mocked by our society. I can’t speak for decadence, but I think decay has gotten a bum rap. All my best friends are on the downhill side of decay, and I think they’re better for it — wiser, more tolerant, more perceptive. And as those qualities shine through, even more beautiful. Here’s to decay!
    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Jim T – Well, there’s beauty in accepting the inevitable, I’d say. Whether we get better as we age or merely older depends, maybe, on how we started. But here’s to those who are comfortable in themselves at every age and stage. So much less wearying.

  3. Maybe the cosmetic product for you “gals” who eschew make-up is Smashbox.

    I have a friend who buys lots of make-up, the high-end kind @ $180 a little jar. They give her lots of free products, so she eeks out the jars with freebies.
    She does have beautiful skin: no pores, but who’s to say chicken/egg…

    I swear the product industry has run out of names. Why don’t they just name everything FCUK and be done with it? Sex apparently sells, even when misspelled.

    O/T
    By the way, did I mention that John and I now play Scabble (or Skrabel?) phonetically — it’s much more fun and sometimes we each have 2 or 3 words that use all the letters, per game. However, getting the X, Z, Q & Y are 9/10 John’s picks.
    Hard to win without them. For the first time in 10 games, I managed to pick up the X (instead of my usual hand — 4 Es, an I, an O and one N). However, I
    noticed along with the coveted X I had picked up 8 altogether, not 7.

    I held the tray up to John and had him pick one (from the back of course).
    You guess it. His hand went automatically to the X. Miffed, I cried HOW
    COME YOU ALWAYS get the high values!?! “They’re mine,” he shrugged. Ah.
    OK, then.

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – Maybe Scrabble is a beauty product in the sense that it tends to heighten one’s colour, whether through the natural vigour of the competition or the incense-ed-ness that arises when someone nabs our high-score tiles.

      1. Yes! A one-in-eight chance! Unbelievable. I tried five different strategies of picking up the tiles. Nothing worked. (Maybe he marked the tiles? Nah, he’s just lucky.)

        Scrabble — The new look: do your make-up in the dark. 😀

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