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Sunday, November 27, 2011

holoblomo day 27: face it

note: “holoblomo” stands for Horribly Local Blogging Month, my response to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that happens every November. The NaNoWriMo challenge asks writers to compose 50,000 words in a month; I chose 10,000 as my goal. Enjoy.

So here we are. 
When I was in high school, I came across an old movie on TV one day: Heaven Can Wait. Not Warren Beatty’s Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty from 1978, but Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait with Don Ameche from 1943. Despite matching titles, the films are totally unrelated. 

In that picture, Don Ameche dies at a ripe old age and heads down to Hell, only to be told he doesn’t belong there. Shocked by this, he recounts his life’s wicked ways, shown in flashback. The then-dashing Don Ameche aged about 40 years in that movie, thanks to the magic of Hollywood makeup... and somehow looked exactly the way he would wind up looking 40 years later in Trading Places
This impressed me to no end. How could a makeup artist know exactly how Ameche’s face would age? Talent? Clairvoyance?
When I was in college, I was cast in a mainstage play where I portrayed a middle-aged estate sale agent. Since the show was crewed by students as part of their coursework, I was paired with a stagecraft major and her faculty advisor to create my character’s look. We talked hair (french twist) and nails (coral press-ons), and then the subject of aging makeup was broached. The advisor studied my face and said, Lift your eyebrows as far up as you can. I obliged. 
Her brow furrowed. Wow, she said. You’re not going to have many forehead wrinkles when you get older.
I didn’t get it. What?
She explained to me that when I raised my brows, my forehead didn’t create many lines, therefore I probably wouldn’t have a lot of wrinkles there. I’d have some around my eyes, but not my forehead. So instead of creating wrinkles on my forehead, she’d create shadows there and add some mild crow’s feet. 
Well, that seemed good to me. Until she said the following:
And I’ll give you jowls. Yeah. You’re probably going to get jowls. 
This did not seem good to me. At all. But then I thought, come on... she doesn’t really know. She can’t see into the future. And it’s not the same as Don Ameche. That was Hollywood. This is college.  
But here we are in the future, where I am almost the age of that character I played... and it is now clear to me that makeup artists are indeed talented, but definitely clairvoyant. 
Damn it. It’s just like Don Ameche.
And that’s 12,921 words.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me. 

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