Monday, August 23, 2010

Warning to Milena: This piece uses the "p" word multiple times.

 (Note to all others: Sorry that it's not the "p" word you were probably thinking of. For that matter, I could do a whole post on the ridiculous slang for lady parts, all of which I find pretty hilarious. This post is about blemishes, though. Pimples.)

Last night, I put a blob of toothpaste on my chin, right at the spot where it appeared I had gotten a chin implant by a severely incompetent plastic surgeon. I was developing one of those "under the skin" pimples. This was not like the dozen or so smaller spots on my face which are masked by a fine tinted foundation each morning. This was a mother-of-all blemishes. It was out to disfigure and maim.

Keeping in mind my mother's "Don't touch it!-you'll just make it worse!" policy, I resisted the urge to bring myself inches away from by bathroom mirror, scrunch my mouth up and out of the way, and give this sucker a squeeze. I had a feeling that if I did, I might just piss it off and wake up to find all of its brothers and sisters had shown up roughly in the same spot to kick my ass. Or my face's ass. If that is what I have.

Of course, this was a warning I got at thirteen, when I was convinced that my teacher would be so horrified by the sight of my breakout that she wouldn't be able to teach class. My boyfriend would break up with me and my friends would scoot to another table at lunch just to get away from my hideous visage. I'd be laughed off the bus and spill the contents of my backpack as the driver opened the door and ordered me off. Bending down to pick up my belongings, I'd see my blemished reflection in a puddle and curse the day I was ever born. Hormones were prone to not only cause breakouts, but heighten my already developing sense of doom.

"You'll stop getting pimples once you graduate high school." That's another thing my mom used to tell me. Newsflash to teenagers: I'm nearly 38 with gray hair that I dye every 4-6 weeks, arm parts that become more like bread dough each time I investigate them, a face and neck that's falling at an alarming rate, and I still have pimples. Prepare yourselves. Mother nature is cruel.

I learned the toothpaste trick from my sister. "It has to be paste, not gel," she warned. Recently, she's sworn that tea tree oil works. "Your face will really stink, but that pimple will be gone like that." She snaps her fingers. I didn't have tea tree oil, but briefly considered other stinky things in the house, in case it was the stink that killed the pimple. In the end, I smeared a bit of Sensodyne on that bad boy and called it a night.

I woke to something not unlike a marble or frozen pea embedded in my chin. And it's mini-me several inches over on my jawline. Just for good measure, a little dainty one had appeared above my lip, where prettier people have beauty marks. My beauty mark was a pimple that took it upon itself to bleed the entire time I was getting ready for work. You don't see this in the commercials when a fresh-faced twenty-something gently exfoliates her skin and then splashes it clean with a shit-eating grin, like it's the most fun she's ever had in her life. I should be in those commercials. I have a thing or two to say about the demoralizing process that is face washing and inspection.

Before heading out to work, I put the finishing touches my attempt to appear like I have naturally glowing and flawless skin. I've fought the age spots, and the age spots have won, but I refuse to be overrun by pimples. I dab concealer. Brush with powder. A bit more concealer. Topped with a little more powder. By the time I'm done, I can't feel my own face. I may have strange lumps along my chin and jawline, but they're roughly the same color as the rest of my face. Success.

At lunch, I gave my chin a quick inspection. It was now bright red and calling to mind W.C. Field's famously grotesque nose. Under the harsh overhead light of the school bathroom, I had almost no choice but try to extract whatever might be disfiguring my chin so. I could tell from the get go that this one was going to put up a fight. Minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom looking as thought I picked up a small rabid animal and allowed it to frantically scratch and bite my chin area. This, I realized, was no improvement over the red bulbous thing I had going on moments before.

I popped (no pun intended) into the nurse's office and got a bit of ice to put on it. "What happened to you?" asked a kid who was there for legitimate medical attention.

"Oh this?" I replied. "I got punched in the jaw by Mr. B." (the take-no-crap math teacher on our team).

"Really?" She gulped.

Great. I'm such an ass. Why do I say things like that? "No, honey. I have a big ol' pimple on my face and I tried to pop it but just the juice came out well some other stuff came out but not the real part you know the part that's making it all puffy and all and now it's throbbing and all red and it's all 'dang! that hurts!' so I'm all like 'I'm puttin' some ice on this sucka' so I came in here to get some-" Sometimes I don't know when to stop.

Walking back into the cafeteria, holding a little baggy of ice on my now throbbing chin, I run into our new assistant principal (special shout-out to Mr. Balossi!) and I'm now deep into that zone of I know I should keep certain things to myself but they just keep spilling out of my mouth anyway. "Hey, you got any concealor? For my big old chin pimple?" This is what I say to him.

Now, keep in mind I've met this man only a handful of times. And he is my boss. The first time I spoke to him was at a back to school breakfast, and against my better judgment, I greeted him with a knock-knock joke about poop. It was received about like you think it would be. I've tried to put myself on a "hello," "how are you?" "good morning" and "have a nice day!" probation with him since then, and let me tell you, it takes great restraint. But, I love my job. And I want to keep it.

Here I was, though, not only calling attention to my hideous chin, but asking Mr. Balossi to see if he could round up some makeup for me. "You can't even see it," he assured me. This is how nice he is. "It's always worse for the person who has the pimple." I want to believe him. He seems so believable. I couldn't help but thinking he was eyeballing my chin in that "I can't help but let my eyes wander there" way that one has when talking to someone with giant boobs. You know. You're not trying to be creepy or anything. They're just...there. Although I guess having just typed the word "boobs" in a paragraph about my new assistant principal and chin pimples does, in fact, put me in some kind of creepy category that I'd so not like to be in. Onward...

7th graders started streaming in, and while I first had the idea to conceal the pimple by trying to appear to be in a constant state of pensive reflection, thumb under the chin and pointer finger gently wrapped across it- I decided against it. The greatest gift I can give a cafeteria full of twelve and thirteen-year-olds is to see me standing tall, chin a-glow with a now oozing post-attack pimple, and smiling like I'm so confident that a little old pimple isn't going to throw me off. "Huh. If Mrs. Maret can have a giant pimple right there on her face and not seem to mind, I guess I can sit right down with my pimply self and proceed to eat this bologna sandwich." That's what I like to think I'm doing.

Then again, perhaps no one notices.


  1. Thanks for the warning . . . I laughed, as usual. I think Matt will be happy with his new status as a character in your blog! Love ya, BMaret! :-)

  2. Your ability take the sting out of embarrassing bodily functions amazes me. When you mentioned the knock knock joke I started giggling (and still am) again. Good stuff!

  3. I laughed so hard I cried then looked into the mirror and cried some more.

  4. We do eventually outgrow pimples. I'm almost 64 and it's been weeks since my last pimple!