I’m not coming to the party for LuLaRoe, Arbonne, Avon, Advocare, Beachbody, doTerra, Young Living, The Pampered Chef, Rodan + Fields, Scentsy, Shaklee, Juice Plus, Tastefully Simple, or anything else.
Don’t take it personally, it’s nothing particular about you or your MLM.
I have been through things.
Hilarious things, in retrospect, but still…things that are best left to memory rather than re-experiencing.
My husband and I had just moved into a new neighborhood in a new state. It was actually a new neighborhood for everyone because all of the houses had just been built.
So, in an attempt to fit in, I accepted any and all social invitations. The neighbor across the street invited me to a “skin care class,” and I accepted, although truthfully my interest in such things is limited to a daily moisturizer that is dreadfully necessary for my genetically incredibly dry skin. This “skin care class” turned out to be a code name for a Mary Kay party, where women are supposed to buy Mary Kay stuff.
When I walked in to the “skin care class” and saw Mary Kay everywhere, I knew it was a home party for Mary Kay. I am not an idiot. I think it’s a little creepy not to be up front with people that it’s a Mary Kay party.
I love going to home parties. I don’t care what they’re for. I love looking at the catalogs and seeing people try things out. Even crappy, overpriced things. I will suffer intense distress on behalf of both the hostess and the seller if I do not spend at least $50 at the party, so I’m pretty much a sure bet when I’m invited. I cannot bear to have the hostess and seller feel bad that their party did not go well.
So, anyway, if I attend one of these I plan to fork over at least $50 to buy stuff that I most likely will give away, or hoard for several years before giving away. The only thing I have ever gotten at one of these things that I truly wanted was a terra cotta turtle, which we named Sancho, that sat on our various porches until one day my toddler son picked up Sancho and we found out that terra cotta is not a great toddler’s toy. Anyway, I like to pretend that I’m being social when I go to these things and agreeably buy items which I do not want or need.
Please do not invite me to these parties. I will ignore you. If pressed, I will say no. And you might have to listen to this story again.
Back to the Mary Kay party, or, in Mark Kay parlance, “skin care class.” I learned nothing about skin care at the skin care class. I bought some makeup, about which I remember nothing. At the end of the party, I was invited to another party. A really big Mary Kay party that would take place at a local church.
I, being new to the state and socially desperate, accepted.
The Mark Kay seller gave me a CD which she said was incredibly inspirational and she explained that the information on the CD had changed her life. She urged me to listen to it several times before attending the big class. Of course I had to listen. It had changed her life, people! She seemed really nice. She said that Mary Kay was a great career and that I would be great at it. I told her I was going to law school and that I was pretty busy with working during the day and going to law school at night. Despite my complete lack of interest in skin care or makeup, she insisted that Mary Kay would be perfect for me, and I would be perfect for Mary Kay.
The miraculous CD was a recording of another Mary Kay seller who expounded at length on the miracles which Mary Kay had wrought upon her life. She urged me to follow my “Little Girl Dream.” I found it fascinating, yet completely un-compelling and uninspiring. At the risk of revealing myself to be unkind, I laughed out loud at the clumsy emotional manipulation on the CD. I listened to it several times on the way to and from work. Perhaps I was unconvinced of the dizzying career-prospects of Mary Kay because I already had a career (teacher) and was already accepted into school for my new career (lawyer). While I was quite socially desperate, career desperate I was not. I don’t know, sometimes I try to understand how some women think, and I just don’t get it. I guess I’m inspiration-resistant.
Despite the huge red flags put up by the CD, I was still socially desperate enough to attend the next Mary Kay affair. Plus, I had said I would return the CD at the affair, and I felt obligated to do so. The really big skin care class involved what must have been at least 50 people, and snacks.
I am quite fond of snacks at parties and it took me a long time to learn that most women do not actually eat the snacks at parties, or at least they do not eat any of the snacks which might make one fat. By which I mean to say that they do not eat the snacks which are the only snacks that interest me. By this time, I had caught on to this common dysfunctional food relationship and succumbed to the social pressure, so the snacks merely added to the torture of what was to come that night.
The events of the big skin care class were typical. Until they weren’t. Let me describe them in detail, so that you can understand the full horror. We were seated around a child’s splash pool, these other potential recruits and I. We were asked to remove a shoe and expose a leg. Thank goodness I HAD bothered to shave my legs within the past few days. Plus, the lights were dimmed a bit, so the stubble wouldn’t be too visible to anyone except the people on either side of me. This is what I told myself as I removed my sock and rolled my pantleg up. This leg-stubble was my main concern at the time, when it really shouldn’t have been. If only I had not been self conscious about the stubble I would not have been caught. I like to think that. I like to blame the stubble. But I did as I was told, just like the other women. Then, I smeared something called “Satin Hands” all over my leg. It smelled kind of like the plastic hair on a new Barbie, and it felt like sandy Vaseline. There were several steps to this process, involving the sandy Vaseline, and rubbing, and rinsing, and Barbie-hair-smelling lotion. This sandy Vaseline procedure was the reason for the splash pool. Then, ostensibly to let the sandy Vaseline concoction work its magic, we were each given a trash bag to stick over our leg. We taped it kind of shut. So there we sat, with one leg covered in sandy Vaseline and sealed with a trash bag.
Not horrified yet?
The lights dimmed further and someone announced that there would be a film.
It was then that I clued in. The bag on the leg was evil genius. I would have left the moment the video started if I had not been bagged. Predictably, the film was some sort of indoctrination video in the same vein as the CD.
I don’t remember anything about it except that I was incredibly bored and kept planning ways to escape.
I considered carrying my sock and shoe, but figured the bag would rip right through in the parking lot when I walked on it. It was too far to hop. Putting my sock and/or shoe over the bag with sand and Vaseline inside it seemed too squishy and horrible, and if the bag broke my shoe would have sand and Vaseline inside of it. The Mary Kay plan to enforce viewership of the video had worked. I found myself incredibly jealous of the non-inductees who stood around in their two shoes. I felt trapped and tricked, and these feelings began to eat away at the pleasant persona I had crafted so as to fit in.
I suffered through the video. I remember nothing about the video except that it took an eternity and I spent it staring at the two-shoed women standing around enjoying their freedom, without bags on their legs, and staring at the dim lights in the ceiling. The video was not entertaining like the CD, not even close. It was endless. Then, we were finally allowed to wash off our legs and exclaim how wonderfully soft our legs now felt. My leg was smooth, I will give them that, but mostly, my legs felt weirdly imbalanced, and I would have far preferred having two rough legs to one soft and one rough.
Putting on my sock and shoe did not cure the imbalanced feeling, and I kept looking at my fellow captives to see: Which of us would be the first to bolt? I sent mental thoughts at the other women, urging them to bolt so that I could follow.
No one moved.
At this point it was close to 9:00 PM on a weeknight, meaning that those of us with day jobs would like to put on our jammies, read a bit from a book, and fall asleep until we get woken up early by our alarms, thank you very much. Despite my mental urging, no one else looked to be leaving. Socially I knew I was expected to stay even though we’d been there around two hours. Everyone knows you are not supposed to leave until people start leaving, right? Unless you have some sort of good excuse besides, “I’m tired of you and your boring video and your tricksy leg-bagging.”
I did it, though. I broke for freedom.
It was late. I had resisted tempting snacks. I had sanded and Vaselined one leg only, resulting in an imbalanced feeling that persisted despite re-socking and re-shoeing. I had been trapped and subjected to a clumsy and boring indoctrination video.
At this point, I decided that I had taken all I could.
If the others wanted to stay I was writing them off as lost.
I headed for the door, CD in hand, planning to drop it off on a table near the door. I didn’t think that at that point I could be smooth about it if I were questioned.
Since I was the only one leaving, I was easily spotted and the Mary Kay seller who invited me started in with all the stuff about, “Surely you’re not leaving such a fun party yet!!” I kept my feet moving, explaining that it was far later than I thought, my husband expected me home, and I had to get up early for work the next morning.
Then she started in about the indoctrination CD and how Mary Kay would change my life and fulfill my “little girl dreams.” I pressed the CD into her manicured hands and said, “My little girl dream is to be a lawyer.” Her face fell, but I sorrowed not for her troubles. I was free from the pink clutches of Mary Kay!
And screw it, I should have eaten some snacks.