Before we begin this story, there are two things I have to make clear at the start, or else some of what follows may not make sufficient sense.
1. I am mildly allergic to milk. This means that my body doesn't tolerate milk very well, and expresses its discontent when I do have milk by coming up with different ways to punish me. This time round, it has seen fit to punish my intake of two mocha coffees the previous day by inflicting me with some wonderful teenage-style acne outcrops on my chin.
2. I am mid-haircut. I have been cutting my own hair myself since July, but don't panic, I'm going to a proper qualified hairdresser on Wednesday, so that they can survey the damage and tutt, and then make it pretty again. Because I'm getting my haircut on Wednesday, I'm letting the hair dye slide slightly. At the moment there is a red kind of hue coming off my hair, but on Thursday, my hair will be a chestnut brown. Imagine that. Can you?
So. Bearing these things in mind, let us now talk about The Bad Man Who Was Mean To Me In Lush, Yesterday.
Me and Little Sister Edel were in Lush
yesterday, on our way home from the ballet (yes, I'm very cultured). Little Sister Edel was popping in to purchase some things for Little Sister Louise, and I was waiting patiently in Lush, being nicely pummelled on all sides by the madding crowd. Lush on a Saturday is not somewhere you want to be if you're in the mood to be left alone, let me tell you that now. Not only are there rabid females being driven mad by the thought of rose petals in their bath and the overpowering scent of everything in the shop all together at once, but also the staff there are trained to greet you like a long lost friend. I don't mind the greeting. I can take greetings as well as any person, and I tend to respond in kind, because then they usually walk away and start throwing bits of bath bombs into buckets, so that everyone around them can go "oooooooooh" at the sight of soda.
A Spanish man, from hereon in referred to as The Bad Man Who Was Mean To Me In Lush, Yesterday (or TBMWWMTMILY), came up to me while I was standing staring at some moisturisers. My exact thoughts at that moment were "I couldn't use any of these crummy moisturisers, because they'd give me spots". TBMWWMTMILY approached me, giving the customary welcome of the Lush Employees, which is an overenthusiastic "Hello
!" I think I gave a polite murmur back, and returned to my staring, but TBMWWMTMILY wasn't going to be put off by that. His first question to me was "Have you ever used a cleanser before?"
Good Lord, I thought to myself, I know I've got a few spots, but that's taking the piss ever so slightly. I wanted to explain about the mochas, but he'd immediately instilled such a weird feeling of shame because obviously I looked like I'd never washed my face in my life that I just muttered something of no meaning under my breath and started to fervently wish he'd go away. He explained quite loudly, in good if heavily accented English, about how cleansers work to free the skin of "imperfections", while I turned purple and tried to bury myself under some bath bombs.
I again tried brushing him off with some mumbles of how I was only looking, and would he please go away, but he suddenly changed tack and asked me, in a voice louder than that of God talking to Moses, if I used colour in my hair. My hair, for those of you that don't know, is a shade of red that isn't possible in the natural world. Nothing in the natural world is or will ever be this shade of red, unless it was born too close to Sellafield. I looked askance at him, wondering what he was going to say next, and said that, yes, I do dye my hair. TBMWWMTMILY asked what I dyed it with. I could think of nothing else to say, so I said I dyed it with hair dye. Without skipping a moment's beat, TBMWWMTMILY asked if I'd consider using henna, as it's "kinder". As he said "kinder", a withering look of pity, coupled with a look of minor disgust crossed his face as he surveyed the ruins of my between hair cuts hair.
At this point, my choice was to go one of two ways, as he’d managed, in less than five sentences, to highlight not only to me but also to the rest of the shop, the rest of Dublin even, the two things I was feeling most sensitive about that day. I could either burst into tears there and then in the shop, or I could slap him across the face and tell him to mind his own fucking business.
I of course did neither. I carried on mumbling things about thanks and yes, and I’d think about it and then I made a beeline for the door, being stopped only twice on the way to have some honey flavoured soap shoved under my nose by another Lush Employee who wanted to know if I’d ever smelt anything nicer than that, and another Lush Employee who wanted to know if I needed any help.
I love Lush products, I really do. But I am NEVER going back in to their shop. The sales technique is cloying and inhibiting at best, and intrusive and bullying at worst.
Although, in retrospect, I may have been feeling a little delicate yesterday, and may well have taken it all a little too personally. Even so. TBMWWMTMILY will be dead by sun down.