Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bad Customer! No Lipstick!

Different Xtremes

© 2010 Leighann Lord

I’m a Girlie Girl who loves shopping. I married a Manny Man who loves sports. If I tell him I’m going to Ann Taylor, he thinks I’m visiting a friend. If I say, I’m going to the M.A.C. store he thinks I’m buying a computer.

I actually did go to the M.A.C. store recently because I was out of my second favorite lipstick: Photo. It’s a rich, beautiful brown. A great day color that looks good by itself and mixes well with others. It’s my second favorite because Xtreme, my first favorite, was discontinued by M.A.C. a few years ago. [INSERT UNLADYLIKE GROWLING AND TEETH GNASHING HERE]. Xtreme was an eye catching, ruby-reddish-burgundy that wasn’t too red, or too purple. It was perfect, so of course they discontinued it.

I’ve been on an unsuccessful hunt for a replacement for quite a while now. And while the wonderful world of lip color has been awash in glosses, tints and stains, the perfect Xtreme equivalent has been elusive.

I’m not simply going by price. It’s not necessary that I plunk down $15 for a tube of lipstick. I’ve unashamedly trolled the makeup aisles in Wal-mart, Target and K-Mart in search of the right shade. Okay, I am ashamed about going to K-Mart, since the one in my neighborhood is consistently horrible, but I’m desperate.

I’ve even ordered a couple of promising colors from Avon, but their lipsticks do not agree with me. After a few hours wear, the skin on my lips begins to peel like dried Elmer’s Glue. Very sexy.

So, I’m at the M.A.C. store buying my second favorite lipstick when the sales clerk said, “Do you need anything else?”

“No,” I said, “Not unless you’ve brought back Xtreme.”

“Ooh, no. That was a good color.”

“I know! Does M.A.C. make anything similar?” I said.

“I’m sorry, no.”


“No, not really.”


And then I had an epiphany. I often write and rail about bad customer service. And yet there I was being a bad customer. I was haranguing this poor salesman as if he were in charge of making executive level product decisions. I asked the same question multiple times in the irrational hope that he’d say, “Yes, they brought it back just for you and I have a case of it in the back. Where have you been?”

Bad customer. No lipstick.

To his credit though he was very patient with me. I guess he deals with product junkies on withdrawal all the time. Or maybe he drinks on the job to dull the pain.

At least I had the good grace to be embarrassed and apologize. I pride myself on not being a pain in the ass, at least not with strangers. That’s the kind of thing I like to save for family; people who can appreciate it and use it against me later.

Somewhat dejected, I guess I was pouting when I got home because the Manny Man said, “What’s wrong?”
“They still don’t have Xtreme.”

“Yeah, I know. The only thing on ESPN now is The World Cup.”


“Um . . . ”
he said, “We’re not talking about extreme sports are we?”

“No,” I said. “Lipstick.”


“There’s ‘extreme’ lipstick? What does it do?”

“It’s the name of the color.”

“What color is extreme?”


“That doesn’t sound very extreme. Why don’t they just call it ruby-reddish-burgundy?”


“I’m going to watch The World Cup now.”

“I’ll be at Sephora’s.”

“Oh, ok. Tell her I said, ‘hi.’”

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. She's George Carlin if he'd been born a Black Woman. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's Wrong with Whoopi?

Making The Hater’s Hit List
© 2010 Leighann Lord

When I was a kid, my Dad told me that there are people in the world who aspire to mediocrity. I didn’t understand what he meant until I grew up and realized that he’d sugarcoated it. Not only are there people who do not aspire, but they don’t want you to strive for anything either. For whatever reason, they don’t seek to accomplish anything and belittle those who do. I met a couple of folks like this recently after a show; two old men who put me in mind of a Black Statler & Waldorf (from "The Muppet Show").

"Statler" asked me what I felt about Whoopi Goldberg. I sometimes get asked this question because people assume we are both comedians. We are not. Whoopi, is a comedic actress. This distinction isn’t very important to the general public, but it is to me. While the goal is the same – to entertain – they are different jobs with different skill sets. (Not all singers are musicians. Not all musicians are singers.) That said, I am a fan of Whoopi’s work, and have been since her one woman show. Hell, I sat through "Jumping Jack Flash."

I could tell, however, by the way that "Statler" asked the question that he didn’t want to hear my opinion as much as he wanted to share his own, so I said, "What do ‘you’ think of Whoopi?"

"I don’t like her," he said.

"How come?"

"Why does she have to look like that?"

Like what: comfortable, confident, content? The lack of quotation marks on the previous sentence means that’s what I thought, not what I said. What did happen was a noticeable arch in my left eye brow, which said, ‘What’s wrong with Whoopi?'

"All the money she has, why she can’t fix herself up?"

Right back atcha, Sunshine. Look in the mirror much? Why is it that people who judge others only by their appearance are often so very lacking in theirs? If fixing oneself up is so simple why don’t they do it? Cosmetic surgery is very affordable but I’ll settle for good hygiene. To this lot, a woman’s professional accomplishments are not nearly as important as how stylish her clothes, how perfect her hair or how high her heels. I mean really, why pick on Whoopi when Larry King is disintegrating right before our eyes?

Then "Waldorf" said, "What do you think of Oprah?" Wary I said, "What do YOU think of her?"

"I don’t like her."

I kinda saw that coming but I wasn’t sure why. If we’re judging on appearance, then Oprah is very well put together. I was afraid to ask, but I had to know, "What’s wrong with Oprah?"

"She tells all her business," he said. "Why she got to tell it all? She don’t know how to keep anything private."

No. No, she doesn’t, which would be really problematic if she worked for Homeland Security, but she’s a talk show host. Salacious stories and tales of woe are valuable currency in our culture. In a weird way it’s almost admirable that Oprah’s not asking her guests to reveal any more or less then she does about herself. Show me yours and I’ll show you mine seems fair.

Of all the reasons not to like Oprah, I’m not sure that loose lips would have made my top 10. At the end of the day, she’s not dishing my dirt, and I don’t recall ever seeing "Statler" and/or "Waldorf" on the show.

I should have brushed off their curmudgeonly comments, but I didn’t like the direction of the conversation. Were there any single, successful black women whom they did like? Who was next on their haters hit list, Condoleezza?

But the human brain is amazing. Sometimes it shuts off or reinterprets experiences that it deems too painful to deal with. My brain did me this solid by offering up the possibility that these Black men – either of whom could have been my Father or Grandfather – weren’t really disparaging successful Black women while talking to a Black woman. No. They ... just ... didn’t like famous one-named people. Who knows, maybe they also disliked Prince or Buddha or Hitler ... Oh, wait. Hitler was single.

I know it’s impossible to please everybody but you’d at least like to have "family" in your corner. But not everybody gets that. Maybe that’s why some people aspire to mediocrity so as to keep peace with the ne' er do wells around them. But to quote another successful sister, Mary J. Blige: "It doesn’t matter if you go along with their plan. They’ll never be happy because they’re not happy with themselves."

I’m not one to go looking for ill will, but I’m actually hoping I make it onto "the list." Maybe it’ll mean I’m doing something right.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian, who's style is best described as "Thinking Cap Comedy." If comedy were music, she'd be Jazz. She's George Carlin if he'd been born a Black Woman. Check out her upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Another Golden Girl Gone

I Want to be Treated Better Than You”

© 2010 Leighann Lord

When I heard that a third Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan, had passed away tears sprang to my eyes. And by tears I mean I was sobbing at Panera Bread into my cinnamon french toast bagel. As news spread the text messages, emails and Face Book wall posts of condolence came in from friends who know that I’m a hard core Golden Girls fan.

Betty White, The Last Golden Girl Standing said, “It hurts more than I ever thought it would.” I know what she means, especially since Blanche Devereaux was not my favorite Golden Girl. In the “Which Golden Girl Would You Be” game I am Dorothy. Smart, sarcastic, acerbic, socially awkward and flawed, Ms. Zbornak is my hero.

My Husband who, thanks to me, has a Jeopardy-esque familiarity with the show said,

I think you’d make a good Sophia.”

“Why, because I’m cranky?”

he said, “Because you can do a dead on and heart felt ‘Picture it, Sicily 1922 . . . ’
Could you ever be Blanche?” he asked.

“No, never! I’d rather be Rose. I’d sooner be simple than slutty."

ot so deep down, I’m a prude so playing easy would be seriously hard. An integral part of the Golden Girls team, Blanche’s uber-promiscuity was fun to watch, but difficult to emulate.

One of my favorite Blanche scenes was when she was dating guest star Ken Howard (who some of us may remember as The White Shadow). He was newly divorced, and unaccustomed to the dating scene, so he got up to speed by reading women’s magazines. What ensued was an episode full of horrible dates where he didn’t open Blanche’s door, pull out her chair or pay for her dinner. When she confronted him on his boorish behavior, he said according to the magazines women wanted to be treated the same as men. And Blanche ever so sweetly said, "I don't want to be treated the same as you, I want to be treated better than you." I loved it! Bravo, Blanche! Female chauvinism in action!

I actually got to see three of the four Golden Girls in person (Rue, Betty and Bea; Estelle was still alive then, but ill) when they did a DVD signing at Barnes & Noble. I stood in line for hours. There were velvet ropes, hand stamps and rock concert style security. When I finally made it to the front of the line, Rue – as if in character – was the epitome of southern grace and charm.

Rue and I crossed paths again when a Golden Girls gift basket was one of the featured items at a silent auction benefitting animal rescue organization, Bobbi & The Strays. The basket, donated by Rue – an animal lover – included two seasons of The Golden Girls a signed photo of Rue and an actual outfit she wore on the show. I had to have it. I don’t know what proper silent auction etiquette is, but I’m sure I broke it. I hovered by the table, making sure no one outbid me. I was leaving with my Golden Girls gift basket or I’d know the reason why. It now sits proudly on my bookshelf.

This has been a bad year for TV sitcom icons. We’ve lost Dixie Carter (Designing Women), Gary Coleman (Different Strokes) and now Rue. I’m not sure I can take anymore. Can someone please keep an eye on Bill Cosby?

Bookmark and Share

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian. June 26 - July 5 she'll be performing for the troops in Kosovo through Armed Forces Entertainment. Check out her other upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Untidy Consequences:

Did the Oil Spill Start at Dunkin Donuts?

© 2010 Leighann Lord

Okay, I’m a neat freak. I’m at peace with that and I know it colors how I view the world. Where people see cold and sterile, I see order and cleanliness. What people call “lived in” and “homey,” I call chaos. How people choose to keep their homes is their business, but the space we share with each other comes with certain obligations. Rule number one: Don’t be a slob.

was sitting in Dunkin Donuts, enjoying a cheap cup of coffee when a father came in with four kids – three boys and a girl – all under the age of 10. I usually only see moms saddled with such a sizeable brood so I guess it must’ve been Dad’s weekend with the kids. I braced myself for pandemonium but kudos to Dad: all of the kids were reasonably well behaved. There was a wee bit of running around, and misuse of the outdoor voice in an indoor setting but nothing egregious.

Unfortunately, no points on the dismount. After such a promising start, Dad and company walked out of Dunkin Donuts leaving behind a filthy table littered with used napkins, cups and crumbs. Yeah, I know. It’s Dunkin Donuts. There’s a guy who wanders out every so often to wipe off the tables and mop the floor, but damn. If you have to clean up after your dog, shouldn’t you have to clean up after your own kids?

sn’t it part of the unspoken public code of conduct that in fast food restaurants without wait service we’re supposed to bus our own tables? Dad blew a teachable moment, instead showing his kids that it’s ok to make a mess and walk away. Maybe they have household help at home to do the dirty work, but on this occasion Mr. Belvedere was elsewhere.

ostering a disregard for the condition of our shared space has long term consequences. When these kids go to college, they’re going to make lousy roommates. If they ever plan to do a Spring break abroad, they might want to skip Singapore. In 1994, 18-year-old American, Michael Fay, was sentenced to a four-stroke caning for theft and vandalism. I know. Slovenliness is not the same but who’s to say it’s not the gateway? Today – with Dad’s blessing – the kids are leaving the table without cleaning it off. Tomorrow they’re littering and destroying public property. And why not? Someone else will clean it up.

hat kind of spouses will these kids become? Most likely bitter and divorced. A recent study by The London School of Economics found that divorce is “less likely if the husband helps with the housework.” Oh, well. If the research is right, someday these boys will spend an afternoon in a donut shop with their kids, leaving a load of litter for someone else to look after. On the bright side the girl will make some pigsty guy very happy.

worry not that these kids will grow up to just be slobs sure to get their 15 minutes of fame on reality shows like “Clean House” or “Hoarders,” but worse. They’ll become oil industry executives who play fast and loose with the rules. They’ll make a catastrophic, ecological mess that they’ll have no idea how to fix, making all of us the defacto Dunkin Donuts clean up guy.

Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian. June 25 - July5 she'll be performing for the troops in Kosovo! Check out her other upcoming shows @ Join her on FaceBook. Follow her on Twitter.