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It's so CUUUTE! - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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It's so CUUUTE! [Jan. 14th, 2004|03:31 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]

What lies on the grass and goes "Ding Dong Ding Dong"?

An injured Avon Lady.

When I was a kid that joke made people laugh, because Avon Ladies strolled through our neighborhoods, ringing doorbells, dropping off catalogs, taking orders. It was like an individualized Tupperware party, one house at a time. My mother would invite the Avon Lady in and she would open up her heavy, square case, displaying samples for us to ooo and aah over. She would have the newest novelty perfume bottles: glass slippers, ballerinas, bells, houses. Avon was famous for these little bottles, and my mother couldn't resist. Scattered about our house were dozens of containers of rancid cologne, Mom's idea of decorative knick knacks. Her refusal to flush the unwanted eau de toilette down the drain is one of those little quirks of personality that make a character come alive in a novel. In real life, there was more than one incident involving nosy children, dropped containers, and a hideous stench lingering in the air for days.

Avon back then was about makeup and hand cream and fingernail polish, the tools of a manicure and skincare. When the Avon Lady came we had the chance to touch and rub and sniff and sample the wares. Lipstick came in these teensy sample tubes, inch-high white cylinders with the name of the color on a hanging-chad-sized label glued to the bottom. I had a clutch of these in my dress-up box and guarded their use carefully when my friends came over to play. There was no clown-face tricks with those miniature slivers of lipstick. You made them last.

Nowadays, the door-to-door Avon Lady is getting to be a rarity because no one is home. Instead, Avon Representatives are secretaries and receptionists, earning a little extra cash. I walked into the lunchroom today and found the new Avon catalogs fanned out atop a table. I picked one and browsed through for the first time in, literally years.

Avon has changed some. Oh, there is still makeup and lotions and fingernail polish, but a large selection of jewelry fills the middle pages of the catalog. That seemed a logical progression. Then I turned the page and found myself in the lingerie section. Well, it is the clothing closest to your skin, sort of the foundational layer. Like makeup - sorta. Flipped ahead. Stuffed animals and some other toys. Uh...cute like the perfume bottles? Progressed to the back.

DVDs. Why is Avon selling DVDs? There can't be any profit in them - it's a poor selection and mediocre prices. Was it some whiz-kid marketing genius, or the CEO being a pointy-haired boss?

I've worked in other offices where the Avon books have been left lying around, but honestly haven't been tempted to pick them up. It's so impersonal now. Nothing like watching my mother impulse shop for glass bottles shapped like cocker spaniels and cowboy boots, and then pretend she wasn't home when the Avon Lady tried to deliver....
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: scarletdemon
2004-01-14 12:43 pm (UTC)
Hahaha! My Mum was an Avon Lady. Every Christmas people DREADED their presents from her. I remember a fragrance called "Moonwind", I must have heard it mentioned every day for about three years. Thank GOD I have no sense of smell.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 03:51 pm (UTC)
Hee!!! I don't think there was ever an Avon Lady in the family, but we certainly owned a ton of the products - they made such great gifts!!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 04:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Is that Skin So Soft I smell?

There were wonderful little bits of junk jewelry. I had a pin shaped like a Scotch Terrier and a pewter teddybear pendant.

I miss the Avon Lady, even though I would never be home to answer the door.
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[User Picture]From: lothie
2004-01-14 02:00 pm (UTC)
Wow. I SOOOOOOOOOOOO remember the Avon Lady of old...*sigh*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 04:00 pm (UTC)
I think I made a lot of people a little sad....
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[User Picture]From: lothie
2004-01-14 08:24 pm (UTC)
*sniffle*
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[User Picture]From: jessihiggs
2004-01-14 02:24 pm (UTC)
I remember when the Avon Lady came to our house. Those tiny tubes of lipstick would last me a lifetime, I even have some in a memory chest in the attic at my mom's house. My favorite Avon gift was a replica of the locket that Annie wore in the movie. I still have it. A cheap gold pendant, but I still keep it in my jewelry box.

Ah, if only the Avon ladies of old would make a return.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 03:37 pm (UTC)
I suppose they could go from cubicle to cubicle in offices....

Man, I wish I still had those lipsticks. I'm jealous!
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[User Picture]From: jessihiggs
2004-01-15 08:50 am (UTC)
They are so old, if I used them now, my lips would rot off.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-15 08:58 am (UTC)
Oh, I'd never use them. Just that little nostalgic memory.
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2004-01-16 11:36 am (UTC)
I thought you were the one who was always trying to get me to dump my old nostalgic junk. *g*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-16 02:54 pm (UTC)
I can be jealous of her possession of them in that abstract, will-never-have-to-actually-deal-with-them way....
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[User Picture]From: brujah
2004-01-14 06:04 pm (UTC)
When I was six or seven, I received a necklace for Christmas from my Mother. It was an Avon necklace and was called the "Kick-A-Star Angel." Every time I thumb through an Avon book, I can't help but remember how wonderful that gift was when I opened it.

The concept of gold-plated doesn't occur to children, at least it never did for me back then. All I saw was a gold necklace. -- One that I'd coveted from the glossy pages of an Avon catalog. The charm portion of the necklace was shaped like an angel and on the tip of the toe there was a star with a tiny, nearly invisible "diamond" that sparkled whenever you turned the charm this way and that. You could fiddle with the angel wings and make the angel "kick" the star.

In my mind, then, it was the most gorgeous thing I'd ever seen and it was from just my Mother. Not collectively from "mom and dad." But just from her.

Those times were hard, she was just beginning her road to alcoholism and wasn't yet a rancid, hateful woman. No, she was just her ex's punching bag then and I was her only solace from the outside world. I was her special accomplishment. I wasn't yet the burden she swore later that I became. I wasn't the mistake she wished vehemently she'd never made.

I was worth the purchase of a necklace I'd said I wanted badly even though we had no money.

Although it's broken, I still have the necklace. It's in my jewelry box under this or that. I never take it out of the cloth it's wrapped in. I see the cloth and know it's there, however, for some reason I can't bring myself to open it. It feels like I'm disturbing a tomb.

And now that I've rambled on about nothing for too long, I'll close. Thanks, though, for the trip down memory lane. I can remember my Avon gift with no pain now, just a little sadness and a lingering imprint of love.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-14 07:48 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.
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[User Picture]From: nuala
2004-01-15 06:46 am (UTC)
My senior year in highschool - Phyllis who lived next door was our Avon Lady. My step-mom and I bonded over Avon catalogs and little sample lipsticks. One of the girls in my old office sold Avon as well. The jewelry I wore in Fuschia & J's wedding was from her Avon catalog. A gorgeous burgundy beaded thing that draped and dangled. :o)
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2004-01-15 08:27 am (UTC)
You know what I'm nostalgic for? Burma Shave signs.

And I've never seen one.
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[User Picture]From: lyssabard
2004-01-15 09:46 am (UTC)

I loved this

Never got a chance to comment yesterday...Do you know you made me go and look at avon.com?

Heh. Not the same, I know. Not as good as the catalogues--but I still love the cheap sparklies.

*sighs, remembering the lipsticks*


Lys...who loves old avon perfume bottles.
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From: iggy182
2004-01-20 03:56 am (UTC)

the Avon man

I have no memory, ever, of the Avon lady coming calling, but for the past month now I have been 'the Avon man', with a territory of 130 houses in a condominium complex about 15-20 minutes walk from where we live.

I've walked around twice now going door to door ringing doorbells and dropping off catalogues, and I've even bought quite a few items from myself to use as gifts.

I'm particularly fond of the 'cat compact', and the Raphael Angel locket and keepsake box myself.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2004-01-20 04:24 am (UTC)

Re: the Avon man

That is just incredibly cool.
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[User Picture]From: shiftercat
2004-01-20 06:45 pm (UTC)

Re: the Avon man

Now there's a guy who's secure in his masculinity.
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From: iggy182
2004-01-21 12:38 am (UTC)

Re: the Avon man

Or lack thereof.

I'd prefer to say, "Now there's a man who's secure in his sexuality."

But that's just moi.
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