I’ve never been a big makeup person. I mean, I wear it but I don’t really know how to work it well. Mama and several dedicated carnies throughout my childhood taught me that painting your face turned you into a tiger or a zebra or (on one strange but magical Halloween when I was in second grade) Boy George. Thus, it’s no surprise that my application technique isn’t so much “blendy” as it is “stripey”. So after years and years (and years and years and years) of fucking up the blendy parts, I’ve just been sticking with the stripes: eyebrows, eyeliner, and mascara (duh, eyelashes are just tiny little vertical lines). I smear on some tinted moisturizer, chock-full with all that delicious SPF, and I sashay my tiger ass out the door, happy as a clam. A tiger clam. Get it? (I don’t actually, but it seems like it should be a pun.)

Unfortunately, ignorance is bliss and bliss is fleeting, and I recently received a well-delivered smack in the ass from the makeup gods. A few weeks ago I got my face done up by a professional for my mother-in-law’s wedding, and GODDAMN! Did everyone know how hot I am? I mean it, I’m sexy as hell and pretty as a picture and beautiful as a sunset and easy like Sunday morning (oh yeah, baby!). After thanking the makeup artist profusely and requesting her address so I could send her an appreciative cupcake bouquet, I spent most of the night admiring myself in the mirrored walls of the ballroom and insisting on taking commemorative selfies with every person I saw, regardless of whether they were guests at the wedding or not. There’s one pic with the catering manager in which I look just like ScarJo (if she were, you know, more like me in appearance).

My self-obsessed bubble burst, however, when I washed the precious creams and powders and gels and serums and pastes and whips and dyes and glosses and highlighters off that evening, and my bare, unadorned face stared back at me in the gentle yet unforgiving glow of a Hampton Inn hotel bathroom. Where did ScarClaire go? Can I get her back? Does she like turkey stroganoff, because I make a mean turkey stroganoff that Dan once called “sadly, your best dish”. Well, spoiler alert – the turkey stroganoff didn’t bring my best face back, equally because I ate it all and because it’s a cream and sodium and pasta-based recipe.

So, I’m bringing my plea to the internet. Does someone, ANYONE, have any useful makeup tips that are both effective and easily utilized by someone with the cosmetic mentality of a farm-raised pre-teen? I know I am asking for the impossible, but I simply can’t shell out $85 every time I want to seduce my mirror. Surely our society has evolved enough to execute the inspired makeup gun first introduced into the zeitgeist by Homer Simpson in 1998. Or maybe a handy wax-on, wax-off approach, where one side of the cloth applies the face and the other takes it off. Now I’m just spit-balling here, but I want to – nay, NEED to – believe there’s a way my dumb ass can somehow learn to recapture the magic of that night myself one day, using only the bare minimum in effort and/or materials.

And before you say anything, CONSCIENCE and MOM, of course I’m aware that I’m taking my mother-in-law’s special day and making it about myself. And that I should be striving to love myself for my inner beauty. And that nobody really cares about encouraging these less-than-deep (I refuse to say ‘shallow’) tendencies. But for god’s sake, can some please tell me what the fuck primer does and if I can use it to make my lips bigger???