I hardly ever wear make-up, only when it's absolutely necessary. It's partially because I'm lazy, partially because I'm not very good at putting it on, and partially because in a tropical climate most of it melts off my face within the first hour that I put it on. But the other day, it was very important for me to put make-up on and I wanted it to be done well, so I decided to head to the mall.
In the US, at least in New York, you can walk into any department store or cosmetics store and the make-up artists will happily do your make-up for you, showing you how things look to try to get you to buy as many products as possible. They're normally extremely nice, sometimes even overly nice, since their main objective is to get you to buy stuff. They are usually assertive and decide what they think is best for your face and skin tone, but make sure to accommodate you at the same time. With this in mind, I assumed it would be the same in Rio.
So I headed to one of the cosmetics stores at the mall, which was completely empty. I told the one attendant that I'd like to have my make-up done. She called a girl, who emerged from the back room, who was all but pleased to have to deal with a client. She sighed deeply and asked, "What do you want me to do?" I explained I wanted her to try a little bit of everything. Resigned, she began assembling her brushes. Every step along the way, she asked me how I wanted her to do it, which product I preferred, and threw in a few tips along the way.
It wasn't until she began powdering my face that I noticed she'd missed part of my face. "Um...can you do the other half of my face, too?" I asked. "Well, I'm just doing this half for now for you to see the difference, like before and after," she said. So she stuck entirely to the right side of my face.
When she was finished my eyes, lips, and cheeks, she showed me the result in the mirror. "It looks great! Can you do the other half of my face now?" Then she got uncomfortable. "Yeah, well, um, we don't do that. We don't do make-up. We just test it for you."
With a big WTF flashing across my forehead, I realized she was not doing the other half of my face. Since my face looked a little Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, I asked her to take off the make-up. She looked perplexed. "You want me to take it...off?" "Well, yeah, you only did one side." I wasn't about to go out lopsided. She sighed deeply and took it all off, and in my desperation, I bought the cream powder she'd used, so I could go home and put it on myself. I left the store with the super-fancy shopping bag and a fresh dose of culture shock.