Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Beauty Calling

Story contd.

Much as I loved having children I was beginning to lose my identity. I felt I was little more than an adjunct - a mother to the boys, a wife to William (not a very good one at that) and a chatelaine to the house. Domesticity was deadly dull. Time to kick against the pricks.

I answered an advertisement for Beauty Counsellors – in the local rag - and a charismatic, large lady called Pamela descended on me. The idea was to sell make-up to individuals in their own home – probably similar to the Avon ladies. The would - be counsellor was first of all given a make up by her trainer who would either be a Zone which meant she had counsellors in her zone or a District which meant she had her own zones. Pamela was a District and I was to join lots of other women who had been trained by her.

I enjoyed the make up and appreciated the fact that the ingredients were pure. There was an icy- cold pink cream called Dinner Party Pick up which I was assured the Duke of Windsor absolutely loved on his feet. I had to pay for the smart grey make up box. And after a few more sessions with Pamela I was ready for business. It was right up my street- I loved helping people to make the best of themselves and could get quite messianic about skin care. What I didn’t like was the hard sell to people who were hard up. One of my client’s husbands used to greet me at the door shouting

Alice it’s Beauty!’

After a while Pamela made me a zone so I could start recruiting my own counsellors.

I was good at recruiting – I recognised the bored housewife syndrome and we all became inspired and enthused. Above Pamela was Zed- a regular power-house married to an ex Spitfire Pilot and we had regular official get- togethers with lunch and wine and targets and rewards. All those lonely housewives suddenly had a scintillating social life and even earned a few pence.

One of the women I recruited – Mary – became a close friend. She was a decade older with just one daughter and as we enjoyed each other’s company we would often do demonstrations together. One afternoon we were working in a Kent village hall and almost all of the women wanted a free make –up. By the end of the session we were exhausted, the women were looking distinctly more presentable and we sold about half a dozen lip-sticks. Over a cup of tea we commiserated with each other.

Pat ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a shop where people came to you to buy?’

Mary ‘Funny you should say that, I’ve got a friend down in Worthing I’d like you to meet.’

William told me about Alan – an army officer he was working with. Alan was married to a divorcee and they had a small child together. William thought it would be good to have them for dinner. He was a sweetie and Bette was a lively Australian actress who was ‘resting’ whilst her daughter was a toddler. She was very interested in my modelling past and persuaded me to join a theatre club. Although we weren’t kindred spirits; I looked after her daughter so she could have a week-end in Paris with Alan and a week later she was telling my mother what a wonderful time they had had. Mum asked if they had taken the little girl with them.

Bette: No a very dear friend looked after her. Now who was it?

No kidding! Shades of Marta!

However I shall always be grateful to her as she made me join the theatre club where I made many great friends, learned a hell of a lot and had some fantastic experiences – with both laughter and tears.

I was put to work at once. Bette was starring in ‘The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll’ - an Australian play so she was well suited. I was to assist Pete the producer, (who worked in television) and do props which included the seventeen dolls, one of which was destroyed each evening

Being thrown in at the deep end you might say.

Meanwhile Mary had made a date for us to visit her friend in Worthing. What was that all about?

27 comments:

November Rain said...

hi thanks for coming by my blog

Yeah When my kids were older and the probs with me and the ex I started to feel as if I was nothing and not need any more but for me it was Tupperware


I loved throwing Parties hated door to door sells

PI said...

Novy: ah - you understand:)

granny p said...

Brave of you to do that...couldn't have begun to. xx

PI said...

Grannyp: it's all in the eye of the beholder. Some of the things you have done make me quail or do I mean quake? Boredom and desperation are fuels for bravery I think.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Good for you hanging on to your independence! My guess about the 'friend in Worthing' is that it's a business proposition. Please, Pat, please don't make us wait TOO long to find out...

AndrewM said...

You've gone all mauve. Does this mean something?

R. Sherman said...

Different times, eh? Where women thought twice about starting their own business in Worthing.

Unless of course we're getting to the "take a lover" part of the story, in which case, I'll stand down.

Cheers.

PI said...

andrewm: it mens it's purty. Some folks are never satisfied.

Zinnia: I'm practising a Scottish accent - I'll do ma best but I do have ma hands fu' hen.

f:lux said...

"There was an icy- cold pink cream called Dinner Party Pick up which I was assured the Duke of Windsor absolutely loved on his feet."

The mind boggles!!

zoe said...

your life has been so interesting (so far) pat that each post is an absolute blessing. if i got off my fat arse i may well do something with my life. i'm just not sure if my arse is small enough to follow me anymore ....

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Mauve? I can't see no mauve.

Ooh I'm looking forward to these theatre club stories now though.

PI said...

Sam: I think he means the colour of the font. He's always carping on about something - I think he's misunderstood Carpe Diem:)

Zoe: If I had had a book published I would certainly feel I had done something with my life.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is always fascinating to read your "memoirs" Pat....I am reminded of so very many experiences in my own life, though very different than yours---except tye Theatre things....I love resding these posts, more than I can say....You have done so very many wonderful and interesting things in your life....Truly, A Life Well Lived!

gautami tripathy said...

Good to visit you after so long. I am kind of glancing through those posts I missed.

Michele should send me more often..:D

john.g. said...

I suppose it's Anne Summers parties now then!!

*scarpers*

PI said...

Naomi: thank you. Very reassuring when I fear it's getting boring.

Gautami: you are always welcome

Johng: you are such a little devil!

kenju said...

It gets more and more interesting, Pat!

Guyana-Gyal said...

I like the way you get up and go, Pat, you never sit down and mope for long, if you do mope at all.

moon said...

I just LOVE reading these episodes of your life...not only because they are very interesting...I think there are lots of things we relate too in them for one reason or another...yrs past to now.....I also like your accent lol, it's very noticable in your writting..atleast I think so. lol...

Kanani said...

I remember sales people who'd come to the door. The favorite was the Fuller Brush Man who'd bring us free brushes and such. He sold my mother mops and cleaning solutions --wonderful, since she didn't drive when I was young.

I also remember the "beauty" ladies who'd make the rounds. They sold this pink face cream --I think it was cold cream, but I can still remember the smell!

PI said...

Judy: I'm constantly amazed that it does seem to interest people -even the boring bits:)

GG:I probably gloss over the moping bits.

Moon:Thank you - I think I know what you mean:)

Kanani: door to door is something I never want to do again - even for charity although I must say we never called on anyone 'cold'. there had to be a 'lead' or an introductiion.

Maz said...

Hi Pat, in my attempt to change the name on your comment on styletreaty (from patricia to pat) I actually deleted it.......I'm a disaster!! If you'd like to leave the comment again that would be great, especially since I want to know the name of the book you mentioned (re stress).

Sorry!!

PI said...

Maz: thank you for doing that.
Inadvertantly I had included my surname. I'll be over in a sec.

Maz said...

All fixed now!!

PI said...

Many thanks Maz!

Granny said...

Over here it's closer to Mary Kaye than to Avon.

Don't know what they're doing these days but when I was younger, they had home parties much like Tupperware.

A little pricey but I owned a few of their things over the years. They were most famous for the pink Cadillacs awarded for high sales. I've heard the person didn't get to keep the car but I don't know if that's true.

I sold Avon; my sister-in-law sold Mary Kaye. She did very well; I didn't have much luck even with Avon which usually sells itself.

PI said...

Granny: I think - like me - you couldn't stomach the hard sell.