A Mother So Bad You Can’t Make Her Up  

, , , , , | Right | October 25, 2019

(I’m a freelance makeup artist. Given I live in a very small town, there’s only a few of us and if we’re booked for a big event we might struggle to handle, we often call each other to come help and split the money. We all charge pretty much the same rate so it works out great. However, we’re all known for different things being our best work. For example, I’m better known for crazy colourful eye looks, and I get booked a lot by local performers and drag artists because of this. The girl I’m working with at the time of this story is the only one in town that knows how to do airbrush makeup, and she has a portable kit to do it anywhere. While we can both do pretty much anything, there are things we are better at, and when we work together we tend to split up the work accordingly. She is hired to do a full bridal party: makeup for the bride, six bridesmaids, the mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom. It is a lunch wedding and, to avoid having to start at 6:00 am for the photographer to arrive at 11, she calls me. She shows up at 7:30 and starts doing everyone’s complexion; I roll in an hour later ready to do everyone’s eye makeup, brows, and lipstick. The bride is the sweetest woman on earth, as are the bridesmaids. They are all laughing, chatting to us, and offering us food, and the hairdresser is seamlessly slotting in between us and working on hair. The mother of the bride is a sweet lady, too, if a little shy. When I ask her what kind of look she wants, she quietly says, “Oh, I’m not sure if you’ve got a spackle gun in that kit, sweetheart,” which makes us all laugh, and she is amazed at how the airbrush makeup looks on her skin. Around 9:30, the problems start.)

Mother Of The Groom: “This is ridiculous; we’re going to be late.”

(By this point, everyone but her and one bridesmaid has their complexion finished, and I’ve done the rest on four bridesmaids and the bride’s mum. It is simple eye makeup, just a single colour through the crease and some winged liner with lashes and a nude lipstick. We are on track to be finished by 10:30, 10:45 at the latest. The photographer is coming at 11, and the wedding isn’t until 12:30. No way are we going to be late for anything.)

Mother Of The Groom: “I told you makeup was a huge waste of time and money. This is ridiculous.”

(One of the bridesmaids pipes up.)

Bridesmaid: “Mum, you chucked a fit that you weren’t invited to the makeup part of the morning. You’re here now. Suck it up.”

(The groom’s mum goes back to looking like she’s sucked on a lemon while the other makeup artist looks at me uneasily. I shrug and finish up the bride, who squeals happily at the mirror and hops out of the chair to hug me. The last bridesmaid approaches me and quietly asks if I could do her foundation, instead. She has cystic acne on her face and is nervous that the airbrush won’t smooth everything out properly. No worries. She hops into my chair and I start putting regular foundation and concealer on her, trying to match the glowy look we have on the other girls.)

Mother Of The Groom: *jerking her head around to look at everything while getting her airbrush done, frustrating my colleague* “Why does she get proper makeup and we get spray paint?”

Colleague: *cheerfully* “Oh, we’re just getting things done quickly since you’re nervous about the time!”

([Mother Of The Groom] seems to accept that and finally holds still long enough for my colleague to finish her foundation. Since I’m still working on the final bridesmaid, my coworker starts on her eye makeup.)

Mother Of The Groom: “Why are you doing my eyeshadow? Why isn’t she doing it? She did everyone else’s!” 

(My colleague reminds her of the time and keeps working. I finish up on the final bridesmaid around the same time my colleague finishes up on [Mother Of The Groom], who jumps out of her chair without a word and announces she’s going back to her room to change. Sure enough, we’re finished with half an hour to spare. As we’re packing away our kits, the bride and the bridesmaid who told [Mother Of The Groom] to simmer down apologise for [Mother Of The Groom]’s behaviour. It’s apparently not the first thing she’s exploded about even today, let alone in general about the wedding. Having worked with difficult mothers in wedding parties before, we wave it off with a few jokes. The bride asks if we have anything else on today and no, we don’t, so she asks if she can pay us to stay on and do final touchups before the ceremony, and maybe put some lip-gloss on to the flower girls when they arrive to make them feel part of it. We agree and just move our kits off to one side and plan on going down to the hotel buffet to grab some food in the interim. We’re downstairs eating about an hour later when two bridesmaids come bolting through looking for us. One of them is stammering apologies, and the other one is just begging us to come with them. We all race back upstairs to find a crying bride in the hall and a VERY angry bridesmaid trying to console her. We can hear shouting from inside the room. When we open the door and go in, we find that my kit has been opened up and my eyeshadow palettes are scattered across the desk. [Mother Of The Groom] is crying and screaming at the bridesmaid who is her daughter, who is LIVID and gesturing wildly and yelling back. Apparently, [Mother Of The Groom] had decided she didn’t want the airbrush makeup and had washed it off. She also didn’t think that the tasteful brown eyeshadow we’d given her was right, and had broken into my kit and dragged out my eyeshadow palettes. Honestly, if she’d only done that I would have just been cranky, but oh, no. She’d found my water-activated stage makeup and had attempted to use that to give herself blue eyeshadow. This stuff DOESN’T work unless you get it wet, so she’d just gouged massive holes into a bunch of colours trying to make it work. There were clumps stuck to her face. She’d also attempted to use my foundation kit to put her complexion products back on, but had shade-matched herself wrong and applied it with her fingers, since my sponges and brushes were in a locked part of my kit. In the process, she’d knocked over the foundation bottle and it was EVERYWHERE. The angry bridesmaid finishes yelling; [Mother Of The Groom] is still crying and screaming. Suddenly, the groom walks through the door and stares at the carnage. We’re trying to salvage what we can from the bits of my kit she’s trashed and clean up foundation. The bride is now locked in the bathroom, crying.)

Groom: *eerily calm* “Shut up, Mum.”

Mother Of The Groom: *stops yelling*What did you say to me?!”

Groom: “I said shut up. I knew you would do this. [Sister Bridesmaid] knew you would do this. [Bride] insisted we let you come to the getting-ready part because she wanted you to feel a part of today. Well, congratulations; now you aren’t part of it at all. You are not welcome at the wedding.”

([Mother Of The Groom] tries to argue, amps up her crying, and everything. [Groom] stands his ground like an absolute champ. After a few minutes, she huffs off, still screaming and crying. An older guy in a suit enters the room right as she leaves, having been screamed at by her in the hallway, too.)

Older Guy: “Well, then, if you kids were ever wondering why I didn’t stay married to that hag… that’s why.” 

(We dragged the bride out of the bathroom and redid her entire face. We got her to the church five minutes late, but by the time we were done, she was laughing and giggling with her friends again. The groom’s dad shoved a handful of $50s into my friend’s hand and said he wouldn’t take no for an answer, and to replace the makeup in our kits his ex-wife had trashed. Ninety-nine out of a hundred weddings go off without a hitch in the makeup process, but this one absolutely took the cake. My friend and I wound up at our cars putting away our kits, staring at each other asking, “Did… Did that really happen?” Wackiest wedding day ever.)

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