The Life of a Face Painter (continued)
Friday evening and it’s an office job – painting for a charity fundraiser, the place is nice and the people who booked me are lovely, I’m offered Prosecco and as much food as I can take home. A few women come to get glittered and as the drink flows the men approach. They ask for the usual silly things which I laugh off. More drinks and the requests go something like this;
“Do what you like but with pastel colours and stars. No glitter but make me look sparkly. Nothing too big but go WILD! Not bright or patterned but make me stand out. With turquoise and gold and pink and some lilac. And some of that yellow. And that silver. But not round the eyes, mind my brows and not in my hair. Make it subtle.”
I do my best, everyone seems happy and I leave with two bags of delicious vegan curry.
Saturday morning and I’ve been booked for a Fun Day, I’m there on time and sit for an hour and a half with no customers, thirty minutes to go everyone wants a face paint and even though I go as fast as I can I end up having to turn kids away to get to my next booking. Out of my control and unavoidable but still embarrassing.
Next job a birthday party for a three year old. I spend the entire time asking children ‘lift your head up a little bit, lift your head up a little bit, lift your head up a little bit..’ I’m bent double and decide to sit on the floor instead. Everything that can go wrong does. I spray glitter in a child’s eyes, I do my best dinosaur and the kid shakes his head in the mirror, I run out of white. I RUN OUT OF WHITE.
Shut my case and sprint to next job.
Birthday party for a five year old. Standard designs; rainbows, dinosaurs, superheroes, unicorns. No drink offered. Must admit I’m getting a bit thirsty, have been going for 7 hours now and could do with a coffee. Get corrected a few times by kids who tell me my designs are wrong. Even though I’m wearing my branded T shirt with my name on it I’m constantly referred to as the lady. I feel I should own a castle somewhere.
Sunday. My regular lunchtime restaurant job that I love. My instructions today are specific; a cupcake in a blue wrapper with pink icing, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top. Two unicorns (one boy, one girl) and they have to be in love please. Half an avodaco on a gold background. A plate of spaghetti bolognaise.
I do my best but the male unicorn looks keen, the female seems resigned and the pasta just reminds me of the day my dog ate some string.
I’m asked to paint Aurora on an arm but as I start a queue forms so I panic and go too fast, I don’t wait for my paints to dry and her features blur horrifically. Again, I do my best but she looks like she’s suffered a mild stroke. The child looks confused and walks slowly back to her table.
Next job a birthday party for pre-teens and teens. The teens ignore me and stare at their phones. I do my jolly talking and the birthday girl gets a colourful design with metallics and gold lips. The teens look up from their phones. I end up painting black tattoos on their faces and arms and am kept busy for two hours. They are all polite and sweet. I’m offered tea, coffee and help with my case. Drive home happy but pretty exhausted.
Open the door. My kids are still in their pyjamas from this morning. ‘What’s for dinner?’ they ask.