Nancy Roman

Lashing Out

So this week’s beauty obsession is EYELASHES.

About ten days ago I was watching some interview with some football player and he had EYELASHES.  This ridiculously large brute had the eyelashes I have longed for all my life.

They were long, dark, thick, curly –  they actually threw shadows on his cheekbones – a la Hedy Lamarr:

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr, not football player

How I loved Hedy Lamarr.  Back in my college days, I spent many evenings at the University’s Film Society screenings. Nothing intrigued me like Hedy’s eyelash shadows.

When I got out of college, and got a job, and finally started dating (well actually I started dating about eight years after college, but who’s counting?), I decided that I would have eyelashes like Hedy’s.  I went out and bought some.

Now this was when wigs were in style too.  You could get a dynel wig at Sage-Allen for $19.95. And they were cute too,sort of like a cross between Jane Fonda in “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”


And… well…

Phil Spector

Phil Spector

Yessiree…. cheap wigs were adorable. (if you could stand the infernal itchiness).

But I digress.


I think I will back up even more.  To high school.

I was a junior in high school when Triggy was popular. She was skinny. I was skinny.  I drew me some eyelashes right away. As a matter of fact, I became the go-to girl for painted-on eyelash instructions.

Twiggy...but I swear I looked exactly like her.

Twiggy…but I swear I looked exactly like her.

So let’s fast-forward to the seventies, when I was wearing my Phil Spector/Jame Fonda wig. I had given up on the drawn-on Twiggy lower lashes. But I still wanted the Hedy long top lashes making shadows on my imaginary cheekbones.

I had a little trouble with my $2.99 lashes though.

You may have noticed that eyelids are a little curvy, because you have an eyeball under there. But 1974 drugstore eyelashes were straight,. So they only stayed stuck on for about two hours, and then became odd centipedes hanging on the middle of my eyelids, while trying to escape on the ends.

Although I wasn’t dating much yet (and God only knows WHY) – I distinctly remember one nice man sitting across from me at dinner who didn’t seem to know where to look… at my caterpillar eyes or my real hair peeking out from the corner of my wig.

I gave up on false eyelashes after about six months, when I came home from another rare date wearing only one. (I wonder if my date squealed a bit when he found the other one somewhere on his body…)

Instead I invested heavily in mascara.

Over the years, mascara has greatly improved. Why, there are so many choices you know that one of them will certainly be perfect for you.

But there’s a couple of little problems with this theory:

1. They are all mascara. Except for some very minuscule tint and consistency differences, THEY ARE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME. Drug store brand, $60.00 luxury brand – they are the SAME.

2.  They coat your own lashes with quick dry-paint.  So the necessary ingredient is:  Your Own Lashes. You’ve got to have some.

So if they are all the same, why would I agonize?

Because I need to coat my teeny tiny sparse lashes, and I am determined to coat each and every little hair.

But Oh, this was my lucky week, because has shown me where I have been going wrong. They sent me a fabulous article explaining the mystery of mascara.

It’s not the mascara.

It’s the wand!

The right wand makes ALL the Difference.

Here are just a few of the myriad of choices:


But like choosing the right mascara, there’s a couple of problems with choosing the right wand:

1.  They still require your own lashes. (see above)

2.  They look different, but THEY ARE ALL THE SAME.

So this week, after forty-seven years of two coats of hundreds of different mascaras applied with hundreds of different wands –

I have returned!


I went to the drugstore and bought a pair of false eyelashes!  Prices have gone up since the seventies. I paid $5.95.

Then I went on and watched a young woman apply her false eyelashes. I am not old enough to be this kid’s mother; I am old enough to be her grandmother. But she knew what she was doing and she reminded me of how I taught one of my mother’s friends how to draw on Twiggy lashes in 1968.

So all set!

False eyelashes are now curvy, so fit better. I still had a little trouble getting them on. The right one was a bit easier since my left eye wears the close-vision contact. Two attempts and I had long eyelashes on the right.

The left was tricky. My right contact lens is for far vision. And I couldn’t seem to judge where my real eyelashes really were. So my first attempt glued the lash a little high. I had a daddy-long-legs in my crease. And then when I peeled it off to try again, I twisted it and the glue stuck that way. Yes, indeed, I got my falsies in a twist. I sort of had a DNA helix.

I was able to peel it apart with tweezers. But then the new glue stuck to the old glue and I got glue on my fingertips, and the lash stuck really good on my thumb, which was like a cute little Senor Wences puppet, but I really wanted it on my eye.

I had to do some yoga breathing, and wipe my brow, so that I wasn’t sweating on my target. But I finally got it on.  (my eye, not my thumb).

It didn’t quite match the right eye. The left lashes curled up, and the right lashes curled out. But it was close enough to leave the house.

Here’s the result:


Me. With #53 falsies.

Pretty nice, right?

And I got the eyelash shadows I always wanted.

They cast spidery shadows right in my line of vision.


  1. Hilarious. I rarely wear makeup and now I remember why!


  2. It is hell being a woman. I never bothered with the false eyelashes, and whenever I wear makeup I look like an abused woman because I tend to rub my eyes — my husband actually suggested that my plain old eyelashes were better than the brutalized eyes I ended up with. Sigh.


    • I am a pro at NOT rubbing my eyes. (Forty-seven years of eye makeup.)


      • But raccoons are adorable, no?


  3. Blahahaha! This one really made me laugh. Got your falsies in a twist? Reminded me of the time I glued my eyelids together with super glue! Thought the glue bottle in my purse (for false fingernails) was eye drops and absent mindedly…. uh oh!


    • P.S. You new look is lovely…. providing the shadow of your lashes allows for clear sight.


    • That sounds horrid. Did you have to go to the hospital? What did you tell them in the ER?


  4. dragonhavn (@dragonhavn)

    rofl … actually, my first couple of years of college I religiously wore false eyelashes. Did get hysterical laughter when I left a pair on the top of the toilet tank, the plug unseated itself and in fixing the issue, dropped the lashes into the tank .. where they turned into fuzzy circles. and thanks for the encouragement, having never had long lashes, I’m looking at lashing again due to the corrugated surface of my eyelids which makes liner and shadow … well, lets just say two thousand year old mummies look smoother … LOL. Cackle. Lovely article.


  5. Love your new lashes…I may just go out after the snow storm ends tomorrow and find a pair of $5.95 lashes for me! Do they come in purple? I love purple…


    • Of COURSE they come in purple (online). You can get them in metallic and look like a 1950’s aluminum Christmas tree. You can get them made out of feathers and look like a Vegas showgirl. Perhaps purple feathers would be an excellent look for you.


  6. You look lovely!

    But what about that stuff that guarantees you will grow your own? It requires a doctors prescription, doesn’t that mean it will ‘grow your own’.

    Me? I only care about eye liner, just that. Nothing else matters, just a nice thin liner top and bottom. For this I will pay $450 every 8 years or so, next January is my renewal date. Then a quick swipe on each eye of Dior Show Noir Waterproof, a quick swipe of Sugar Rose by Fresh across my lips, the requisite moisturizer with sun screen and I am done. That is all I have the energy for.

    You amaze me. But then again you are beautiful.


    • I can’t go with tattooed liner… I am too worried about the absolutely latest style. And the stuff that grows lashes may turn my blue eyes brown. I like my blue eyes. However I do use eyelash oil to do whatever it is that advertising tells me it will do.


  7. JSD

    Your eyelashes look great! Reminds me of the days (decades ago) when I actually had some eyelashes, glopped tons of mascara on them and they did cast shadows…aaah, the memories. Now my eyelashes have thinned out just like my hair. 😦
    As far as the prescription that will grow your own, all you have to do is develop a case of glaucoma and the prescription for Xalatan may grow thicker eyelashes. At least that’s what my doctor told me. She also said it may change the color of my eyes from green to brown and darken the skin around my eyes. Yikes! Be careful what you wish for…I think I’ll try your method.


    • I’m definitely skipping any prescription medication. And I’ll probably save the falsies for my next Letterman appearance.


  8. I love big eyelashes and wore mascara for years… but it makes my eyes itch and I rubbed it all off every single day, giving myself terrible racoon eyes and losing eyelashes along the way. I finally just gave up. Your lashes look very pretty! And quite natural, actually!


    • I had a couple of other shots that weren’t quite so natural-looking, but I convinced myself that no one looked at me quite that close up anyway.


  9. This was coffee out of the nose funny. Maybe I relate too well. I had the eye drops for something and they did grow gorgeous lashes which promptly went away when I was taken off. Bummer. Like Valentine, I have permanent eye liner applied periodically, toss on mascara and hope for the best. And you are so right…it doesn’t matter what it costs, they all are the same. I now get the $5.99 mascara and it does just fine. Your lashes look wonderful.


    • I think I am going to go with the dark colored glue, though. Even though the clear glue is supposed to actually dry clear, I had a few opaque spots that looked uncomfortable like snot. (sorry to be gross.)


  10. Michelle Gillies

    I am a mascara freak as well, and I know it is all about the brush. 😉 You are much braver than me as I have never had the nerve to even try false eyelashes. Too many things could go wrong especially with me in control! A few years back I discovered X-Treme lashes and was determined to try them. They are like hair extensions but for eyelashes and Hollywood has been using them for years. For my 50th birthday I decided to treat myself to some. OMG, I loved them. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have to wear mascara and I had these amazing lashes. I didn’t tell my husband because I didn’t want him to know I had spent the money. He kept telling me how great I looked and how pretty I was when I woke up in the morning. I have to tell you I was feeling a little guilty about pulling the wool over his eyelashes. It was wonderful and they lasted quite a few weeks had I had the money to keep them up every few weeks I would still have them. I have had them done a couple of times since then as a gift from someone and I still love them. I have to say, though, that it can really make a difference in who is doing the application. Let me know if you ever try them.


    • They sell the falsies in individual little lashes – which might be fabulous if I had about 3 1/2 hours to put them all on.


  11. WOW, great eyelashes. Hey, how come you’re getting younger looking, by the way? You look fabulous. Love this post, Nancy. You are hilarious. Thank goodness I wasn’t drinking coffee as I read this–like katecrimmins.

    My eyes itch and complain these days when I attempt even eyeliner and I still do for special occasions. Mascara is no long my friend no matter how much I pay for it and it smudges and turns me into a raccoon and my eyes get more itchy–it’s not pretty…


    • I AM getting younger. I just decided I would. Here’s my rationale: I have the rest of my life to look old, but I probably only have a couple of years left to look young. So I’m going for it. I was shooting for 45 (vs 61). But the other day I figured I might go to 42.


  12. i suck at getting false lashes on. why did i not think of youtube??? thank you for that tip.


    • I watched two videos from two different girls. Their combined age didn’t add up to my oldest mascara.


  13. Perfect timing! I’ve just made the decision to (as they say here in the South) ‘get me some.’ I talked to my hairdresser gal who started wearing them, again. My only concern was the glue – being somewhat allergic to everything, I have to test the glue first on my wrist or inside elbow skin. Anyway, that’s the scoop.

    What I REALLY wanted to say was reading your post was like a trip down memory lane for me, especially when I got to the Twiggy picture. Yikes! I cut my past-the-shoulder hair totally off to Twiggy style the summer before I went into high school. I most definitely did NOT look like Twiggy, although I was skinny. I never attempted the draw-on lower lashes but loved them. I was quite a fan. And yes, mascara has been my ONE absolute when leaving the house since I was 15 years old. Now, of course, I have TWO absolutes – mascara and lipstick. Thank you for pointing out the facts about mascara – they are all exactly the same. I quit spending $$$$ on the fancy ones and have returned to the good ol’ pink and green – you know the one. But, I notice as I get older my sparse lashes have gotten sparser. So, off to the drug store for my new lashes!

    Thanks for the great stroll through eyelash history. I really enjoyed myself!


    • Oh yeah, and anyone who mentions Senor Wences immediately has my attention! Hilarious!


    • Years ago, the pink and green made my eyes swell, so forty years later I am still afraid to try it again. But I have no hesitation about drug-store mascara.


      • Oh, and I wondered how many old people would recognize my Senor Wences reference. Welcome to the “old enough to remember Ed Sullivan” club.


  14. I nearly fell off my chair at the Senor Wences puppet remark. Hilarious!


    • Aha, another member of the “Old enough to remember Ed Sullivan” club”!


  15. OMG you are funny! And now I know I’m not the only one with fewer lashes than I used to. And i,too, remeber Ed Sullivan. Sigh.


  16. Good heavens yes, Ed Sullivan every Sunday night. Never missed it! Another hilarious post that had me laughing and snorting hysterically. It’s a good thing I live alone.


  17. I’ve been practising with false eyelashes the past few weeks, determined to get really good at it, and it is finally working, after similar experiences to yours. In January we are going on a cruise, for which I will treat myself to eyelash extensions (expensive but worth it).


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