Friday, August 05, 2011

Sow Geraniums and Reap Orchids

My impromptu "Weirdest Metaphor" award goes to Madame Nina's geranium cream (New Yorker, November 22, 1930), which confuses a debutante's face with...a map of Manhattan. Really.
When going to bed, she dips a slim finger in the fat glass jar and rubs contents across the map of Manhattan in the mirror, paying particular attention to the bright lights that so easily run to dark circles on the morning after. Incipient crosstown lines are refused police protection. General traffic conditions are improved. And the Great White Way gets a gentle bleach all over.

In the morning, she uses the same specific as a foundation for make-up that looks more natural than little sister's first blush. Rouge--if she follows the revived vogue for it--can never be mistaken for a stop-signal. Powder doesn't skid. And the first aid work begun for the entire facial countryside goes on all day.
 Now you know how to flatter a dame: "Darling, your's like the street map of a huge metropolitan area. Your nostrils: the north and south subway lines. That freckle: city hall..."

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