everything guide

The Sick-Day Mascara Trick

Photo: Harry Vorsteher/Getty Images

Eyelashes have the impressive ability to transform your face. The Everything Guide to Eyelashes is a week of stories on the Cut about lashes, from all the mascaras we’ve obsessively tested to our personal feelings about why eyelashes matter.

In every woman’s life, there comes a day where she must fake being sick in order to get off work. Nothing of a nature that warrants any inconvenient follow-up questions, or that forces her colleagues to think of her violently hunched over the toilet. Just that vague illness known as “Under the Weather,” which lasts exactly enough time to allow the woman to go to her friend’s four-day birthday party on some kind of farm. The friend has been living in the country for a while now and has seriously lost touch with the reality of normal people’s lives. We have jobs every day, Megan. We suffer through existence in open-plan offices that are directly detrimental to our well-being. We still want to come to your party though, and so we must lay our plans.

In the days leading up to her sorrowful announcement that she is unable to hold her head up on her weak stem of a neck for a minute longer and just has to go home, there are a few things a woman can do. She can cough energetically in the direction of people’s coffee mugs, in a way that makes them think of Germs. This takes planning though, and she can’t arrange her day to be constantly standing around cups. She can make her voice all scratchy, but this is difficult to keep up for very long. She can say that she feels like she is coming down with something, but she looks totally fine.

Or, she can stop fooling around and do the thing that actually works: stop wearing mascara for a few days. Provided she is a woman who wears mascara on a daily basis, this is the trick for her. She stops wearing mascara for a few days, and her colleagues begin to worry. She looks unwell, they tell her. Spent, even. Pale and wan, etc. When she announces with regret that she will be obliged to take a few days off, they all but carry her to the door. Go home! Restore vitality and luster to those listless eyes of yours. Come back a champion, with giraffe-like eyelashes and a can-do attitude.

I know at least four women who regularly make use of this technique, with 100 percent effective results. O, perfidious woman. O, using makeup as a means of beguiling the innocent. O, idiots who think that the most robust indicator of health can be found in the color and spikiness of someone’s eyelashes. Apologies to everyone who has been using this trick for years and now feels like I have blown the whole thing out of the water. Not to worry, though. It will still work, especially if her boss is a man.

The Sick-Day Mascara Trick