A Hint

Long time readers might remember my childhood obsession with Heloise (as in Hints From). I’m still not over it because there’s one unresolved issue that is still bothering me.

I might have been around 12 years old when I read this and I couldn’t wait to tell my mother about it. Her usual clam and patient response was to just wait it out until I got over whatever was my breaking news of the moment. But this time, I never got over it.

I’m recalling this letter to Heloise from memory, but believe me I’ve memorized every word and rehashed it for decades. This is it in its entirety:

Dear Heloise, This hint is for ladies only. If you put on a light coat of fresh lipstick before you go to bed, you will be pleasantly surprised in the morning.

I can’t remember the name of the person who submitted it but they were probably in Arizona. Sandy from Sedona. Mary from Mesa. Terry from Tempe. I don’t know. Heloise published a disproportionate amount of hints from Arizona, where she herself lived. (p.s. all of the hints were for ladies only)

Anyway, this time my passion for action did not wane. I tried and tried to get my mother to do it but she was not interested in getting a surprise in the morning. At that time, our family was just climbing out of the crushing poverty of my early childhood so now that I looked back on it, I’m fairly certain that the last thing she could want was to wake up to another surprise. As the 8th child of a coalminer’s widow with 5 out of 6 of her brothers also working down in the mines, she must have had a lifetime of surprises most of which were unwanted. So, I took action myself.

One night, I helped myself to one of her wee little Avon lipstick samples and put a pretty good coating on myself and then went to bed, waiting for my surprise in the morning. When morning came, there was no evidence of surprise in my bedroom so I rushed into the bathroom to look there. When I looked into the mirror, I saw …….. nothing.

There was no surprise. It was just me with my fright wig hairdo looking back. Later – maybe years later – my mother explained to me that the surprise was probably a faint remaking tint to the lip and the lady would feel confident that her beauty was enhanced by a cosmetic from Minute One without any additional effort during her busy morning.

I suppose it didn’t work for 12 year old me because my mother’s Avon lipstick samples were in the pink and pale rose family and obviously Terry from Tempe was the Ripe Cherry Red type. I’m still mad at Sandy from Sedona for writing this and I’m especially mad at Heloise for publishing unverified hints. Didn’t she have a test lab? Was she just filling column inches with any crap that happened into her mailbox?

Addendum: Come to think of it, I had another bad experience with one of her hints. So in conclusion: what a crock of shit. To this very day, I remain disappointed.

Vintage Avon Lipstick samples