Now, let me begin by saying that I love Mary Kay cosmetics. In fact, people often comment on how few wrinkles I have, and I attribute that to beginning to use the skin care products in my early twenties. And it was a Mary Kay lady who kindly whispered to me that I had stray makeup brush hairs on my face before I spoke publicly at a book signing last week.
And yet when I think of Mary Kay, it is with mixed feelings. First of all, the last group “facial” I attended where the products were demonstrated, one of the hostess’s chairs broke beneath me. (It’s pretty hard to keep applying cream with your ring finger and saying, “lightly, lightly,” when you have just demolished an antique.)
But even more memorable was the time that I was traveling cross-country for a speaking engagement, a trip that required several plane changes. On the last flight was a group of well-dressed and pleasantly boisterous women. Upon deplaning, I went into the airport’s ladies’ room to try to comb my hair and make myself presentable – since I’d left home at 3:30 a.m., I wanted to freshen up a bit before seeing the conference organizer who was meeting me at the gate.
As I leaned and peered into the mirror and put some mascara on my bleary eyes, the group of women came into the bathroom. I didn’t pay them too much attention until one, a delegate I guess, came up beside me.
“I’m a Mary Kay representative, and I have products that can help you with that,” she said, handing me a business card. Then she and all the other ladies flounced (yes, they really did) out of the bathroom, leaving the other women in the bathroom looking at me –who felt about as attractive as an airsick bag.
So why am I telling these stories? Perhaps as a morality tale. What stung so much, what made me walk out of that bathroom feeling drab and inadequate, was the public way in which the spokeswoman, a stranger to me, showed me my faults. I can just imagine her giving a knowing wink to her compatriots, and them congratulating each other on a great sales opportunity captured and another ignorant person now fully informed.
The morality tale is that the Internet is also a public place. It’s true that readers and writers often see the flaws of writers, and are often anxious to point them out.
Let’s leave the snipping and criticizing to people who don’t even pretend to be Christians. The Bible way to show someone his or her fault is privately—and with humility.
Lest you fall, and break more than a chair yourself.
PS and by the way: This post wasn't provoked by anyone saying anything cruel to me about my writing (at least, not lately.) I've just observed that writers and readers sometimes are not constructive in their comments, especially on Facebook. Have you noticed that, too?