Sometimes I give in to this fantasy about when Valerie Monroe calls me. Ms. Monroe, for those of you who don’t know, is the Beauty Editor at O The Oprah Magazine. When she likes a product, its sales skyrocket. When she loves a product, its developers can go buy themselves rockets, and yachts, entire islands, and whatever else their little hearts desire. She knows what the beautiful people – celebrities, socialites, and scores of Instagram influencers – use and trust to maintain their beautiful people beautifulness because she asks them.
And one of these days, when I’m famous for my words and renowned for my unyielding gorgeousness, she is going to ask me, too.
I’m ready, Ms. Monroe. I think about my response when I’m between deadlines, have photographic evidence that my both my sons are safe and sound, my workout and laundry are done for the day, I’ve spoken with my mom, my dad, and my boyfriend (and confirmed as best I can that my dad and my boyfriend are not currently in cahoots), the plants are watered, dishes are put away, my bed’s made, and I’m between books. This is also known as When Susan Has Too Much Time on Her Hands.
I imagine the scenario unfolding this way.
My phone rings and I say, “Ms. Monroe, it’s so lovely of you to call! I can’t tell you how flattered I am!”
To which she responds, “Please, call me Val.”
Val! I can call her Val! We are so on our way to being BFF’s!
“Val,” I say, with all the confidence of someone who just talked Kim Kardashian in off the ledge over the flack for her Kimono line, “what can I do for you?”
“Well Susan,” she responds, “you can give me the answer to the question women the world over are clamoring for: What is your secret to staying so young and beautiful?”
I pause for a moment. One can’t come across as too eager in these situations. It’s just not what Beautiful People do. Furthermore, it’s not what pretend Beautiful People who just received an imaginary Beautiful People club membership card do. It would be heartbreaking to have that sucker rescinded.
“Val,” I say, “you’re so sweet. I am neither young nor beautiful, and I really don’t have a beauty secret.”
“But there must be something,” she insists, “some particular product you love, trust, wouldn’t be caught dead without!”
“Well you know, Val,” I say conspiratorially,”there is one item I use everyday, sometimes several times a day. In fact, I use it so frequently I keep extras all over the place. In my desk, my bag, the car, the kitchen. Actually I have dozens in the kitchen. I’d be lost without it.”
“Susan!” she exclaims. “The women of the world are waiting! What is this item?”
“It’s my Plackers Micro Mint Dental Floss Pick!”
“Get out!” she responds and I flash on Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Elaine on Seinfeld giving Jerry or George one of her character’s trademark, over-the-top shoves. I love that show. Should I ask if she’s a fan? I mean, who doesn’t love Elaine? I should ask. I’m going to ask. But no! That’s not what Beautiful People do. Stay the course, Suzy, I tell myself. Stay calm, cool, collected. It’s too soon to lose that imaginary card!
I take a deep, Beautiful People breath and respond.
“You know, Val,” I offer. ” I’m 57, and if I so much as look at my refrigerator I get food stuck between my teeth.”
“Stop!’ she says, elongating the word so it sounds like stahhhhhp which thrills me because it’s exactly how my besties and I banter back and forth and that can only mean one thing: she likes me. She really likes me! Oh my God. I feel faint. I’ve made a fabulous new friend, and I’ve given the women of the world a beauty product that actually works and it’s under ten bucks!
Dear God, I’m such a good person.
“Susan,” she says, ” I can’t wait to share this with our readers. Dental floss picks are going to be flying off the shelves! It’s been delightful talking with you and, at the risk of overstepping my bounds, I just want to say that I love your books.”
She loves my books! And my dental picks! This fantasy can’t get any better! Unless of course she actually calls. I’m ready. My response is planned. My phone is charged. And of course I’ve flossed.