Total Waste of Makeupby Kim Gruenenfelder
Charlize "Charlie" Edwards certainly knows, in theory, what it takes to lead a successful and happy life. She owns a nice house in Silverlake, LA's trendiest neighborhood. She has glamorous and loyal friends who accompany her to the hottest clubs in town. And she works as the personal assistant to Drew Stanton, Hollywood's sexiest movie star. But she's also turning
Charlize "Charlie" Edwards certainly knows, in theory, what it takes to lead a successful and happy life. She owns a nice house in Silverlake, LA's trendiest neighborhood. She has glamorous and loyal friends who accompany her to the hottest clubs in town. And she works as the personal assistant to Drew Stanton, Hollywood's sexiest movie star. But she's also turning 30, chronically single, and faced with serving as maid of honor at her younger sister's wedding. Charlie finds herself struggling to juggle the chaos of wedding planning (while wondering if she'll ever wear the white dress herself), her all-consuming job for lunatic boss Stanton, and a serious crush on Jordan, a photographer on the set of Drew's latest feature--a man who might actually return her feelings. A page-turner from start to finish, A Total Waste of Makeup puts a fresh face on women's fiction.
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A Total Waste of Makeup
By Kim Gruenenfelder
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2006 Kim Gruenenfelder
All rights reserved.
Don't wait by the phone.
Okay, so when my great-grandniece reads this, it's probably going to be, like, 2106, and by then there will not only be pagers, cell phones, e-mail, and answering machines, but some necklace that can reach you at any time, day or night. Which really just means that women will be perpetually waiting by the phone — painfully aware that no one is calling, even while they're out shopping, or at the gym, or doing whatever else they can to try to get their minds off the fact that the guy they're waiting for still hasn't called.
I am sitting on my living room sofa, an empty carton of Ben & Jerry's by my side, trying to give advice to a great-grandniece I've never met. Why? Well, I'm turning thirty soon. And I recently started thinking about all of the things that I wish I had known when I was younger. Basic universal laws that don't change from year to year, century to century.
I started out writing to my great-granddaughter. But the way my love life's going lately, the poor dear is nothing more than a pipe dream. I'm now betting on my engaged sister's chances of procreation — hence, the great-grandniece.
What am I writing? Pretty much anything I wish I had known at sixteen, and wish I could force myself to remember at twenty-nine.
Never chase a man. Let him chase you.
Exceedingly simple. And yet, how many times have we women bought into the lie that some men "just need a little prodding," then done something stupid, like ask him out?
If someone has a SORRY, IT WAS A SENIOR MOMENT bumper sticker on their car, stay at least three car lengths behind them.
Because, really, every teenager should know that.
And my favorite:
Don't wait by the phone.
Or course, as I write this, I wait in desperate hope for Dave to call. We've had three dates. No sex yet. I wonder if that killed the deal.
My home phone rings. Hallelujah! My prayers are answered!
I pick up, putting on my cheeriest voice. "Hello."
"I think your father's gay."
Oh, for God's sake. Now here's the type of conversation I'm pretty sure our foremothers never had. "Mom, Dad's not gay."
"Don't be so sure," Mom says. "Jeannine kicked him out again. He asked if he could stay at my house tonight."
My parents are divorced, but they're best friends. Yes, I am from Los Angeles. How'd you guess? "Well then, he's not gay," I insist. "If he were, he'd be staying with a guy named Steven tonight."
"Oh, sweetheart, you're just so naïve," my mother declares. "You want to cling to the illusion that your father's straight so that you can go on to be a happily married woman. We discussed it in therapy."
"We?" I ask, a little alarmed. "Who's we?"
"My therapist and me."
"Mom — you're not supposed to pay a therapist to talk about me — I'm supposed to pay one to talk about you."
"I blame myself," Mom continues, ignoring me completely. "I was always a fag hag. So open-minded, so understanding. Naturally your father couldn't help but be drawn to me." As my mother begins some sort of monologue, I tune out, choosing to write the following in my journal of advice:
Don't wait by the phone! Ever! If you do, the guy you like won't call. Your mother will!
"... and then there's his love for musicals!" Mom continues. "I mean, how many times can a guy see Annie Get Your Gun? And for God's sake, an English major???? What was I thinking?"
For the record: It was the seventies, free love reigned, and I doubt either of my parents were thinking. I doubt they were talking. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I think they were just having sex. Oh....
If you are a teenager when you read this, let these next words of wisdom be the most important: boys your age desperately want to have sex. They will say and do anything to get sex. They will pretend to love you just to get sex. Girls, on the other hand, desperately want to have a boyfriend and be loved. They will sometimes use sex to get that love. This is why you should wait until you're sure a man really, really loves you before you cave in....
I erase that.
... before you give yourself to him.
In other words, a fifteen-year-old male would fuck a snake if someone would hold it still long enough. By thirty, they've matured, and will only do it if the snake is still hanging around the bar after last call. Hmmm. Perhaps I'm getting bitter in my old age.
And remember, even when those boys do grow up — the sex thing never completely goes away. This explains a phenomenon in my generation called Pamela Anderson.
Well — what am I supposed to say? They never get better? That people make entire careers out of trying to translate between men and women? That if I could figure them out even vaguely, I'd be happily married by now, or at least happily in a committed relationship, or at least not still waiting by the phone just weeks before my thirtieth birthday?
"Are you listening to me?" my mother screams into my ear.
Shit! I hate it when I miss my cue. "Yes," I lie.
"And ...?" she asks.
"And Dad's not gay. Believe me — we live in Los Angeles; we'd know by now."
"Well, of course you'd have to defend him. He's your father."
As my mother continues babbling, I pull my cell phone out of my purse, and call my home phone. I wait for the beep.
Beep. "Mom, that's my other line. I gotta go."
"Tell them you'll call them back."
"It's Drew. I gotta go."
"Do you think he's gay?"
"Loveyoubye," I say in one rushed word, then abruptly hang up.
Oh boy, do I have a few bits of advice to write on parents:
Hide everything from your parents.
Particularly if they are ex-hippies who think that they're "understanding." My mother is a fifty-five-year-old party girl who still sneaks off at parties to smoke pot. She thinks she's my best friend. Why is it every mother in the world thinks her daughter is her best friend, and yet everyone's mother makes them crazy? Oooh, that's good.
Your daughter is not your best friend. And no, your relationship's not different!
My home phone rings again. I answer. "Hello?"
"I need to talk to you about the wedding," my sister Andrea (Andy) says in a rushed tone. She refers to all of her wedding plans in a rushed tone — despite the fact that she quit her job the second her fiancé proposed, and has had nothing to do but plan the wedding for the past month. Okay, it's in only three weeks, but still.
And, to answer your next question, she says no, she's not pregnant. But we're thinking they'll announce the heir apparent as soon as the wedding's over.
"How do you feel about salmon?" Andy asks as though the fate of the free world depended on my answer.
"Depends. Alaskan King or farm-raised?"
Did I mention I have the dubious distinction of being the maid of honor?
I immediately write in my book:
In the 21st century, no woman in the world ever wore her bridesmaid's dress "a second time" — except to a Halloween party.
I manage to stumble out a "It's not one of my best colors."
My phone beeps. "Hold on." I punch the button, then say, "Hello?"
"Tell your sister you're a 'summer,'" my mother says sternly. "Salmon is a 'spring.' And I'm not paying fifty thousand dollars for a wedding so she can dress you like a fish."
"Mom, where are you calling from?"
"The bridal shop. I snuck into the alley. Andy thinks I'm smoking a joint."
"Summer. Got it. Bye," I say, then click back over. "I'm back."
"It was her, wasn't it?" Andy uses a tone with me like I was talking to my mistress.
Beep. "Hold on again," I say, then click over. "Hello?"
"Who's your Daddy?"
"You are," I say.
Don't get excited — it's not Dave. It actually is my father. He heard the expression on T.V. once, and he's a little unclear on the concept.
"I'm not gay," Dad assures me.
"Your mother's crazy as a loon."
"I know that, too."
"I mean, this is, like, the thousandth time she's accused me of this. I'm tempted to go over to her house right now and prove to her how straight I am, but of course that's how you got here in the first place."
Wow! Was that ever too much information? "Dad, Andy's on the other line, and ..."
"She wants to put you in a salmon taffeta monstrosity with pouffy sleeves. I suggested a beautiful silver Vivian Tam you could actually wear again."
"Well, that's sweet but ... Dad, are you sure you're not gay?" I joke.
"Right now, I wish I was. Women think too much. They always want to define everything...."
As he starts lamenting about his problems with Jeannine, his second wife, I hear the holding call click dead, then my cell phone rings the cancan song. "Dad, that's Drew," I lie. "I have to go." I know it's Andy calling my cell impatiently.
"Love you," he says, then hangs up immediately. One advantage of Dads over Moms — they always let you get off the phone.
I pick up my cell. "I'm sorry. That was Dad. They're fighting again."
"I know," Andy tells me. "Mom's smoking out as we speak. Now, back to the salmon — you don't like it?"
Hmmm. This will be tricky. It's like she's loaded up the minefield, and is asking me to walk. "I thought your colors were going to be black and silver," I say carefully.
"They were," she sighs. "But my future in-laws thought that was morbid."
"Ask your future in-laws if they've been planning your wedding since you were five," I remind her. "No, they have not. You've been planning your wedding since you were five."
Her future in-laws are East Coast rich, and stuffy as hell. There are even a few Kennedys coming to the wedding. Which at least means there will be drinking, so the evening won't be a total loss.
My sister, on the other hand, comes from a frighteningly crazy — wait, I'm not allowed to use that word — colorful artistic family. We have four actors, three writers (including our mother), one director of photography, a costume designer (our father), and a producer. And my poor sister with her MBA from Harvard. She always was the white sheep of the family.
Yes, poor Andy. The stork having dropped her down the wrong chimney, Andy chose as corporate a route as she could think of. She was a huge marketing whiz at one of the major studios until she moved in with her boyfriend to become the upper-class snob she always wanted to be. Pretty much overnight, she went from Ms. magazine to Martha Stewart Living. I don't mind that type of woman, I just worry that my sister can't ignore her roots forever.
"Look, it's your wedding," I tell her. "Tell them it's a Hollywood thing. Black and silver are the 'in' colors right now. Black is the new pink."
"Salmon," Andy reminds me.
"Salmon," I repeat back.
"Can I invite Drew?" she asks. Or should I say blackmails?
Okay, here's a dilemma. I work for Drew Stanton, one of the highest paid movie stars in the world. If he shows up for her wedding, my sister will look oh-so-cool, and this will justify her color choices to her new in-laws. It's total blackmail. Show up with a megastar in tow, or show up preparing to swim upstream.
"Of course. He'd love to come," I say with the insincerity of a sorority sister. Hey, better women than me have pimped their friends. Or, in my case, their bosses.
I jot down on a Post-it note: Note to self: Make sure Drew is scheduled to be out of town wedding weekend. Book secret weekend rendezvous with Catherine Zeta-Jones type if necessary, or, if desperate, schedule him for some type of plastic surgery.
"So, would you prefer silver to salmon?" Andy asks, bringing me back to the conversation at hand.
Great. Now I have the dubious honor of choosing between looking like the inside or the outside of a fish. "What about black? You said your colors were going to be silver and black."
"Yes, but the bridesmaids will be wearing black. You're the maid of honor. I'm thinking, if I put you in silver, you'll look special."
What I want to say is, How is impersonating a big ol' bag of Jiffy Pop going to make me special? But my cell phone beeps its call-waiting before I have time.
I check the cell's caller ID. This time it really is Drew. "Andy, it's Drew. Do whatever makes you happy. I've gotta go."
"I'm not Mom," she says in disgust.
"I know. Which is why I don't lie to you. I love you. Bye."
I click over. "Hello."
On the other line, I hear Drew scream at the top of his lungs, "Put the fucking teddy bear down!"
I drop the phone, then quickly drop to my knees and grab it from the floor. "Drew, what are you still doing in looping? You were supposed to be out of there by two."
"They had some sort of tape problem. I didn't even start until noon," Drew tells me in a normal voice, then booms, "Put the fucking teddy bear down!"
For those of you who have never watched Entertainment Tonight, looping is what we call redoing your lines after a movie is completed. Let's say you had a great scene — the take was perfect, one tear fell from your face as you choked up your line, "I will always love you." The director is sure he cast the perfect actor, you can just hear your Academy Awards speech now, all is perfect ...
And then a gaffer drops a fifty-pound light on his foot, and screams words you never knew existed.
Well, then you keep the take, but go back later to redo the line. It's sort of the opposite of lip syncing. And this is where Drew is right now.
"Why didn't you call me?" I ask. "I would have gone down there."
"I felt like being alone today," Drew says. "No offense."
"None taken," I say cheerfully. The fact that he is at a sound studio looping his last movie with a team of technicians listening to his every breath seems to have been lost on him.
I am Drew's personal assistant, which means I keep track of all of his appointments, and hang around the set with him to get him coffee, snacks, a pretty girl to talk to, whatever. It's more detailed than that — but you get the gist.
Overall, it is a great job. Forget what you've heard on E! If you can find the right person to work for, it's the best job in the world. You get to travel, you make a lot of money, and you get to go to cool parties. Plus, on days like today, while everyone else is stuck in an office in their business suits, you get to be in your own home, in your favorite plaid pajamas, waiting by the phone for your boss to call.
"Hold on, baby," Drew says sweetly. "Put the fucking teddy bear down!" he screams again. This time I wince, but keep my hand firmly planted on the phone. "Sweetie, can I call you back in a couple minutes?" he whispers. "I'm in Vietnam over here."
And he hangs up on me.
I'm not sure if he's referring to his movie, or the fact that he's having a bad day. Either way, I'm back to being left alone in my plaid pajamas. Life is good. I proceed to write the following bit of advice:
Never expect anyone to take care of you financially.
As I said, I am a personal assistant. I work for megasexy, megastar Drew Stanton — voted People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." Twice. His wife left him last year after cheating on him for two of the three years they were married. Welcome to Hollywood.
I make $1,500 a week, week in and week out, every week of the year, no matter what. When he's shooting a movie, I make $2,000 a week. The downside: the guy's a complete nut.
For example, he once got me out of my warm bed at three in the morning because he wanted me to book him a private charter plane.
Did I mention it was three o'clock in the fucking morning? And that he actually expected me to come with him?
Why? "Because," as he told me with great sincerity that night, "everyone keeps talking about how it's the place to go when you want to get away from it all. And I need to get away from it all."
When we got there later that morning, Drew took one step out of the plane, realized it was ten below with the wind chill factor, then turned back around to announce, "Let's try Pittsburgh!"
"What on earth for?" I asked.
"If you truly want to get away from it all, you need to go where no one else is going," he reasoned. "I don't know anyone going to Pittsburgh."
So, off we went to Pittsburgh, where we had a very nice lunch, actually.
Then it was on to Cleveland, where we took a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Drew still complained of the bitter cold.
Finally, we ended up at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui. For a week. All of my expenses paid. So, you can see why I put up with him.
Oh yeah, I actually like him, too. Not like-like. Just like.
My home phone rings. Vowing once again to get a downstairs phone with a caller ID screen, I pick up my home line. "Mom, I have a job ..."
"He hasn't called. Has he?" my friend Dawn says sympathetically.
"Thank you for the vote of confidence," I say dryly.
"Oh. Am I wrong?" she asks hopefully.
"No," I'm forced to admit.
"So, kick 'em to the curb. What are you wearing tonight?"
"I'm not sure I'm in a 'going out' mood."
"No. You're not sure you want to go out tonight just in case Lunkhead calls at the last minute to ask you out. You're going. I have a limo and everything. Listen, I'm in Makeup on a Ja Rule video. Gotta go. I'll pick you up at eight."
Excerpted from A Total Waste of Makeup by Kim Gruenenfelder. Copyright © 2006 Kim Gruenenfelder. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Kim Gruenenfelder is the author of Misery Loves Cabernet and There's Cake in My Future, among other books, as well as feature films, episodic teleplays, and two stage plays.
Allyson Ryan's diverse talents have led to a career in voice-over, theater, TV, and films. She has narrated many audiobooks, among them On the Divinity of Second Chances by Kaya McLaren, for which Allyson received an AudioFile Earphones Award. She can be also be heard in commercials, animated shows, and video games.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Its like 27 dresses
I bought this because I felt "theres cake in my future" was one of the best chick lit books I've read. This, however, was incredibly slow and I felt no connection with the main character. "cake" was laugh out loud funny, and every character was relatable and endearing, but this is rough to finish.
This is my first chick lit and i thought it was great. I usually read more horror/sci fi kind of books and this was a good change. It started out in my opinion kind of slow but once it picked up I couldn't put it down. This book make me cheer, laugh, and even feel bad for the characters. This is the first book I've read and felt like Charlie, Dawn, Drew, and Andy were my friends as well. A book you can really relate too especially if your single or just got out of the single world. Loved it cant say it enough and i went looking for a sequel guess what no luck. I would definitely read again on a hot or cold day. especially loved some of the quotes in the book
This book was laugh out loud funny and completely adorable! This book will leave you wanting more of Kim Gruenenfelder.
I absolutely loved this book. Great characters, great read. I couldn't put it down. For any woman who has looked for mister right has gone through what this main character has gone through. The book made me laugh and took me away for the seriousness of everyday life. It made me laugh out loud. Was a great book to read after reading a psychological thriller.
Entertaining enough, but some major holes in the story while elaborating too much in other places.
Loved so much perf pres for girls
The was a great escape from reality book. The characters were fun, quirky and likeable.
Great read for long bus trips home from college
Fun, easy, and truthful. Excelent character development, too. I loved it until the very end, which was more than a little trite. Not much else I can say without writing spoilers. That said, I'm not sorry I bought it.
This is a fun read for the summer. I couldnt put it down! The plot and character development was well writen.
I bought it because it was on sale and I was pleasently sorprised
It is funny and sweet. I expected a different end but like this anyway. Worth reading!
Funny heartfelt FULL OF AMAZING ADVISE!!! READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was just a fun read. It moved really well, kept my attention and made me giggle throughout. Recommend.