many aeons ago, before the dawn of time....

...or maybe a few years later, an Avon Lady came knocking on our front door.

A kindly neighbour had taken it upon herself to inform this purveyor of paints and perfumes that there were a couple of teenaged girls living in our house.
I wasn't quite teenaged yet, being only twelve, but still old enough to be interested in paints and perfumes, according to the Avon Lady.

It was a Sunday, so Dad was home and let her in.

She laid out her kit on the kitchen table and convinced us to let her paint our nails.
Our short, broken, not-so-pretty nails.
My sister agreed to having her face painted, but I refused. I didn't like the feel of powders and lipsticks then, and I still don't now.
Eyeshadow was completely out of the question as far as I was concerned, but my sister, J, seemed to enjoy having her eyelids coloured in and her lashes touched with black.

My Dad was pleased that someone had brought "womanly" things into the house and ordered a few things for each of us.
Perhaps he thought I would now stop climbing trees and spending so much time at the beach?
Rouge and facepowder were chosen in shades to suit our separate complexions and lipstick in a watermelon shade for me, rose pink for J.
What he called "harlot red" was not allowed.
One bottle of nail polish each. No perfume.

When the products were delivered, I gave the facepaint to my sister, keeping only the nail polish for myself.
The colour was "Dawn Pink", and I was in love with it. A shimmery golden pink that perfectly suited my tanned skin, even on broken, short nails.

I've never seen it since, although many shades from many brands has come close.
These days, I still have the short, broken nails, but I rarely use colour on them.
A half bottle of clear shine is all I own right now.


  1. There are a few choice names that can be substituted for 'harlot red'. It is a lipstick colour that impresses me.

  2. The Avon lady was a big deal. I was introduced to her of an evening in Barrie where I was boarding and spent way too much money from then on. Now I can't tolerate scent and never wear makeup. I guess I grew out of the girlie girl stage.

  3. "Harlot Red" indeed, if its the dark/bold red lipstick i'm thinking of i call it the classic red lipstick that's been worn by generations of women throughout the world :-).

  4. Hi River,

    I remember the Avon lady ...

    "Bing Bong - Avon Calling"

    Never bought anything off her though




  5. Andrew; red is known by many names, but I think I've only ever heard my dad call it "harlot". Many men like it, my dad included, but he thought we weren't old enough for such a colour.

    Delores; I've bought a few things from Avon catalogues left on the lunch tables at work, mostly knick-knacks or perfumes in christmas themed bottles to give as gifts.

    Windsmoke; yes, the classic red. i've never liked it, probably because it doesn't suit my skin tone. I've seen many older women wearing it still, (along with fluoro pink) when they really should change the shade because their older skin tone is no longer suited.

    Plasman; Men don't often buy from Avon ladies, they leave it to their wives and daughters. Then they are surprised at christmas with aftershaves and colognes in funny shaped bottles, like red glass cars or green glass ships.

  6. I love Avon. There's always something to get from a catalogue.

    Dawn Pink sounds like a beautiful shade.

  7. I knew of the Avon lady (who doesn't), but she wasn't approved of at our house and I never bought anything.

  8. What a sweet Father you have, ordering things to make his girls look pretty. He sounds like a really neat guy.

  9. I remember the Avon lady calling, too, River. Not only did she sell wonderful things door to door, the company offered women an opportunity to work their own hours, which to me seems like a good thing.

  10. Sarah; I haven't bought anyhting for a couple of years now. There's a "specials" catalogue that looks more like a clearance house that sometimes has good stocking filler type stuff too.

    EC; many people didn't approve of women going door to door, although back then they were probably safer than they would be these days.

    Manzanita; In later years I came to understand my dad more, and I have a sneaky feeling he wanted us grown up and married off asap. Hence the cosmetics and the "suits' which were called "costumes" back then, (skirt and jacket, with gloves), which I refused to wear or even be fitted for.

    Elisabeth; when I went to live with my mum at 16, she became an Avon lady for a while. She took me around with her to use as makeup and nail polish model. When she gave it up, I got to keep all the samples.

  11. Haha, no 'harlot red', huh?!?! And why do they NEVER continue to make the colours you like the best??!!

  12. I remember my Mum letting me have the tiny white Avon lipstick samples - I used to love trying them on.

    Nail polish (when I have nails, of course as I prefer 'em short) is always clear because it's chipped in an hour. When I see women with long nails and perfect colour I wonder if they do any housework at all.

  13. I have a vision of the Avon lady going from cave to cave, from lean to to hutch selling her bugs wings and bats breath....

  14. Red Nomad; it's the same year after year, like something, get used to it, then it's gone my favourite perfume. (Not an Avon one)

    Kath; my mum used to have me paint a different shade of polish on each nail, so that customers could see it on. When I see women with long nails, I wonder how they manage to know what.. without scratching themselves; and of course they couldn't possibly scrub ovens and toilets, could they?

    Tempo; bugs wings and bat breath? I might have found those more interesting than lipsticks and rouge.

  15. I love remembering when things were so much more simple...

    I fell in love, as a young girl, with the rose water that a neighbor had given me. I thought it was the height of womanly allure and even now equate the smell of a rose with a woman.


  16. Hi River,
    If I had any of my "Dawn Pink" lipstick still around, I'd gladly send you some over :)
    Okay, you must keep my lipstick fascination a secret...
    Enjoy your week.
    In kindness, Gary :)

  17. Pearl; I love rose perfumes.

    Klahanie; I didn't think Dawn pink came in the lipsticks, I'm pretty sure it was only in the nail polish range.


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