What makes up happiness isn’t found at makeup counter

Watch Sadie and Patti LIVE ON CNN Thursday, May 4, 2006, 10:45 A.M. Eastern Standard Time!!!!

Sunday Gazette Mail
April 30, 2006
Patti Lawson

Sadie and I have jumped right into our book tour starting in Richmond, Va., with the Southern Women’s Show and a signing at Fountain Books. It was fun and exciting, and even though Sadie did not get to be on stage as planned because she insisted on standing on her hind legs at the stove, it turned out great.

But it was in New York City that I experienced an event that wasn’t on the schedule. Needing some makeup and being right near Bergdorf Goodman and having never gone into this famed and very expensive store, my sister Bonnie and I decided to check it out.

The store even smelled of money as we walked across the wooden first floor past jewelry cases shining with diamonds and gold and looked at the directory listing designer names we’ve only seen in fashion magazines. What surprised us was that dogs were in abundance in Bergdorf’s — and not just the little ones you can carry in your purse. There were dogs of every kind on just about every floor, sometimes being tended to by the salesclerks while their well-heeled owners modeled clothes.

Once at the makeup counter, being the ever-diligent promoter, I mentioned my book. The makeup artists were all excited and asked me if they went and got it on their lunch break would I sign it? Need they ask!

My cell phone rang shortly after 1:30 p.m. The excited clerk told me they all had the book and would I please come back and sign them. And there amongst the perfumes, eye shadows, nail polishes, body buffers and dogs, I signed copies of my new book for women that I’ve trusted to provide me with happiness of a certain form for years.

I’ve trusted makeup consultants in many stores for advice on perfume that would attract men, eye shadow that was “to die for,” lipsticks sure to make my lips look divine, and bought every “free gift” ever offered. I even dragged a man into one such department once. When he was asked, “Doesn’t this make her look beautiful?” he replied, “She already is beautiful,” which of course made him a perfect date. (Or maybe just cheap!) So it seemed fitting that there among the jars and tubes and bottles promising beauty and bliss, I signed my book that told how I really learned to be happy. That it wasn’t from any fragrance or color tint on my face; in fact, it had nothing to do with these products.

The days when I lingered at the cosmetic counter looking for a magic elixir seemed long ago. Happiness was handed to me in the form of a small black-and-tan puppy and has never left. That’s not to say I don’t still like the indulgence of these luxury products. I just don’t expect anything from them other than the pleasure of using them.

These days, my makeup mostly gets licked off during the day, and Sadie never seems to notice what brand it is. And as for Sadie, you should hear her sigh of contentment when she gets a squirt or two of her Mango Tango perfume, but I assure you that’s not what makes her tail wag either.

Dear Patti: Our family was very interested in your column about puppy mills. We have a 16-year-old daughter who has her first job and insists it’s “her money” and she will do what she wants with it. Namely, she wants to buy a small designer-type dog like you spoke out against and we are firmly against. What should we do? — Perplexed Parents

Dear Perplexed: What if your daughter wanted to use her money to buy something illegal? What if she wanted to quit school? Having money may seem to give one power, but when you are 16, parents still rule. Take her to visit some shelters, do a Web search of dog rescue groups, and ask how she would pay for perhaps insurmountable vet bills for such a dog. Children need to learn that just because they can afford something, it’s not always the right thing to do. Use the same guidance here as you would in any other situation that wouldn’t be the right thing: Just say no.

Sadie and I invite all our readers to come meet us in person at 6:30 p.m. May 6 at Taylor Books. Write to us at thedogdiet@aol.com.