Face painting as a career may be unfamiliar to a lot of people. If it was familiar to most people–like, if they once had to decide between becoming an airline pilot or a face painter– I would have to question their academic skills and general life choices.
Now that I am retired, I spend a lot of time trying to think of things I can do to earn money. When I’ll have time for them is the subject for another day, as I am busier doing nothing than I ever was when eight hours of my time belonged to someone else, namely, The Man.
Recently, I enrolled in an online class for aspiring face painters. As a field of endeavor, there is very little else to which we should aspire. I had to talk my dog, Sugar, out of becoming a clown, as it was not a fitting career for such a literary creature, much less a dog of mine. I then betrayed her trust by enrolling in this course.
I told her what my mother told me when sticky issues like this arose: “Don’t do as I do. Do as I say.” Old school comes in handy now and then. Face painting is an evergreen business, I hear myself explain to my grandmother, one I can do until I shuffle off this mortal coil. No one has ever said, “I just can’t afford a new fairy or dinosaur painted on my face this year. Maybe if I offload some stocks.”
Face painting, like everything else we do, requires insurance. I intend to buy a policy when I begin to do it professionally (“Professionally” is a Latin word meaning, “there’s a fee for this.”)
Clown insurance is available to face painters, and is a clear oxymoron, but a policy ensures that should I poke someone in the eye with a brush, I can pay their hospital bill. With a clown insurance policy securely tucked under my red curls, the insurance company can bet their big shoes I will be tempted to do just that. Someone will blow a horn behind me as I bend over to pick up my baggy trousers from the ground, I will jump up in alarm and poke someone right in the kisser.
Since there are no handy, and more important, willing, volunteers for me to practice on, I ordered a rubber head.
This head looks like a female, but is devoid of hair, eyebrows, and everything else that counts. It is flat on one side, and has a hole in the back of it, for purposes of which I remain unaware, but which I use to twirl my muse around on my finger while her face is drying.
She does not clean up well, even with water-based kiddy paint on her. The blue and the red colors stained her. Nothing, not bleach, alcohol, or a mighty scrubbing with Comet, will take out the stains. I sent her back, and asked for a replacement and some instructions on her proper use. Last I heard, she was suing me. Her attorney should know that hole was there when she arrived at my house.
There is good money in face painting, and if I didn’t hear my Jewish relatives’ voices in my head when I say it, and imagine telling them about it, it would be perfect. My grandparents on my father’s side would plotz.
Plotzing isn’t just for Jewish grandparents; Christian relatives plotz a lot, too, but since Christian relatives save their judgments for more serious matters, their voices aren’t heard in these parts quite as often.
This is not a career choice that high school counselors typically advise students about. Nevertheless, face painting is better than serving fries at the drive through window; there is just less chance for advancement.
I pondered on this as a new part time career for several months, after a friend told me his wife does it. He mentioned that the tellers at the bank eye her askance when she comes in after a busy weekend to deposit a fistful of dollars covered in glitter. Naturally, I wanted to know how she came to have glittery dollars.
The last time I took a class in anything this questionable was when I signed up to learn how to deal blackjack. Before that, it was a class in real estate. There is no comparison, I know; if I thought pole dancing would net me more sales in houses, I would sign up for a class in it.
Face painting is something I want to do after we move to the country. I figure competition is nil among the ranch set. I also want to be a mobile face painter, and do it while we are on road trips in the RV. If we pass a fair, I hop out with my little paint set, grab a unicorn stencil, and watch the dollar bills roll in. My mother would be proud.
Sales was never my strong suit, which is where face painting comes in. If hawking my face painting skills is required, my fees will be a lot higher.
However, at six to eight dollars a unicorn, or dinosaur, or rainbow, I can afford to sit back and wait for seven-year-old clients to come to me. If they don’t like my mad skilz with the glitter, I’ll refund their tooth fairy money.