Victoria Neumark on what it's like to be . . . discovering make-up
Daisy has just discovered make-up. The Body Shop, Top Shop, Spectacular, even 50-year-olds such as Rimmel and Maybelline: boring trips down the high street with Mum are now sorties into Aladdin's caves full of treasure. And there are so many kinds.
You can have glitter gel for your hair, your lips, your eyes, your cheeks, and glitter polish for your nails. Or you can go pearly, testing products with names that end with "shimmer", or smelly, with tangerine and raspberry scent, or shiny with glossy lips, eyes and nails. It's a great time to be 12, especially if your pocket money has just gone up.
When Daisy's friends come round, that's what they love. They get all their make-up and they pool it. For them, it's so much more creative than art - drawing other people and things, how boring is that? So much more fun than drama - who wants to invent scenes when you can talk about who said what to who in real life?
And so much more interesting than maths and science. You can see it's going to be really valuable to know the best way to use nail polish remover, how not to smudge when you are putting it on, how to use a Q-tip to get the edges just right.
Then there is the home economics angle: will it really be worth it to buy a more expensive frizz-free conditioner or is it OK to use the family's giant bottle from the supermarket? Answer: it is never OK, under any circumstances, to use the family-size bottles that your mum bought for anything: not deodorant, not shampoo, not conditioner, not skin lotion and certainly never foundation. On the other hand, it's quite OK to pinch her expensive perfume, and understandable if you go shopping with her instead of your mates if she buys you things worth at least two weeks' pocket money.
Daisy doesn't like extreme forms of body art such as piercing, but hair colour is sheer delight. One night they all went green, which upset their mums until they realised it washed out.
Then one of them got some extensions, which they plaited in and it looked just like All Saints but the teachers came down quite hard. It was really unfair when Jemma had to take off her nail art, which her cousin did over the weekend, especially as it had a diamond, not a real one, on the index finger, but the cousin says she'll do it again for all of them in the holidays.
And Jemma saw a make-over offer in the paper with free products if you go first thing on Saturday, so they said they'd all go.
Daisy's mum said: "Oh, must you giggle so much? I've got a terrible headache." And Daisy's teacher said, "Honestly, I don't know what's got into you girls. You used to be so sensible and hard-working, now look at you."
But the lady behind the beauty counter said, "What, all five of you? Oh well, I suppose I could fit you in." Of course, Daisy actually looks better, ravishingly pretty even, without make-up. But it may take her 20 years to find that out, and by then it will no longer be true.