Konglish Beauty

The lemming monster within

Posted in Chanel, lemming, MAC, Offtopic, personal, Stila by konglishbeauty on September 14, 2009

You know those MAC Fall Jin Soon Choi nail varnishes that I failed to find yesterday? I called every MAC counter in Seoul (and the suburbs) to see if I could get my hands on Cool Reserve (the pale grey lavender), Dry Martini (dirty olive), Beyond Jealous (teal/indigo), and For Fun (cream grape). Of course not, they’re all sold out, I knew that even before I started calling around. But still I put myself through it because, pity me, the lemmings have come to play.

I don’t even want the nail varnishes *that* much. I have about 50 nail varnishes (mostly Korean brands) which I love and I know the shades are probably dupable or I can frankenpolish them but the fact that I can’t get them makes me want them. I like my make-up lemmings to play hard-to-get.


For my non-beautyaddict readers asking what on earth is a lemming, let me explain.

The online make-up bible, Makeupalley defines a lemming as:

  • lemming – to follow suit with the raves, to really want something

This doesn’t even begin to explain fully what a lemming is. In the real world, a lemming is a cute fluffy rodent creature which has the reputation for flinging itself off cliffs. This is actually not true, but lemmings are prone to wild population fluctuations leading to the mass suicide reputation as immortalised in the Lemmings computer game. It’s the mythical zombie like, follow the pack behaviour of lemmings that has led to the word’s use by make-up crack addicts.

In the make-up junkie world, a lemming is something that you desperately, completely, obsessively, irrationally want because loads of other people have said that it’s great and all you can hear are the raves ringing in your ears. Without testing or trying the product, we want to get our hands on it (by that I mean purchase, not take a look at) so that we can be “in” with all the other cool kids on the playground. It doesn’t matter whether we’ll ultimately like it or not because sometimes being disappointed in a product and bitchin’ and moanin’ about it to others is half the fun. The products make us into lemmings because we blindly follow in the trail of each other’s chittering and chattering like rodents. Call it the beauty equivalent of a fashion victim.

Legendary make-up lemmings (of my time) have been:

  • Chanel Rouge Noir (a.k.a Vamp in the USA) Nail Varnish
  • MAC Kitschmas pigment
  • MAC Parrot eyeshadow
  • Balmain Ambre Gris fragrance
  • Lancome Behnaz Lipstick

Have I owned them all at one time? Hell yeah. Were they all they cracked up to be? Um, well no not really. But that’s neither here or there. Lemmings are crazed obsessions and until they are purchased or killed they will continue to gnaw away at the corner of your credit card until you are sick with desire. A “lemming killer” is a usually sensible friend or negative review which will point out why you don’t need a black limited edition lipstick you’ll never wear but unfortunately, successful lemming killers are in the minority. The majority of friends will be “lemming enablers” or maybe I just surround myself with yes people.

In me lives a Lemming Monster, bigger and beastlier than my resolve or bank balance will ever be. It is the Lemming Monster which has in the past made me a slave to eBay, buying soldout limited edition products, paying over the odds for little needed pots of pigment and tubes of lipgloss because the Lemming Monster needed blood. Sometimes it lies dormant, held in check by my resolve for months even years at a time, but then it will come roaring back up to the surface, driving me to the make-up counter, and having me chained to the make-up blogs looking for its next meal.So far, I feel a little bit shaky but ultimately think that I will win my tussle with the MAC Jin Soon Choi nail varnish lemming as it’s sold out and I won’t go to the lengths of eBay. I won’t, I won’t, I won’t. But with the new Barbie by Stila collection coming up, expect to hear the squeaks of an excited pack of make-up junkies scuttling to the counters blindly following each other to pick up the eyeshadow palette and garishly bright smudge pots. Either stand back and let us pass or get swept up in the pack.


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