For Donal Graeme, Moose Norseman, and Deep Strength; who are thinking through how men and women differently go astray.
Helen wakes and gets ready to see Tom; whom she desires. She does as she has been taught women do to get a man’s attention; what every woman she knows does. She shaves her legs. To her face she applies concealer, powder, lipstick, rouge, mascara, and eyeshadow. She films her dyed and highlighted hair with potions, and blow-dries it into a shape that defies its natural tendencies. Hose tightens and disguises her cellulite, while heels sculpt her legs and buttocks to appear longer and more pert. She puts on a bra that bulks her breasts before lifting and separating them. She tops it all with a frock which gives the appearance of bigger breasts, a smaller waist, and longer legs, and a spritzes herself with perfume to make herself smell different. She is pleased with herself, and thinks this is good for her and Tom; especially if it makes him love her.
Tom sees Helen. He is Texan and crass, and so he says to himself, “I believe I’d drink her dirty bath water.” Of course he believes nothing of the kind. It’s a funny thing to say (in a crass way, of course) because Tom knows drinking dirty bath water is foul, and wrong; just like fornicating with Helen. It’s an admittance that he’d give up his wisdom and respect for a chance to indulge himself in her deception, and her in her arrogance. He is not deceived about the nature of the event. He’s making a choice in full knowledge of what is right and wrong.
Did Helen deceive Tom with her appearance? Somewhat. He is aware it’s a show, and that it’s a show of an available woman. But keep in mind: In order to deceive Tom into believing she is more beautiful than she is, Helen has invested more than two hours in a campaign against her natural state. It is an elaborate and precarious setup which could not survive a washing. If Tom is fooled, then it is because the preparation was so intense.
To Helen he says, “What a lovely-looking lady”; whom he is not loving, and who is not a lady.
She falls immediately for his two-second line.