Dear Preparation H,
I don't want to hurt your feelings, so I'll try and be as kind and fair as possible here. That said, I need to tell you (just so you'll know where we stand) that our one brief and hurried date was enough to let me know: we were not meant to be together.
Maybe I waited too long to ask you out. Maybe the years of listening to whispered stories of all you could do for me set my hopes impossibly high. Maybe the dark circles and bags under my eyes are just too much for any product. Maybe it wasn't really your fault.
Remember when we met? I was looking for you on the pharmacy shelves, accidentally bumping into a couple of other shoppers in my excitement over finally (after all this time!) getting to meet you. When the pharmacist asked if I needed any help, I said to him in a voice loud enough for all the other people to hear, "Yes, thanks. I want some Preparation H!"
He walked over to your corner of the store, looked back over his shoulder at me, "You want the suppositories?" "Uh, no?" I said, wondering if there was some way we could try and make that work. "Gel or ointment?" he asked me. I paused to consider. "I think I need to see the boxes," I told him (and the entire store).
I stood at the counter, reading your description. I chose you, Gel, because of your non-greasy and cooling promises. I turned down the offer of a bag, instead tucking you into your very own pocket in my handbag and walking out of the store feeling hopeful and energized.
That first night at my house, the tension was incredible. I was up literally all night long with my sick daughter. The hours crept by, and when 4 a.m. arrived to find me still awake I thought once more of you and how great it was going to be to take you out of your yellow box and get to know you.
Dawn came, and I honestly believed that the time for us to meet could not have been more perfect.
I made us some coffee (in the French press, even!) and made sure that the kids were occupied with breakfast and cartoons. I closed the bedroom door, and brought you over to the vanity in my room. The one with the big mirror. I was so relieved to discover that the one ugly rumor I'd heard about you was not true; you smelled fine, just fine! I looked at my puffy eyes in the mirror one last time and went for it.*
You lived up to the bold promises on your box. The cooling under my eyes really woke me up, and there wasn't any greasyness. I was charmed, I really was. And you didn't waste any time getting to work; right away I could feel things tightening up, maybe even shrinking. Before long, the area under my eyes felt like they were coated in salt water. I thought we were on the right path, Gel. I really, really did.
Smiling to myself, I got the kids ready for school and then came back to the bathroom to put on my makeup.
I hope you don't feel bad about the whole dark circle thing, because I never expected that from you. I was just hoping that you could shore things up a little for me, make me look 28 again. Oh, who am I kidding? I'd have settled for 35. I'm not sure how to say this nicely, so I'll just be brief: you are not the Gel for the job. And, really? You sort of led me on. You made it feel like you were shrinking things, but when I looked in the mirror it was the same old tired me looking back. It's like you were never even there at all. I know you tried, and I know I expected so much and didn't come to you until things were dire, but still. I think we're through. If it helps you feel better, I can honestly say that I'm so sorry things didn't work out. You just don't know how much I wanted you.
* For the record: It's not wise to use a product for anything other than what it's labeled for. I do not recommend using a product near your eyes if it was sold to go on your, uh, someplace else. If you want to use ANY product in a creative way, please give your doctor (or friendly neighborhood pharmacist) a call.