The other day, I unearthed an old lipstick – like Y1K old. It was a MAC lipstick called Gleam, and it was the perfect shade of shimmery brownish plum that had summery fun written all over it. The lipstick itself had seen better days, so I made my way to the fancy shmancy mall a few towns away. I am not a mall shopper. This was serious business, however, and worth walking amongst the impossibly wealthy and surgically altered. I hiked up my low-riding cargo shorts and marched into MAC only to discover that MAC made the egregious error of discontinuing my happy hue.
The MAC stylist recommended a combination of lipstick and liner that, blended together with a top layer of gloss, would come sort of kind of not really close to Gleam to which I replied, “If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a low-maintenance kind of girl.” I shuffled around each make up counter in search of a Gleam substitute. Nothing. So, I left.
It got me thinking about my make up, how little I use most of the time but how much time I spend looking for just the right color or tool for those special occasions when I do put in the effort. And then, I lost my favorite set of tweezers.
Where are you going with all of this, Deborah?!? Well, it’s my winding way of explaining how I got to thinking about my primping and preening products and how I take them for granted. The fact is that I have much to learn from them all.
I give you Life Lessons from my Powder Room.
When I lost my favorite pair of tweezers, I refused to buy a new pair because I was determined to find what I considered to be an irreplaceable tool. They sat in my hand perfectly, and the tweezers and I moved as one, the pincers like an extension of my fingers. After a few days and a whisker taunting me from beneath my chin, I broke down and bought a new pair. My new tweezers are beyond perfect. They make my old tweezers seem like chopsticks.
Life Lesson: Today’s loss may be tomorrow’s find.
When Gabriella and I were early into our relationship, we spent days into nights together in her apartment in Chicago. During that honeymoon phase, we were gentle with each other and put our best foot/feet forward. Those were the days when quirks were adorable, and we never criticized each other. Then there was that morning when we were both in the bathroom getting ready for our day together. Gabriella stood behind me as if to marvel at the adorable couple staring back at us from the bathroom mirror. In fact, she wasn’t marveling. She was inspecting.
“Have you ever considered doing something about that?” she asked as she pointed to the corners of my upper lip. In my 25 years of life, I had never once considered the shadow of a mustache that any 13-year-old boy would have envied. I honestly had never even noticed.
As if I had eaten a bit of the apple in the Garden of Eden, I was immediately aware of how Eastern European I was. By no means am I implying that all upper lip hair should be removed or that lady facial hair is less than beautiful. I, however, did not care for the ‘stache on my face. It made my ass look big – or something. It was a hard realization, but I’m forever grateful.
Life Lesson: Trust the people who love you, and empower them to gift you hard truths.
I have straight, fine hair. My Semitic sisters pay hundreds of dollars in the salon for hair like mine. My straight, fine hair, however, hangs off my disproportionately small head and narrow face and does nothing to balance my pear-shaped, pinheaded body. So I spritz and volumize. I flirt with that line between voluminous and Jersey Girl, but it happens that bigger hair makes me feel good about myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a stringy-haired waif head atop a Weeble body. My spritz is my friend, and I don’t travel without her.
Life Lesson: Friends are like hair products. If they’re not lifting you up, they’re weighing you down.
When I first came out of the closet, I opted into the notion that lesbians were not supposed to subscribe to the patriarchy’s definition of beauty. I cut my hair short, and let my leg hair grow long. Very long. I wore baggy clothes that hid my curves, and I refused to wear make up. One day, my boss took me out for lunch and lipstick shopping. I submitted to her “Decorate the Lesbian” folly for the free lunch. But when I tried some lipstick on, I felt like a new woman. I didn’t want to like painted-me, but it was no use. That brings us full circle to my search for MAC’s Gleam. Lipstick has become an essential part of my face now that I have stopped paying attention to what I am supposed to do or not do.
Life Lesson: The only person you have to please is you. You do you!!
The Lipstick Lesson reminded me of my Coming Out story for last year’s Pride Story Slam, which was previously posted. The video is attached here for the full story.