Lipstick as Political Statement
Yesterday as I was eating my lunch I stumbled across this AskMetaFilter thread about finding the perfect lipstick. A whole bunch of people said that Clinique’s “Black Honey” is the Best. Lipstick. Ever. (Other websites concur.) Of course, yours truly doesn’t normally wear any makeup. When I left work for the day though, I noticed that the cosmetics area at Myer was still lit up like a casino. I was drawn inside. After I fought my way to the Clinique counter, I asked a beautifully made-up girl (in a white lab coat, no less!) for help finding it. “I’m really clueless about makeup,” I said, “but I, uh, was reading about it on the Internet today and a bunch of people said this was the best lipstick ever.” (Thinking to myself: “I am the biggest dork ever.”) She didn’t bat an eye at my dorkitude though. “Is it expensive?” I asked nervously. “Oh, not at all,” she said. “It’s just thirty-four dollars.” THIRTY-FOUR DOLLARS. I have purchased maybe half a dozen lipsticks in my life, all from grocery stores, drug stores, or Wal-Marts. I’ve never paid in double digits for makeup before. I figured I might as well try it on though, since I was standing right there. She handed me the tester and I twisted it up… and it was black! Total plum-black, like something Naomi Campbell would wear. “There’s no way this is going to look good on me,” I said. I started dabbing it on with a Q-tip, only to have her quickly sense my ineptitude and take over. And you know what? The damn thirty-four dollar lipstick looked gooood. It didn’t go on black at all, but rather a nice purply-red stain that wasn’t fakey looking. I thought it would wash me out, but it actually warmed up my cheeks and brought out my freckles. I felt really sophisticated and more “adult” than I usually do. I was in awe, and so I frickin’ caved. I bought the damn lipstick. And then I booked in for a makeover next week.
And then, of course, once I got home I felt incredibly guilty and superficial. I have all these weird feminist issues with wearing makeup, mostly because I knew girls in college who’d never leave the dorm without it. The Snook doesn’t help matters, since he prefers me as au naturel as possible. (He doesn’t even like me to pluck my eyebrows. He thinks I’m “mutilating” myself.) But then again, I’ve been known to periodically sport a bright pink hairdo. What’s the difference, really? Nothing. Nothing! So I’ve been proudly wearing my new lippy all day and singing Ani Difranco in my head.
People talk about my image like I come in two dimensions / Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind…