Monday, September 7, 2009

The Lipstick Manifesto

"I'm 32-years-old and I'm going to start wearing lipstick."

I made this announcement to Ryan the other day after I returned home from the local pharmacy with sinus headache medicine and a tube of red lipstick. I put the lipstick on in the car before I walked into the house, anxious to give it a try. I thought it would be one of those subtle enhancements, like the loss of five pounds, but Ryan immediately noticed. "Wow. What's with the lips?"

A ten-minute trip to the pharmacy can really change a person.

I'll freely admit that I am prone to vanity. I've been obsessed with clothes since I was too little to care; and as soon as I had the go-ahead to start wearing makeup at age 12, I've never stopped. Well, except for one little detail--lipstick. I've never been able to do lipstick. I've tried in years past, but the result was always a little disastrous. Like, preschooler-with-a-Sharpie disastrous. So, I gave up. Quit cold turkey. I decided to go with the "Dramatic Eye and Nude Lip" theme I read about in a magazine one time while my hair was being highlighted. (Oh yes, I forgot to mention the hair vanity.)

But something clicked in the aisles of the Walgreens and I suddenly knew that the piercing sinus headache that led me there in the first place was a fate-sent means to an end. What I needed even more than medication was big-girl lipstick. The universe was trying to tell me something: I needed to make a bold new step. I needed to unlock the gate of the new me, and the gatekeeper was L'Oreal 16-hour Power Stay Lip Stain in cherry red. Or at least I thought it was. Sometimes the universe mumbles and I can't tell for sure.

When Max saw my ruby red lips he backed away slowly and said, "Uhhh, do NOT kiss me with those lips."

When Christian saw them he raised his eyebrows and said, "Did you do something to your lips? Like, on purpose?"

"I'm 32-years-old and I'm going to start wearing lipstick!" I announced again. It's important to announce these things. (With conviction!)

The next morning, I tried my new look again. I got ready early and applied the lipstick before it was time to walk Max out to the bus stop where all the parents congregate and visit in the morning. I probably shouldn't have sprung such drastic changes on the bus stop parents. Last year I was never even showered before the bus stop, let alone wearing bright red lipstick. My regular bus stop look is something I call "Homeless Punky Brewster." It's very cutting edge.

Two minutes before it was time to walk out to the bus stop, I began to have serious misgivings about the lipstick. I ran in the bathroom and tried to blot it off with some toilet paper, but I was only twenty minutes into my 16-hour Power Stay color shift. I scrubbed at them with the hand towel, but it was no use. I briefly considered the use of a nail file or Clorox. Instead, I grabbed my large sunglasses and put them on before walking outside with Max and Ryan. I was hoping the glasses would hide the embarrassment in my eyes.

We stood at the bus stop for a few seconds before Ryan said to my neighbor Anne, "So, what do you think of Tiffany's lipstick?" I punched him in the arm.

"Yeah, I noticed that," Anne said sweetly.

"I'm 32-years-old and I'm going to start wearing lipstick." I mumbled with my head down, trying to tuck my lips into my face.

The next day I tried again. Specifically, I tried applying it correctly (fail) and also tried convincing myself that I was going to get used to this look (again, fail). The day after that, I applied a little smear of it (more of a 16-minute version of the 16-hour original) that looked like Kool-Aid stain from a morning of binge drinking. The next day I didn't shower until three o'clock in the afternoon. And since it was so late in the afternoon, I decided that it would be wasteful to apply lipstick at all. (I'm trying to be more green.) This morning when I got ready, I applied my regular, barely-tinted-pink lipgloss. I left the red lipstick sitting in the dungeon of my makeup bag.

"I'm 32-years-old and I'm going to stop wearing lipstick," I said to my reflection in the mirror. And I kid you not, the reflection sighed with relief.

I read a quote the other day about having plenty of failures in life because having them means that you're taking plenty of chances. The truth is, I've not been one to take many chances. I've lived many moons taking small, safe steps that were guaranteed successful. But I feel an urgency to let that go and open myself up to becoming the best possible version of myself. And I'm beginning to understand that in order to become that person, I'm going to have to put a lot of "suck" into "successful."

You know what? Maybe that was the real message from the universe in Walgreens: Walk around looking like a complete idiot for a few days. It will be good for you. Be truly bad at something and find out how easy it can be to let it go. There is freedom in failure.

Or, then again, maybe it wasn't the universe telling me anything. Maybe it was just a sinus headache.

29 comments:

Tiffany said...

I wish I could write half as good as you. And I must confess, at the age of 31, I've been contemplating wearing lipstick too.

Kami said...

What I thought you were 31?! I think it's a good idea to let the lipstick go.

ps. This will be a movie for sure.

marta said...

it seems to me i am always reading your posts and thinking, yes, yes, i so get this. and the lipstick thing, completely! i love girls who can pull of the ruby red and the hot pinks. before my best friend's wedding, i had the notion that my post-pregnancy bod needed a pick me up. my mom totally talked me into getting this fantastically circus MAC lipstick. i wore it to my best friend's wedding wherein i had to give a toast and everything. i thought, oh yeah, i can pull this off. my mom kept saying, just be confident, you look terrif, but i couldn't shake it. i didn't look like the real me. i am so nude lip, smoky eye. although i love a girl who can do it, me and my man prefer chapstick. gloss i can do, lipstick is for the stage. xo.

Really Wild West Mama said...

My lips are burning, just reading about YOUR ordeal, Tiffany!!! I relate, having tried about 5 different times in my life to wear that stuff!

I've had a case of "chappy lips" ever since I can remember, and I'm sneakin up on 63! That's a lot of years to have chappy lips!

Like Marta, I'm stickin to chapstick! I'm probably keepin them in business!

Thanks for the LAUGH!

Ali said...

I found myself nodding along. Yes, when I grow up I'm going to wear lipstick too. And high heels.

jennie w. said...

Cherry Red??? We need to have an intervention! I have worn lipstick every day of my life for the last 25 years. I have dark hair and dark eyes and even I can't pull off pure red lipstick.

Go back to Walgreens.

Get the L'Oreal Infallible lipstick in Chestnut. It's a great pinkish brown that is perfect for autumn.

The older you get, the more you need lipstick. Don't be scared.

You will feel weird the first day you wear it. But give it at least three days.

Katie said...

I laughed out loud at this post. No matter how many times I try to wear lipstick, I wind up rubbing it frantically on my hand 20 minutes later (only to produce an odd rose-tinted color on the top of my hand or wrist). If anyone can tell me how to wear lipstick - and like it - let me know. I tried it on my wedding day, while singing on stage - to no avail. I still hate it to this day. Unless, you know, it tastes good or something. ;)

Leslie said...

You are so entertaining. I must confess, I've never even noticed that you DON'T wear lipstick. You are and always have been beautiful!

I like Cover Girl Lipslicks. It's kind of like lipgloss with a step toward big-girl lipstick. Regular lipstick makes my lips peel. Weird, eh?

Soul-Fusion said...

I think the color was a bit ambitious - I cannot pull off red. I think very few people can. As you know, I am not a fussy makeup person but I do believe in lipstick. I am not good at the re-application but most mornings I put it on and I layer it with gloss. I think you can do it too, you just need a better shade.

Jesse C said...

Putting the "suck" in successful = awesome.

rychelle said...

you're such a brilliant writer! that's all.

Angie said...

No, you can't give up on lipstick! It's so fun, but the trick is to get the right colors, and to do that you have to go to the professionals. Try the Clinique counter at the mall. They have good stuff and it's reasonably priced. Trust me. Just stay away from the reds.

Donna said...

The universe talks to you in Walgreens too? I thought I was the only one.

So relieved.


(Yet another great post).

b. said...

okay... wheres the pic. i want to see the red lips!

i must admit that i am 30 and i feel the EXACT way about lipstick as you! EXACT!

i have a post about lipstick somewhere too.

Jenny said...

It could have been worse...I was a Mary Kay girl several years ago and in my starter pack they sent me this awesome orange lipstick. Who wears that stuff. Maybe you could try that when you are 62 years old.

Kate said...

Seriously? I love lipstick. But I'm seventeen so I love everything.

Omgirl said...

Well, if you've ever read my blog, you'll know that I'm a huge fan of lipstick and not so huge of fan of the "dramatic eye/nude lips" look. So I say, try again! But maybe not cherry red this time?

Christy said...

Loved your lipstick manifesto, I feel the same way about it. Somehow it always ends up on my teeth, even the 16 hour kind. It just ends up on my teeth for 16 hours. I figured its just not meant to be. I gave it up years ago.

DeAnn said...

I "heart" my lipstick! Embrace it! Only embrace it in something lighter and warmer and RED. I have read scientific articles on the power of lipstick (in Womans World Magazine) that told me that when you are feeling down -- put on lipstick and you will feel fantastic. I swear by it - but only in a softer shade.

Dolled Up Girl said...

This is hilarious! Red lipstick can be frightening to wear. :)

Dolled Up Girl said...

This is hilarious! Red lipstick can be frightening to wear. :)

Carolyn said...

this is so funny. I used to be afraid of color on my face at all, then i started with the blush, and have now fully graduated into days of chili hued lips (on occasion) I treat it like a bold necklace or new shoes. The first day i had to pretend that it was something i was used to, otherwise I couldn't own the ridiculousness. Baby steps with the lips though, try light pink ;)

Also, I am a no bra kind of carpooler. I never could understand how some moms had the time to get their kids AND themselves ready. I blame lipstick...and my soft bed :)

katie said...

I always ended up with lipstick on my teeth and then Annie told me I looked like Diana Hillmer. She use to live behind your old house next to Sally. Trust me....nobody EVER wanted to be told that they looked like one of the Hillmers.
Thus ended the days of lipstick.

lizzie said...

katie did look like diana hillmer.

randomly i buy a tube of lipstick.

and randomly i wear it.

and by randomly i mean, every two or three years or so.

and lately i have discovered that anna has discovered it. she is only nine. ugh.

MiaKatia said...

Not a big lipstick fan myself, but I love lip gloss and chapstik. Gloss has just enough color and your lips don't feel dry. I think it is awesome that you rocked the red lipstick!

shannon p. said...

No picture??? At least you are "grown-up" enough to make your own decisions. I'm all about asking everyone's opinion about everything.

I'm a lipgloss gal myself, though a little bit more color would probably do me (and you) some good.

Jodi said...

Carmex and I are pretty tight. I lather on the cherry kind before a hot date.

Lipstick. Pish posh.

Becky said...

So funny! What I would give to see a picture of you at the bus stop wearing red lipstick! He, he!

tiburon said...

I am sooo with you. I have never been a big makeup girl. but as I am aging and starting to wrinkle I am wearing it more. And more.

And I suck at putting it on.

I am so not a girl.

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