A few weekends ago, some of my girlfriends and I decided to plan a big Girls Night Out: Dinner, drinks, dancing, the whole shebang.
Excited to cut loose for a night on the town, I began my getting ready process several hours in advance. (What, you think I just roll out of bed looking this good?)
I had taken a bath, painted my nails, put my makeup on and was just debating whether grey suede platforms or studded leather booties better complimented my peplum top/skinny jeans combo when my friend Dominique called.
“Hi,” she said, forlornly.
Uh oh. This didn’t sound good.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“I think I might just stay in tonight,” she sighed. “I don’t know if I’m up for going out.”
I started to panic. If Dominique pulled the ‘chute, then what if all the other girls did too? I had already spent 30 minutes applying the perfect smokey eye- I was not about to let this night go down in flames.
“Come onnnnn,” I begged her, “It’ll make you feel better to get out! Just jump in the shower, get dressed, and put some lipstick on. Lipstick has amazing transformative powers. I promise.”
Reluctantly, she agreed, and an hour later, picked me up in a cab wearing a bright hue of glossy red. “Is this too intense?” she asked, nervously. “I think I look sort of like an enraged Snow White.”
I examined her flawless, pale, complexion and the bright stamp of scarlet painting her lips. “Yeah.” I agreed, “Maybe a little. But it’s working for you. More importantly, how do you feel?”
“Powerful” she responded.
There it was.
We discussed our lipstick theory with the other girls over dinner, and found that we were not alone in our feelings about the product.
One of the girls even recounted a story she had heard about a box of red lipstick that was mysteriously delivered to the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during the Second World War.
In an excerpt from the diary of one of the first British soldiers to liberate the camp in 1945, he said that no one knew why this lipstick was sent along with the supplies, as the prisoners of were in need of much more pressing items, like food and medical supplies.
But once the lipstick was distributed, its purpose became clear. The women were ecstatic, immediately putting it on and wearing it around the camp proudly. These women didn’t have proper clothing, food, or showers, but they had red lipstick, and with it a little bit of hope. It reminded them of a life outside of the camp; a life where they could be women; individuals-not just the number stamped on their arms. That lipstick, the soldier noted, gave them back their humanity.
Now, I know I just went a little Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on you guys there, but I think this story is one that many women can relate to. While most of us have never walked a mile in their shoes, we’ve all experienced times where we’ve felt low, been degraded, or felt like just a number… and we’ve all wanted a way out.
While some people see makeup as superficial or unnecessary, I see it as a form of self-expression. A fun, creative outlet.
…….And a way of being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.
My love for makeup is immediately apparent when you walk inside my bathroom. Brightly coloured pallets, compacts and brushes spill from every shelf, including dozens of lipsticks. Each has a different name, and with it a different feeling and a different sense of identity.
“Lady Danger” for example, is an unapologetically bright orangey-red that I bust out on nights when I really want to step out of my shell:
I sort of feel like Anne Hathaway in The Dark Night Rises when I wear it.. only without the whole Kung Fu-in-stilettos business.
When I want to channel my inner pop diva, I put on a little “Nicki”, MAC’s signature colour inspired by Nicki Minaj .
When I’m feeling mysterious, I unleash my inner Soviet spy with “Russian Red”:
Or, when I hit the town for a glass (or 5) of wine with my ladies, I go with “Girl About Town”:
…and if I’m feeling a little girl-next-door I choose “Angel”, a muted pinky-mauve that says “hey, I’ll totally geek out with you over video games and foreign films”.
My most recent acquisition has been a frosted 80’s pink called “St. Germain”. It’s about as dated as shoulder pads and teased hair, but I love it because it brings me back to a time of economic growth, environmental unawareness, and coca-cola classic.
Aaah. the good old days.
With all of the inhibition-releasing power of wine, minus the hangover, lipstick is the perfect way to cut loose, forget your problems, and be somebody else for a night. So ladies, go slap on a little Enraged Snow White and have some Fun!
…….But just be careful you don’t pull a Condoleezza.
Cause no one wants to see that sh*t.