Lipstick Police


My mother is a card-carrying member of the lipstick police. “Where’s your lipstick?” “You need some lipstick.” “Everyone looks better with a little lipstick.” I mean, it takes a special kind of dedication to be the kind of person who actually reapplies lipstick after every meal. Yes, she loves her lipstick. I’m sure that when she dies, she’s mostly going to be concerned that she has on lipstick.

Me? I am surely a disappointment to her in the lipstick department. Despite my mother’s pleas, I tend to save lipstick for special occasions or when I know I’m going to have my photo taken. And I do like the way it looks. I like the look of lipstick. I like the idea of lipstick. But I don’t like the reality of lipstick-stained teeth and lipstick marked wine glasses.

Oh, I know there are different brands that stay all day and don’t rub off and blah blah blah…you can save the sales pitch.  I’ve tried many many kinds of lipstick over the years (mostly courtesy of my mother). It’s just not an everyday essential for me. And I’m okay with that.

My mom has two good friends, J and S, whom I adore. One joins her in the pursuit of never naked lips, and the other—well, they’re still working on her. After meals, my mom and S reach for their purses, and J sighs and says, “Oh, are we doing lipstick?” My mom usually just hands hers over when she’s done.

Besides their love of lipstick, they share a love of shopping and, not surprisingly, their grandchildren. They have thirteen grandchildren between them. My mother came home the other day with a Disney play vanity that used to be one of J’s granddaughters. J had given it to my mom to bring home for my Muffin.

Because there’s so much room for more play stuff here.

But I digress. She just wants to make my Muffin happy.

Muffin loves to watch her Nonnie fix her hair and put on her make-up and Muffin gets in the act, so of course she would love a play vanity. And what’s a play vanity without play make-up? How fun! (Insert plastic smile and feigned enthusiasm here)

It wasn’t long before there was eyeshadow everywhere and glittery goo smeared on the vanity mirror. Luckily washable stuff.  It made my Muffin happy, so okay. I have many a day of cleaning goo-smeared stuff ahead of me, so best get used to it.

But the morning after my mother let her loose with the play make-up, Muffin woke up, appeared at the top of the steps, and uttered her first words of the day: “What happen’d my lipstick?”

Oh, boy. Mom’s recruiting early.

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