Today I bought a tube of red Revlon lipstick.
It was guaranteed to last longer on the lips than the actual lipstick would.
I put some on my lips even though I wasn’t going anywhere for tonight and I wouldn’t be seeing anyone else until morning, at which point the lipstick would have been rubbed off by Kleenex and my lips preserved in chapstick.
Yet I saw that tube of lipstick as not just a tube of Ruby Red; I saw it as a red flag, as a red siren on an ambulance, a red Stop sign imploring me to not go any further.
It was dangerous for me to wear red lipstick.
But it’s just some stupid lipstick, you might say. And yes, I agree with you, it is only a blending of chemicals and pigment designed to make the lips take on an unnatural shade of red. It is just make-up. But it is the effects of the make-up that worry me.
As a girl who seldom wears eyeliner, mascara, blush, or even lipstick, I am used to random passersby ignoring me on the street, pretending I don’t exist in my ordinary shirts and boring jeans. I don’t usually dress to impress. That is not my job; I am just a college student, not an advertisement for a pretty face or a physical object to be admired.
However, recently I began to rethink my whole notion of appearances and looking one’s best. True, I shouldn’t go around wiggling my boobs for strangers or wearing Daisy Dukes to show off my thigh flab or a butt cheek “accidentally”. But I also shouldn’t have to hide under baggy sweatshirts, no matter how bad I think that look that day. Why? Because I only come with one body and I might as well be darn proud of it.
Instead of wearing sweatshirts as was my style before, now I wear more dressed-up blouses paired with tighter jeans and boots or comfortable flats. I am not advertising my body by doing so; I have simply come to realize that my body is pretty fantastic, and therefore I should be proud of it and show off its best features without being vulgar, unacceptable, or desperate for attention. I am merely acknowledging that I am appreciative of who I am on the outside, and that who I am inside is fantastic, too.
So, why is it dangerous to wear red lipstick?
Let me just say that this revelation of confidence in my own body is still relatively new for me. I am still learning how to be kind to myself and how to appreciate myself for what I look like. I am also still quite used to strangers ignoring me, as they continue to do so even with my new wardrobe and with the recent addition of occasional light makeup. Wearing red lipstick would clearly draw attention to my face, and call particular attention to my lips. I am still learning to come out of my shell, but I would need to be able to look the world squarely in the eye before I feel comfortable with strangers being drawn to the sight of my lips. That is still a new thing for me, as naive as it sounds.
For now, I have taken the first step by buying the Revlon Ruby Red. I have applied it to my face and have timidly peered at myself in the mirror. I don’t look half-bad in it.
Tomorrow, I resolve to face the world wearing this minor addition to my appearance. I may not be able to look it square in the eye just yet, but I am proud of myself that I have come this far to let the world look me in the eye–and the mouth–for a change.