Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Taste of Lipstick

I am 42 years old.  When I was 13 I started wearing makeup every day.  I refused to leave the house without first "putting on my face".  I come from a long line of beauticians.  My mom's mom owned a beauty parlor.  My mom got her cosmetology license while she was still in high school.  Even my brother seriously considered getting his cosmetology license.  It was the serious part he couldn't abide, so he never made it official, but he colors his wife's hair and knows his way around a pair of shears.  My sisters, all three of them, take good care of their hair and know how to apply makeup like professionals.  Beauty is a big deal to my family.

For many years I went along with them.  My grandmother bleached my "mousy" brown hair when I was an anorexic eleven year old.  She thought I was sad that my once naturally blonde hair was darkening as I got older and that I had become anorexic to "get attention."  What better way to give a girl attention than to color her hair, she thought.

This is what I look like now.

Brown hair with natural blonde, red, and yes!--even grey--streaks.  No hair coloring.  No makeup.  I didn't even brush my hair.  I washed it with the most unsexy shampoo of all: Selsun Blue.  I did not condition it.  When I ran out of conditioner recently and I was too busy writing to go to the store to buy some, I discovered that I like the natural wave my hair takes when it's not weighted down by unnatural oils.  I washed my face and my body with Whole Foods' store-brand soap, Verve, because it doesn't make my rosacea flair and my husband gets a 20% discount for working at Whole Foods.  I put nothing on my face other than soap and water.  Lotions and makeup sting.  And even if they didn't, I've gotten to the point in life where I just can't be bothered.  I'm too busy to worry about my looks.

Will thanks me.  He says, "I never liked the taste of lipstick anyway."