What could be more fun than spending Sunday night blowdrying your lips?
I should probably explain that: I don’t, as a rule, wear much makeup. My lifestyle prohibits it. Computer screens have a deleterious effect on mascara (I call it raccoon syndrome).
Besides, 15 minutes toiling over a hot gloryhole should be enough to convince anyone that acrylic nail tips are a waste of money. They bend backwards in a spiral, like the runners on Santa’s sleigh. And most makeup clashes with my face’s normal attire: Clay, wax and plaster/silica.
As usual, my predilections do NOT run in the family (more evidence that I’m adopted, despite my mother’s insistence that she KNOWS I’m hers, she was there when I was born). My sisters are incredible powderpuff artists, shrewd evaluators of the latest cosmetic trends.
The other night my sister Suzanne described a routine for perking up tired eyes that I swear involved 39 different products, applied in succession.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen my sister Becky without makeup, at least not since the age of 12. She probably does have a naked, makeup-free face under there somewhere, but you couldn’t prove it by me. Both cosmetic wunderkind siblings come by it naturally; Mom could repaint the Sistine Chapel with only half the contents of her makeup drawers.
Me? My entire cosmetic inventory fits into a pint milk carton. My lipsticks are regularly tossed out because they become rancid from disuse. My sister Becky gives me mascara for holiday presents, really expensive, creamy, luxuriously black mascara.
She calls it “hint. hint.”
Last Sunday night after dinner, Mom casually said, “Come into the bathroom and I’ll show you how to put on lipstick.”
“Wait a sec,” I said mildly, “Didn’t you do that when I was three?”
“Nope, this is new lipstick. It will stay on all day, no matter what you do. Your sisters told me about it. Come on.”
Now, I worry more about alien spacecraft disrupting my WiFi signal than my lipstick coming off, since I’ve already solved that problem: If you don’t put the lipstick ON, you never have to worry about it coming OFF…
Tried to explain this to Mom, but she’s a Southern lady with the requisite whim of iron. She’ll never come right out and say, “Enough of your jokes. Get in this bathroom RIGHT NOW or you will never eat another piece of pumpkin pie* in this house.” She simply smiles, secure in the knowledge that there’s not much point in me resisting since I’m somehow gonna find myself sitting at her vanity table, applying goo on command anyway. Somehow.
I obediently followed her into the bathroom, and she handed me a long, thin, pinkish tube labeled “SuperStay by Maybelline.”
One other thing about my family: They’re equal-opportunity makeup consumers. Maybelline, Guerlain, LaPrairie, CoverGirl, whatever; if a $300 cream works best, they’ll buy it. But if the $2 goo from Walgreens does the trick? Get ten.
Mom picked up a second tube and demonstrated. “First, you open THIS side and spread on an even coat of color.” So duly I used the Superstay’s little q-tip wand to apply color–a Twiggy pink–to my lips.
“Now let it dry but DO NOT let your lips wrinkle!” she admonished. “Go like this…” and with that she stretched her mouth wide open, in a really topnotch imitation of advancing rigor mortis.
“You can’t put on the topcoat until your lips are dry. We can speed up the process this way…” and here she got out the blowdryer…
Picture me, grinning like a zombie, while Mom waved the blowdryer, going full-throttle, over my lips. It took a couple of tries–it’s hard to prevent debilitating lip wrinkles when you’re howling with laughter, so we had a few false until we could get my lips under control.
Lips finally dry, we opened the other end of the tube, smoothing clear topcoat over my still-expanded lips. I finally reeled them in–my cheeks were getting a bit stiff–and Mom inspected the result.
“Wrong color,” she said, shaking her head, “Wipe that off and let’s try this one.” She handed me a second SuperStay and we did the whole thing over.
Lips now tinted a luxuriously bruised coral, we headed back to the family room and checked out YouTube videos.
About half of the SuperStay departed for parts unknown on the drive home. The other half has so far remained as advertised, through three separate hard scrubbings with makeup remover, petroleum jelly, and (don’t try this one or you’ll be sorry) nail polish remover. Over four whole days.
Remember those interesting distressed furniture finishes from the 1990s? Imagine one lip-shaped, in coral. Yeah. Kinda like that. Thanks, Maybelline.
*My mother makes, hands-down, the best pumpkin pie in the known universe. Whole generations dream of that pumpkin pie, served warm with a little whipped cream, or possibly chilled and eaten out of the hand as a postprandial memento. It’s rich, creamy and utterly, orgasmically delicious. If you’re really, really nice, maybe someday I’ll post the recipe.**
**I will not, however, share her fruitcake recipe, which should be canonized. It is the only fruitcake in existence that will be completely consumed before some idiot even thinks of making fruitcake jokes.