Ed’s note: Today’s guest post is brought to you by the lovely Alex Harmon.
I’d always considered myself a lipstick lesbian. That was until the editor of My Fair Lipstick asked me to shoot over some photos of myself wearing lipstick for the website. I was stumped. I didn’t have any photos with painted lips because I don’t actually wear lipstick. I’ve never owned any either. At best, on a special occasion, you might see me sporting some of my girlfriend’s lip gloss. It’s pink and tastes good. That’s the extent of my knowledge.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not afraid of wearing make-up. I look half asleep without eyeliner and mascara, and I always try to even out my blotchy serial killer* skin with concealer or mineral makeup. I love wearing nail polish, in fact the more colourful the better. But when it comes to lipstick I run for the hills. I guess I am what Ellen DeGeneres refers to as a ‘chapstick lesbian’.
But Emma wasn’t convinced. She saw me as a challenge. Perhaps all this not testing on animals has made her see humans as her very own guinea pigs. She was determined to change my mind. And the truth is, I was kind of excited about the prospect as she seduced me in the aisles of Priceline last month. She had her mind set on red. To me this seemed like a big leap. Like a coffee virgin ordering a double shot macchiato. I wanted a weak latte! Give me a pale shade of pink or an earthy brown. But she could not be stopped. I am blonde. I simply must have bright red lips.
As she scoured the shelves like a maniac, I dug deep into the caverns of my mind to reveal my fears of lipstick. The insecurities could possibly be traced back to my feminist mother who never wore makeup except at weddings and funerals. The funerals being more memorable for the subsequent spreading of makeup brought on by tears.
But the memories could possibly be traced further back. I remember going through my grandmother’s makeup box as a 9-year-old and trying on her lipsticks. They tasted horrible, like musty plasticine. They felt like clay and made my lips feel cracked and dry. Why would anyone wear this on a daily basis? In hindsight I realise they were probably cheap and years out of date. Regardless, the experience stuck with me. I didn’t try lipstick again until my twenties when a gay man gave me a makeover at Mardi Gras. I distinctly remember looking like a circus freak. But with green eyeliner and glitter splattered over my face, the bright pink lipstick was the least of my concerns.
Anyway, the point is, my experiences with lipstick left me wanting never to leave the safe clutches of lip gloss. But like I said, Emma had her mind set.
We purchased Innoxa’s Wild Cherry and she took me to the mother’s changing room to work her magic. The lipstick was seriously bright red. When she spun me around to reveal my new look in the mirror I was shocked. Perhaps it was the mirror, which just happened to be one of those Hollywood dressing room style mirrors, exaggerating the whole experience. My lips were massive. “Are you sure it’s on right?” I asked. “I feel like a clown!” Emma assured me that these were common reactions. I wasn’t convinced, but I didn’t want to give up so easily. A few selfies, kind filters on Instagram, and some even kinder words from Emma later, I began to come around to my new look.
I returned to the office and received more compliments, including my favourite from a male colleague: “you look flustered, are you drunk?”
That night I wore the lipstick again, walking into the bar showing off my red lips with pride. Perhaps it was the increasing number of gin & tonics, but every time I re-applied in the bathroom I liked it even more. My teeth looked whiter! I felt more confident, I felt sexier. I began to love my red lipstick.
Don’t get me wrong, I only get out the red lipstick for special occasions and I’m still not confident enough to wear it during the day (I’m still a bit messy with the applying, and I’ve had a few issues with smudges on teeth) but I can confidently say that I like wearing lipstick. Take that Ellen – I am a bona fide lipstick lesbian.
*My friends often refer to me as Aileen Warnoss. (You may remember her portrayed by Charlize Theron in the film Monster.)
Ed’s note: Alex Harmon is the editor of TNT Magazine and is a food writer for Alternative Media Group. To keep updated with her travel and food writing follow her on Twitter.
You can also pick up Innoxa’s Wild Cherry lipstick for $14.95 from Myer, Priceline and selected pharmacies. Or shop online.
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