My obsessions tend to wax and wane, but for the last few years, two have remained constant: lipstick and death. First, I would like to dwell on lipstick.
I only buy red lipstick, but the Red Era didn’t start until I was 33 and got divorced. I was upset to find myself a “divorcée“, a term that always brought to mind a desperate woman wearing tight pants and holding a martini glass. The Divorcee also wore red lipstick, the better to signify her availability (i.e., desperation.)
In order to confront this image head on, I began wearing vivid red lipstick. If anyone remarked on it, I’d explain brightly “I’m a Divorcee!”
All that shit is water under the bridge, of course. I am happily married and I’ve never even tasted a martini. But my lust for red lipstick has evolved into what I believe is a true mania. A few days ago, I purchased my billionth red lipstick: a shade called Exces de Rouge, by Guerlain. It’s a little too blue-red but I still like it. I wore it the other day to Neiman Marcus, where I noticed a sales-lady wearing a flaming red lipstick and paid her a sincere compliment. I was actually able to identify the brand and color! If that’s not frightening, I don’t know what is. As we parted, after she praised my own lipstick, she called out in her foreign accent: “Red is my signature color!”
Well, Foreign Sales-lady, it’s my signature color too. Even though I will never be able to match the perfection of my all-time favorite red lipstick, which was naturally discontinued right after I discovered it, I will continue to buy red lipstick until my dying day. In fact, I wore red lipstick the last time I had surgery, and as I passed out, a nurse told me how pretty it was.
Here is my shortlist of Red Lipsticks:
Best Ever, RIP: Rouge Velvet by Chanel
Second Best, RIP: Red #22 by Chanel
Most Pigmented But Drying: Ruby Woo by M.A.C.
Most Intense Blue Red: Glam by M.A.C.
Most Too Pink: Ignition by Nars
Most Fun to Paint on: Rouge Lip CrÃ¨me by Stilla
Most Indelible: Rouge Ultime by Bourjois
The Once I Bought Twice By Mistake: Roulette Rouge by Dior
Most Rich and Creamy: Aphrodite by Napoleon
Most Depressing Smell and Case: Estee Lauder
Next time, we’ll talk about death.