#TBT: Vanity Strikes: I Buy My First Lipstick

January 3, 1987

The bright pink lipstick looked way better on my mom.

Today, mom and me went to the mall. We both got the same lipstick at the Clinique counter! “Mauve Crystal” or something. It’s so neat! But I hated to put it on my cruddy face. Yeah, it looks nice from afar, but it was peeling and dry, YUCK! Why can’t I have nice smooth brown skin, like other girls? I have to use moisturizer, special soap, go to the dermatologist. We ran out of vitamins a while ago and the corners of my mouth are sore and peeling. UGH!

Boy, I really do make a big deal about all that vanity crap when I should be helping the world, helping a little old woman across the street. I sure am a jerk, aren’t I? I also think too much. Good night!


October 2, 2014

For the record, this wasn’t a great color for me. That cool silvery pink looked much better on my fair-skinned, blue-eyed mother. And anyway, it didn’t matter what I put on my face—it was always my face that was the problem. Anything else I added was a hopeful improvement. (Where I had this idea that all “other girls” had smooth brown skin is a mystery.)

But how important it was to have my very own lipstick! I remember the surprising weight of the cool, metal case, the waxy, unscented lipsticky smell as I drew it across my mouth. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait til I had grown into my adult face, and out of this rash of uneven pre-teen skin, so that I could be worthy of it.

Sadly, Clinique discontinued Mauve Crystal years ago. It was the only lipstick my mother ever wore then, and the only cosmetic, aside from a bloom of rose blush on each cheek.

On the drive from the Livingston mall that afternoon, I held the case in my hand until it got warm. From where I sat in the backseat of the blue Toyota minivan, I could see my shiny, pink mouth in the rearview mirror, smiling the whole way home.