Is it inappropriate – and by inappropriate, I mean skull-numbingly boring – for me to write a post about sticky lip gloss? Yes? Well then, I promise I will start at lip gloss and end up somewhere else entirely. Deal? Deal.
I have always the hated sweet, sticky lip gloss that comes in a squeeze tube. Ladies (and gentlemen), you know the kind: It was probably $2 at the drug store, and no matter what color it looks, it goes on a kind of pinky-clear. It tastes like chemical candy and makes your lips stick together.
But lately, I’ve been reaching for this stuff on my days off, the days that I wear makeup at all.
I like this stuff, as it turns out, purely for its associations. You see, it makes me think of high school girls. It makes me think of being in high school, trying to be sexy or rebellious. It reminds me of hanging out at bus stops in cargo pants, cigarette in hand, trying to look cool.
It’s a reminder of the way you felt, little girl, when sex was still new and unknown, forbidden and exciting. This lip gloss doesn’t want to be kissed. It wants you to want to kiss it.
It’s what all the girls who were cooler than you wore; it’s your life before car insurance and phone bills and PG&E-or-they’ll-turn-off-the-heat.
This stuff is a time loop, a window back to when you had braces and were immortal. It’s all that youthful bluster and heart that made you sure – so sure – that all the adults around you were doing it wrong.
But you knew better. When you grew up, you would do it different and you’d do it right.
You’d move to NYC, and you’d be a star and a writer and a painter. You’d be young and in love, adored and admired, and you’d never cry again.
It’s why I appreciate this glitter, artificial crap, even when it goes on tacky and is hell on your skin. It’s why, sometimes I find myself reaching for that tube of gloss.
This stuff is bottled naïveté and nostalgia, baby.