This lipstick topic is getting bigger than I had ever imagined. Turns out, my classmate, the woman from the earlier essay, wrote her own blog about the impact that the lipstick-enhanced introduction made. Apparently, it has been a source of self-inventory for her and I totally get it when she alludes to the fact that she wants to never again do or wear anything that does not represent her true self. At least, that is what I gleaned from her post. Brava! My long-standing belief that nothing is coincidental and that there are few "chance" meetings out there, has once again been confirmed. While my great friend Liz used to call these "co-inky-dinkies", the fact that she and I made similar or identical choices in what we wore and what we liked was not one of them. Think about it. Out of the billions of people and possibilities, why do we gravitate so easily toward the best ones? Okay, once in a while, me make a boo-boo. It generally does not take me very long to discover that my instincts failed me. Perhaps, at times, my radar breaks down or I have decided to be extra nice and "charitable" as the nuns would say....over and over again. With Liz, it wasn't charity at all. We met before high school and the fact that we eventually selected the same wedding gowns was nothing we could ever have planned. She and I wore, as it turns out, the same shade of Avon lipstick at the time. Almost fifty years later, we're still friends and when we get together, we always discover yet one more of those co-inky-dinkies, much to our delight.
I've always been told that I "just have that kind of face", the one that seems to send out a beacon, telling the lonely and sometimes confused that they can unload it all on me and I will fix it. Park benches, ("Can I tell you about my rotten kid and what he did to me yesterday? ..Do I look like I might care?), supermarkets ("Excuse me,do the black spots on the strawberries mean that they are moldy?"....how the hell would I know Mister!) and trains ("I'm having an anxiety attack and would feel better if you wouldn't mind sitting next to me until we reach White Plains." Okay.) I never know when it is going to happen Soooooo, I wasn't surprised when I was approaching the Revlon (of all things!) display at my local CVS a few weeks ago and I got roped in to helping a total and complete stranger select a new shade of, you guessed it, lipstick.
The whole scene caught me off-guard. Here's what I first observed: a young woman and an older one, who appeared to be Asian, standing side by side, and a stroller which faced the opposite way. They were pulling lipstick tubes out of little cubbies as if they were switchboard operators. I figured this must be a young mother, her baby and her visiting mother-in-law and that they both were trying to find colors. They probably were attracted by the same sale offer that I was. As I joined the row of color-seekers, the young woman stepped away, returning to the aisles without a backward glance, leaving the Asian woman and the stroller. If you know me, you know where this one is headed for sure. It no longer was about me and my color and it was all about her. "What do you think of this one for me?" . I must have heard this a hundred times in the next five minutes. "Find one for me". No "please", just a funny kind of urgency to find her not only one but several "perfect colors" so that she could take some home to.....Australia! You could have fooled me. Don't they have lipstick in Australia?? She was downright relentless. Every time I tried to focus on finding my color and perhaps a new one, she drew me back like Spider Woman, into her web. I was hoping the baby in that stroller would start wailing but no such luck. "This color?" Now I had it pretty much figured out about why that nice young woman did an about face and took off like a bat out of Hell when I arrived on the scene. I relieved her of her post and became the new lady-in-waiting. Well, this went on just a little bit longer. I grabbed my Number 440, murmured something like "lady, I have enough of a problem finding my own colors" and took off in the direction of my waiting husband to tell him my story.
When I got to the register, my lipstick, the one that I had finally been able to pluck for myself, the last of the Number 440's, was gone, vanished. I retraced my steps, even went back to the "scene" and it was nowhere to be found. Was she punishing me for not giving her the answer to what must have been her real question? Was she angry at me for having abandoned her at her hour of need? I don't think I did any of the aforementioned. If anything, I did her a favor. She had to find that color which made her feel beautiful, something that only she could do. It matters not what others think. It matters a lot what you think of yourself because if you see yourself as beautiful, you are beautiful.
"People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder"