Last week, we asked you to tell us about your first time wearing red lipstick in exchange for some Jemma Kidd cosmetics from Market for Drama. And, unsurprisingly, many of you made it into an older relative’s makeup bag when you were young, and the results were hilarious, defiant, and heartwarming. But, astrolatry won for her story that brought tears to our eyes …
“The first time I wore red lipstick, I was in the seventh grade and it was at my mother’s suggestion. In middle school I wore clothes from Kmart and (like everyone else) felt uncomfortable in my body. I had developed earlier than everyone else and it made me stand out. I was six feet tall and curvy and I wished I looked like the girls who were blond and five feet even and flat-chested. I felt like there were always eyes on me and, already unpopular, I didn’t like the attention. It made me a target.
There was a boy who was particularly cruel to me and my best friend, treating me with contempt for dressing poor and not making any effort to disguise his racism when talking to her (she was Indian). I came home so many days and cried and begged to not go back. My mother wouldn’t dream of it, but one day when she came home from work and I was sitting on the couch sobbing, she picked me up and we went to the mall. I bought a blouse that cost forty dollars and new bras, and then next morning before school she thrust a tube of red lipstick into my hand and watched me over my shoulder in the mirror as I shakily put it on. I looked different—not so grown-up or older, but mature. I was weary of it all, but my mother looked proud. I ducked my head the whole way into school, hiding my lips, not because make-up wasn’t allowed but because I was afraid of giving anyone ammunition. Who was I to wear red lipstick, my lips in a tomato pout?
But when I got to the bathroom, desperate to wash it off, I looked in the mirror, and those blonde girls? They were jealous. They didn’t say anything but it was obvious. I could wear it and they couldn’t, because even if their mothers allowed it, they were kids, and though I was I didn’t look it anymore.
So I wore it the whole day.
But it faded, and by lunch I was already being made fun of again, and my confidence couldn’t last again the onslaught of middle school politics, so the next day I was back to tee shirts and elastic-waist jeans from Kmart. But now I wear red lipstick and I remember that and I know better.”