"I just bought my first lipstick. It's dividing everyone."

Thought I’d buy a lipstick last weekend. You know, add a bit of colour to the mid-winter slump. Channel a bit of Jolie. It didn’t seem like a biggie at the time.

But Oh. My. God. It was. This was the purchase that stopped the office, that caused a teenager to laugh RIGHT IN MY FACE and had my friends talking behind my back.

Because this is my first lippy. Ever. Oh, for gods sake, stop gawking. I can’t be the only woman who’s bypassed lipstick for more than three whole decades. Riddle me this: what is actually wrong with paw paw cream? Actually?

Look, I don’t really know how it happened. One minute, I was at the Mac counter buying foundation, the next I was perched in front the mirror with a very nice girl painting me up like the love child of Marilyn Manson and The Joker. I finally settled on Midmauve (Lustre), aka A65, which I think you’ll agree is lovely and neutral and a perfect first lipstick for someone who’s never worn lipstick.

Mid Mauve Mac Lipstick

This is what happened next.

  1. I was called a freak.

My fault. Mia was waving a new lippy around - something, you know, super-understated in hot pink, and I casually mentioned I'd just bought my first lipstick. Fifteen heads snapped around to look at me so fast at least four of them must have vertebrae damage.

"In your life??? How are you EVEN A GIRL?!" (Post continues after gallery.)

And there was me, thinking two X chromosomes were enough to qualify. But no.

"You are a freak!!!"

Here's to the inclusive sisterhood.


2. I found out who my real friends are.

Three days after my very first application, I thought bugger it, and met friends for dinner wearing a cheapo freebie from the office in a shade a little more daring. Sort of traffic light meets fire engine. In a collision where someone has been injured.


One (friend-who-is-friend-no-more) stared, I thought admiringly, but I have no gauge for how someone should look at you in these situations.  Anyway, she suggested "maybe something a bit more subdued" before smugly freshening up her own WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING IN THE MIRROR. What sensory magic is this?

I am a trout. Image: Supplied. 

Another (friend-who-remains-friend) left a message the next morning that went like this: "Darl, that lipstick looked great. You should wear it every day."

So I got all puffed up, until ...

3. My partner begged.

I dressed in leather dominatrix gear and made my lips all pouty and stern in a deep purple, before grinding a stiletto into his ... WHAT ARE YOU ON? Drugs? I put on the fire-engine-crash shade at home, with my trackies, just to see if my friend-who-is-friend-no-more was right.

"Oh God - take it off. You look like an old trout."

Isn't that just the response you want from the man who loves you? Also, exactly the reason I haven't worn lipstick before (the trout bit, I mean).

4. I realised I sip wine like a weirdo.

I didn't know this. But put my tongue on the bottom rim instead of my lip. My lips never actually touch the glass. It took quite a bit of effort, and a little bit of dribbling, to get those kissy lipstick marks on my goblet, which was my #lippygoal that particular evening.

Still. Mission: accomplished.

5. I experienced a new kind of embarrassment.

Oh, okay, I smiled at a bloke about 20 years younger than me. He didn't smile back. Maybe because my front teeth looked like I'd been chewing betel leaf for a living.

Here are some vintage lipstick looks. Post continues below. 


6. I realised I will never be Dolly Parton. And my partner will never be Dolly Parton's husband.

... because this is what Dolly once said:

"The only way I'd be caught without makeup is if my radio fell in the bathtub while I was taking a bath and electrocuted me and I was in between makeup at home. I hope my husband would slap a little lipstick on me before he took me to the morgue."

Not a conversation likely to happen out our place. Unless I was a trout. Oh, hang on ...

7. I discovered beginners' guides to lippy.

They said things like "it can make you entire look POP!", not something I was certain I wanted given the size of my boobs, but also I learned the essential number of lipsticks is four - nude, pink, red and "funky". And that the shade I should go for is "my lips, but better", which is exactly what I got from Mac and exactly what I did not get from the fire engine accident. And that skin tone is important, and that I should exfoliate my lips, which sounds a bit hurty and is advice I'll probably ignore.

8. I found out I'm not alone.

Exhibit A: "I was 16, the lipstick was blood red and I wore it to my first ever club night (which was for under 18s). I felt like a hooker when I looked in the mirror."

B: "I was about 17 I bought and YSL hot pink lipstick (and my best friend bought the same colour too). My mum laughed when I put it on. But it was YSL IN A GOLD CASE. And HOT PINK!!"

C: "Putting lipstick on still stresses me out, it makes my face feel too showy, you know? (Oh, yes. I do know.) I always put it on then immediately change my mind."

Anyway, I'm persevering. I'm a long way off lipstick addict. All advice gratefully accepted.