Select Page


“Old trees–
How exquisite the white blossom
On the gnarled branch!
Thickened trunk, erratic shape
Battered by winter winds,
Bent in the long cold.”

—from the poem ‘Old Trees’ by May Sarton

Loud red lipstick on older women. (You define older.)
I’m not saying it’s wrong.
I just wonder what lipstick is for.
Hey you, look at my lips?
Then what. Kiss them?
Is that the message the dowagers are sending with their Revlon Passionfruit?
Rouged cheeks–okay. I agree. Brush it on. Give us a little color.
But lipstick is different. It has a taste. It belongs to the mouth.
We eat with our mouths. We talk with our mouths. Smile. Frown.
Mouths hang open when no one is watching.

Lipstick makes the rest of the face feel dowdy. It wants a little paint, too, once the lips get theirs. And if you put color on the cheeks, and eyelids, especially if you start covering spots and blemishes, then the eyelashes look stupid, like they have done something wrong. Inward, dusted, dull. They hate themselves. Thicken them. Blacken them. Or better yet, glue on falsies.

Next thing you know, you’re pulling hair from your eyebrows, which hurts like hell.

Oh, shut up, let me put on my hot pink lip gloss.
It makes me feel like the day has changed.
Has the day changed?