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The Tiniest of Miracles

I cannot imagine a more thrilling moment than breaking the seal on a new tube of lipstick. Until you apply it, everything rides on hope and a prayer. The eternal question looms, Did I just throw away money on yet another dud tube of lipstick? Or, with a swipe of the wrist do the heavens open and angels sing? By my count, the odds are roughly 50-50 leaning, sadly toward tossing another pristine tube into a drawer never to be opened again. Inside my stash, you’ll find an expensive tube of rich, true red generously imbedded with gold sparkles. It’s so old it’s starting to shrivel but, it represents a future gala where the entire room falls silent as I enter, blinded by the smile on my iridescent, red/gold lips.

For many, classic Tangee was the starter lipstick. It was named after the color it appears in the tube, tangerine and how it looks when first applied to the lips. Transparent and lackluster but, wait! In a few seconds it magically turns bright reddish-orange and is believed to adapt perfectly to your coloring. Whatever that might be, Tangee knows. Beyond the age of fifteen, I wonder how many women remained faithful to it? It can still be found online.

Remember the tug of war with your mother starting at approximately age 10 or 11? The eternal battle over wearing make-up i.e.: lipstick? One friend’s mom lowered the boom in her autograph book, “A little bit of powder, a little bit of paint, makes my darling daughter just what she ain’t.” We somehow outfoxed the cagiest of mothers. Perhaps from older sisters’ stashes, we “obtained” lipstick and shared liberally. The mirror in the girls’ room before classes was jammed shoulder to shoulder. Some bought plastic compacts of powder with a mirror in the lid and available were rectangular mirrors that slipped onto the cover of your tube. If a special guy was in class, those items provided a discreet touch-up while the teacher’s back was turned. Nothing broadcasts a smile like freshly applied lipstick. We took care though because we knew from birth that social death is lipstick on the teeth.

The glory of finally being able to put down hard-earned cash from babysitting, store, or restaurant jobs was beyond thrilling. The fact remains throughout life; a new tube of lipstick transports us to a place where all things are possible. That little tube of color can, (if temporarily) ease anything that ails. Be it a lousy report card, family disputes, loser boyfriends, limited grocery money, sick babies, job annoyances, disappointing relationships, bad self-esteem, wrinkles, gray hairs, hurt feelings, being unappreciated, undervalued, feeling no longer relevant, etc., etc. — all manner of problems. Find a dazzling display and be embraced. It’s no coincidence that cosmetics are easy plucking along with lettuce and green beans at grocery stores.

Just yesterday a friend commented, Virginia you’re wearing lipstick. Well, hello! Where have you been? I’ve only not worn it when birthing my baby or during surgeries when it’s forbidden. Don’t you wear it? Author and physician, the late Michael Crichton observed that making his hospital rounds he could tell when a woman felt better when the compact and lipstick appeared.

My lipstick(s) represent a lifelong routine. I carry a tube or two in my purse and use it often. I wore it under my mask during the pandemic and when home alone. My jewelry and wedding band might be stripped but never my lipstick. They say, nothing lifts the face like a smile. I say lipstick fills the bill every time. Don’t wait. Begin recording your thoughts and ideas on this controversial subject in a journal from

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