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Friday, December 7, 2012


So here we are.

As I turn 41 today, it all starts to make sense: I am currently having a mid-life crisis. 

There is no other reason for my behavior. I’m not talking about the fist-shaking. That’s just my cynical nougat center whose flavor has deepened and intensified with time. And while lately I have looked at every young person under the age of 25 and thought, sigh... you have your whole life ahead of you, that’s not a mid-life crisis. That’s just the truth.

My symptoms are not sitcom-esque. I’m not having an affair. I’m not buying leopard-print accessories or a Vespa. I’m not even thinking of becoming a redhead or getting a tiny tattoo or creating a new persona online. The amount of retinol I slather on each day is unchanged. I have not succumbed to Zumba.

No, I’m talking about the fact that I am buying all of the lipsticks in the world -- and I do mean all of them -- and they all suck.

I like to think that I am a somewhat intelligent person, one who knows that life is not made better or worse based on what color my lips are. Finding the perfect shade will not bring about peace in politics or the Middle East, nor will it make all of my dreams come true or make my hips look smaller. I am also aware that in some cases, certain lipsticks can actually make a gal look older, and the irony is not lost on me. 

Still, my quest continues.

Buying lipstick has always been, in my opinion, a crapshoot. At the drugstore, lipsticks are cheaper, but sealed. You’re essentially playing Lipstick Roulette. You might as well close your eyes and point, even if you wind up pointing to a Snickers bar. (A Snickers bar, while not being lipstick, is at least a sure buy.) It’s a ridiculous sham and we all know it.

Then there’s the department store, or places like Sephora, where there are testers. But unless you have a penchant for penicillin, you don’t dare put the contents of those petri tubes on your lips. No, you try them on the back of your hand. You can spot a frustrated lipstick shopper from a mile away, as she’s got twelve tiny slashes of warpaint smeared between her index finger and thumb, like a Señor Wences character on meth. The problem is, lipstick looks different on our hands than on our lips, and we all know that, too.

You could ask one of the cosmetics consultants at the department store for color advice, who will use their expertise to happily point you to appropriate shades. They will also happily point you to three hundred dollars’ worth of other products that you don’t need or want but are guilted into buying because they work on commission. Unless you have unlimited disposable income or a cold heart that is immune to sympathy, never, ever ask. 

But the stupidest thing of all is trying to buy lipstick online. I admit that I have done this, and in doing so I thus admit my total, utter stupidity. Again, I like to think that I am not stupid. I know the difference between there, their and they’re. I know that global warming and science are real. But when it comes to determining whether that shade called Vanity is as deep or brown as my laptop monitor implies it is (using my patented, useless “tilt the screen” technique to see if light changes shift the color at all... it’s a blue-red... no wait, now it looks orange-based...), I have as much blind faith as a skydiving priest with a failed parachute: I know deep down that I will probably be disappointed, but my fierce hope is much stronger than fact. Add to Cart.  

Of course, I wouldn’t have to go trolling for new shades if the idiot manufacturers hadn’t discontinued -- seemingly overnight -- all of my old favorites. And that, my friends, is the basis of any good mid-life crisis: Everything I ever liked is now obsolete; ergo, I am now obsolete

Ergo, crisis that just so happens to take place mid-life.

(Let’s just forget the fact that everyone’s pH levels are different, and that this can affect lipstick’s ultimate color appearance... because I can’t even think about the possibility that my entire body chemistry has suddenly turned against me, or else I’ll have a serious, real mid-life crisis instead of just a silly little blogged one.)

I’ll get over it, of course. But first, I have to use that coupon from Beauty.com. 

Oh, shut up. 

Yes indeed. Welcome to me.


  1. Have a great birthday! I don't know why, but I kind of thought when I hit 40 I would finally be able to stop aging. (I mean, that's plenty old, right?) But no!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday Stephanie.