This is a cautionary tale, so please listen up. In the summer of 2017, I became aware of the latest beauty trend: matching your lipstick shade to your nipple. At the mere thought, my nipples inverted themselves.
I’ve heard of women running to Sephora for the latest nostril shimmer powder in order to fully achieve the Manic Pixie Dream Girl look, but this? This seemed overly personal and invasive.
Was I being too closed-minded? Perhaps I’m a fuddy-duddy. After all, I’m consistently two years behind trends, at minimum. I’m also extremely wary of disrupting my artfully-timed morning routine: in just thirty minutes, I transform from Angry Eye Bag Lady to Slightly Less Angry Lady with Concealer. Coffee helps.
I had, however, been on the hunt for something a pinch more sophisticated to up-level my lip game since Burt’s Bees lip balm has yet to accomplish a “come hither” situation with the local butcher. How many times must I order “a tender breast” before they take the hint? I keep unwrapping butcher paper, expecting to find their phone number etched alongside a message, something along the lines of “Let’s tenderize some meat together.” Alas, nothing!
Perhaps adding “nip-stick” to my routine is worth a try.
I embarked on what I’ll call Mission Pucker, and I fully apologize for everything you’re about to read.
Mission Pucker, Stage 1: Initial research must be conducted in absolute secrecy, so I lock myself in the bathroom and release some fake groaning sounds in the hopes that my housefellows would assume I have constipation and leave me to the deed at hand – my nipple, which is literally in my hand.
Upon first glance, I must admit that I was udderly unprepared for this. You see, I was born in the United States and this country was founded by Puritans. Inspecting my nipple, I fear the ghost of Puritan minister Samuel Parris will manifest and bellow, “Ye witch with ye treacherous nip!”
The exam is brief and is for SCIENTIFIC PURPOSES ONLY WHICH IS DEFINITELY NOT SINFUL. DO YOU HEAR THAT, PURITAN GHOSTS? NOT SINFUL!
Findings: My nipples require ample moisturizing before conducting further studies. These bits of flesh are an indeterminate combination of colors that I can only describe as “Neglected Apricot” and “Rash-berry.”
Mission Pucker, Stage 2: I am forced to analyze paint swatches available at my neighborhood Sherwin Williams. Apparently, uploading a picture of my nipple to color-matching sites is considered “lewd content” that constitutes a cease and desist letter.
A lovely man asks if I need assistance selecting a color, and I am unsure how to broach this most sensitive topic. He asks if I am working on a large or small project, if it’s indoors or outdoors, and if weather-proofing is necessary.
“It’s a small project. Mostly indoors but does require protection from cold weather.” He seemed completely on board until I was forced to describe the colors needed, “Similar to burnt sand? Or maybe a bruised peach? Something that just screams SWOLLEN or CHAFED, or…”
The lovely man leaves me with a wad of swatches. Carpe diem! I corner myself between some wallpaper displays. When optimal privacy is obtained, I untuck a nip and quickly fan the color swatches across myself. OUCH! Shit, these corners are sharp!
Findings: The blood smears contaminated this experiment. Further field research is required. Preliminary results favor colors “Yam” and “Earthen Jug.”
Mission Pucker, Final Stage: I’ve arrived at Sephora fully prepared, having borrowed my cousin’s nursing bra for easy access. But the fluorescent lighting reveals to me an unexpected issue. Upon closer inspection, my nipple is multi-colored. Damn! I was naïve in this mission! I assumed this UFO-abduction-inspiration-lit shop would, at worse, expose a stealthy nipple hair!
This kaleidoscopic nipple of mine is a game changer indeed. I’ve been moisturizing them for weeks too, so I can’t complain away this issue by blaming cold weather and nipple eczema. Does this mean I have to purchase two lipsticks? I didn’t budget for $50 worth of nipple lipstick! What does a gal do when stuck between “Autumn Wind” and “Dusty Mauve” shades?
Side note: These color names are doing absolutely nothing for my self-esteem. How hard is it to bestow an empowering name to these shades? Something like “The Devil Wears Sienna” or “Sepia’s Choice” that channels the majestic appeal that is Meryl Streep?
I am in desperate need of professional help, but as I’m about to ask the Sephora employee if my selections compliment my nipple’s undertone, she scurries away! Then while considering the benefits of matte over gloss-based options, a security guard appears at my rear.
Oh! I am so relieved it’s not a Puritan ghost! Whew!
“Hello, security guard, sir. I think the Sephora lady was confused. You see, I don’t actually need a man’s opinion about this. I need…how can I say? I need the delicate touch of a woman for this.”
The security guard dares to argue with me, “Ma’am, you need to put down the cosmetics and go out with me.”
“Go out with you? Oh, no no no. I am really not interested in dating you. See, there’s this butcher I’ve been trying to flirt with and…”
The security guard takes a slow step toward me, “Ma’am, I am asking you to come with me.”
This individual clearly does not understand consent! “Sir, my visible nipple is not a signal for you to approach me. I said ‘no’ to your date, and I meant what I said.”
Standing there, I realize that my breast is covered with so many lipstick smudges that it resembles a Jackson Pollock painting. No wonder he’s acting like a predator! This is absolutely not an excuse for his behavior, but the deep-seeded misogyny in our societal art and media impacts behavior in ways that some people don’t realize until they are given a bit of education.
And so, I begin my feminist soliloquy.
Mission Pucker, Conclusion: The beauty industry is a sly adversary. I regret getting caught up in the hype of 2017’s nipple lipstick trend, and my reconnaissance into Sephora was prematurely timed. Fortunately, I’ve ample time on my hands to better execute my next mission thanks to my two-year jail sentence for public nuisance, and now two counts of indecent exposure.
Recommendation: Stick to your tried and true routine, for drawing outside the lines is more precarious than I ever imagined.