It arrived via USPS in a brown box. Inside was a small plastic jar with a black lid. The label read, “hope in a jar.” I had been having kind of a rough day. How did it know exactly what I needed?
Actually, it’s my friend Nerissa who knew: She’s a style writer for the San Jose Mercury News, which means she writes glossy stuff on newsprint, which pretty much describes Nerissa: glamorous but down-to-earth. She’d sent me and Jamie a handful of products to test, as well as a few just-for-fun freebies.
Yes, I’m going to be one of those quotes you read in girly mags: “This lipstick tastes like bubblegum, and now my boyfriend can’t stop kissing me!” It will be a little challenging, because I’m pretty low-maintenance as far as beauty products go, and I don’t always follow instructions. I don’t repeat after lathering and rinsing, and I’ve been known to put lip gloss on my eyelids.
I’m kind of tempted to get all subversive in my comments: “This lipstick rubbed off the minute I went down on a girl.” Although I think the most subversive act would be to admit that most beauty products don’t make a significant difference, or at least they can’t do anything more than face wash, Chapstick and a little Wet ‘N’ Wild mascara can do.
I believe that beauty magazines write to a pretend reader—a single-but-dating urban girl who’s climbing the corporate ladder and frequently needs to find the perfect outfit that will take her from her fast-paced workplace to a downtown cocktail party. I (and, I suspect, many of the real readers) wear jeans to work and jeans to Starbucks and jeans to the cattery and, if I did get invited to a cocktail party, I would wear jeans there too. But we read InStyle and Elle and Glamour because we like to pretend, for a little while, that we are seriously contemplating buying a $115 camisole.
So what if I were to not play along? What if I said that I have no place to wear my sparkly lipstick, that it’s too expensive, that while it may fill me with hope, that that hope is not fulfilled?
But I probably won’t. I will be as honest as possible, but I am no adbuster. I’m a girl helping out a friend, and being helped by a friend. Whenever I’m up north—usually grubby from a plane ride and a long day of work—Nerissa and I get cocktails and have a great time, shiny skin and all. We’re subversive like that.