The History Of Lipstick, Chapter One
I wore lipstick on Easter Sunday, 1963. I was twelve.
In 1963, twelve was young for lipstick. None of my classmates were allowed. Only the grown-up girls. The eighth graders.
But that was the point. I had older sisters. I needed to be a teenager long before I was one.
This was Jackie Kennedy’s shade, or so I had read.
I bought it at McClelland’s Five and Ten for 39 cents. My first makeup purchase.
The makeup aisle at McClelland’s did not have all the makeup hanging from hooks, like stores today. Instead were long tables, with cubes holding the different products and brands: Maybelline, Cutex, Helen Rubenstein.
From the time I was nine, I had visited that table weekly, transfixed. How I coveted all those little tubes and compacts. I waited for the day when I could spend my allowance here, rather than at the candy counter.
I didn’t buy Pink Cameo on the sly. I had my mother’s permission. My mother was, and still is, wise. She knew I was heartbroken that my sisters were teenagers. And lipstick was a small consolation.
My mother didn’t worry. I looked like this:
Sort of a vacuous Anne Frank, with stupider hair. Pink Cameo wouldn’t make the older boys start hanging around my front yard.
And so I wore lipstick on Easter Sunday, 1963. I sang in the church choir. “Alleluia” – a skinny flat-chested daydreamer with bright pink lips.
Ten months later I turned into a teenager. The Beatles sang on the Ed Sullivan Show on my thirteenth birthday.
I still love The Beatles. I still love lipstick.