I’m not hugely into make up and beauty products, but I do like lipstick. A lot. I have an entire make up bag dedicated to it, in a variety of hues, from electric blue to matte red. At the risk of sounding ridiculously ’fashion’ I’ve always felt that an outfit is never really complete without lipstick. Given that I live my day to day life in a grunger uniform of black, I’d also look half dead without it. It’s perhaps why I’ve always taken the term lipstick feminist as a compliment, regardless of the speaker’s intentions.

However, as any avid wearer will know, it’s not exactly a low maintenance habit. Constant re-application in iPhone screens, bus windows or any reflective surface (as it’s clearly too much effort to carry a compact mirror), with six or so tubes rattling around in your bag as you’re never quite sure which shade you’re going to fancy, all whilst leaving a colourful trail behind you. On cups, glasses, cigarettes, food (I once read an article about the dangers of wearing lipstick daily, and how the sheer amount your body consumes over a lifetime will eventually poison you…great) and of course, people’s faces. Or, in my case, boy’s faces.

 Illustration by Big Kidult

Now, yes, I have heard of Lipcote. But the product is tested to its limit somewhat when you’re wasted, haven’t thought about blotting that squinty touch up and are vigorously snogging someone who you aren’t on first name terms with in the Dolphin at 3am.  Lipstick and discretion don’t go hand in hand unfortunately. I don’t care to recall the amount of disappearances I have tried to play down on a night out, only to be caught out by the fact I have Ruby Woo everywhere other than my lips upon my return. It’s somewhat of a joke between my best friends, and it’s a tradition I seem to have religiously upheld since university. But hey, it’s in the heat of the moment right? And everyone’s drunk, and no-one cares. Apparently not.

I remember one hot and heavy taxi ride home where, stopping at a traffic light, I was told by my companion who recoiled in disgust, “You know you look like the Joker right now?” Urm, right back at you pal. Coming out of a club at 6am, it’s safe to say that nobody resembles the person they were when they walked in at 10pm. Kissing one particular gentleman on another occasion (after several others I might add) we made our way to the exit, planning a romantic escapade to McDonalds. Stumbling into the early morning light, he let go of my hand and proclaimed, “Errr, your face is COVERED in lipstick. I was going to go home with you, but definitely not now.” Typing those words now I have to try and not laugh, but that is a 100% genuine quote. I didn’t even get a chance to say his face was just as bad, if not worse than mine, but that’s karma for you babes.

Drink + lipstick = disaster, regardless of whether or not boys are involved. I never need to tell anyone I’m pissed – the dark purple smudge creeping up to my ear lobe does it for me.  The funny thing is that it screams sex, despite being considered thoroughly unsexy. Whether I’ve been getting off with a boy or a bottle of WKD, I’m too busy enjoying myself to be worried about what I look like. I manage to get it on pretty much everything; my friend’s faces, my clothes, my bedsheets and even on my nuggets at the end of the night. Class with a capital C.  However, it seems this pure-trash-hot- mess look has crawled its way up from the depths of the night, into the spotlight recently. The hashtag #smearforsmear was set up as part of social media campaign from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to raise awareness about the risks of women missing their smear tests. The easiest way to prevent this kind of cancer, it’s an incredibly worthy cause that saw the likes of Georgia Jagger, Rita Ora and Cara Delevingne sharing their less than perfect lips with the world at the end of last month. Nothing is sexier than safe sex – I’ll make sure to tell the next boy I kiss that.

Taken from Issue Two of Sister, The Sex Issue.


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