I cannot understate the way lipstick was an ongoing theme in the relationship between my Mother and myself, much like sports would be an ongoing theme between a Father and son.
At the very least, this subject gave Mother and me something to pleasantly bicker over.
In my young life, I never knew my Mother to wear any lipstick other than Revlon’s salmon ice. It was her signature.
Several decades ago, when Revlon announced that they would be discontinuing that colour she immediately bought three cases.
That’s forty-eight tubes of lipstick.
There could have been more, but that’s all she would admit too.
After that, her next shade of preference became 24 carat orange, also from Revlon.
Lipstick was her constant companion. A tube would never be more than an arms length from her side. She applied it every half hour, whether she needed it or not.
Further, Mother made it her self appointed life long quest to convert me from my usual red lipstick to her 24 carat orange.
“No dice…” I told her.
The harder she tried, the more adamant I became.
“Just try it on to see how it looks,” she kept insisting, as she held her lipstick out for me to take.
Occasionally, I’d have to give in when I thought I saw tears about to well up in her eyes, but that didn’t happen often…
Then came the day that I was walking to the punch clock at the end of my shift. Some of my friends and coworkers were already there waiting to punch out and go home.
“That’s a really nice top you’ve got on,” Miss P. Said to me as I walked by her.
“Did your Mother give you that?”
“Yes,” I told her.
Miss P. Instinctively knew whenever I was wearing one of Mother’s tops. Probably because that was the only time I didn’t come to work wearing t-shirts.
It was then that she said to me:
“I really like that colour on you…what would you call that, salmon?”
There was an unavoidable truth in that statement.
Looking down at my shirt, I realized that Miss P. was right.
I was indeed wearing salmon orange.
All at once, oxygen escaped me as momentarily I found myself unable to breathe.
I must admit…
I never saw that one coming.
Mother wins again.