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Can brown lipstick stop you from getting married?
by Janel Dancy
Beauty Editor

photo by Rita Bowers
Mom says red lipstick is sexier and brown stifles daughter from luring a man

THROUGH THE YEARS, AN ONGOING BATTLE HAS EMERGED BETWEEN MY MOTHER AND I THAT HAS
LEFT OUR HOME TORN APART BY insults. The battle is not over a boyfriend or my choice of friends, but over my choice of lipstick. I am a woman that loves soft, natural colored lipstick. My mother, on the other hand, does not understand colors she cannot readily see. She is a product of the 50s, a time when wearing bright red lipstick was a sign of femininity. She has always pressured me to wear more color, more red.

It all started when I was a teenager. I began experimenting with lipsticks until I settled on browns. Being a low-key person, I chose low-key lipstick. My mother encouraged me to put on some lipstick with more color, ignoring the fact I was wearing brown lipstick.

In the mid-90s, simplicity and neutrals were in style. For me, the trend was a victory against my mother and validation in my choice of lipstick. My mother hated this period because her red lipstick was outdated. Although the styles had changed in my favor, my mother would shake her head wondering how an educated woman could think that brown lipstick was doing anything for a man. She warned that I would never marry if I continued to wear brown lipstick.

At 25, I am unmarried. She said that I wasted away my college years looking drab. "If you had used more color, you would have found a man," she said recently.

Could my lips really be the reason I am unmarried?! Had my lack of engagement finally proved her right? I know that men are visual creatures who go mad for big breast and short skirts. I loved to outlined my lips with a chestnut liner and put on a sheer pink. I swore that this combination brought men to their knees. Was I wrong? EMAIL US YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE SUBJECT. (results will be in the next issue)

Since the dramatic realization that my brown lipstick was keeping me from happiness, I have moved on to pink and burgundy. My mother is happier these days. Still, she laments that I wasted away my "prime years" following silly fashion trends instead of listening to good motherly advice. She said that there is a glamour girl inside of me waiting to emerge with bright red lipstick.

A glamour girl? Maybe. But, I know that bright reds are not for me. When I have my own daughter, I want her to feel her natural beauty is enough and she can have love without red lips. But, as fate would have it, she'll get my mother's gene and want to wear bright colors.

Reproduction of material from any "Beauty Secrets" pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.Copyright © 2000 Rita Bowers.
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