Dry Lips

Today as I was leaving my ESL student’s apartment (he’s a middle-schooler, Korean), his mom was busy unwrapping something – lip gloss, it turned out. She tested it on her hand and showed me, “Very pretty color!” She doesn’t speak a lot of English, but she gets her point across. I agreed it was pretty. She went on to tell me that my lips are very dry, and she thinks that if I use this lip gloss they will benefit greatly, especially since, she managed to convey, I wear no makeup. I did my best to just give in and accept the gift as graciously as possible, thanking her politely for taking care of me. It’s not as if I didn’t get used to my persona of schlumpy foreigner needing improvement when I lived in Japan.

True story from The Total Femme’s young womanhood: One morning back in the day when I lived in Tokyo (the day for me is the mid-1980s in case you were wondering) I was making my way happily to the subway, feeling pert and looking quite fine, with my purple mini-skirt, tights, funky blouse, and ankle boots, when I heard someone running hard behind me. Someone late for a train, I thought, but no, a young woman stopped right beside me, panting so hard she could hardly get out the words, “Sukato, sukato, ano, sukato!” Mystified, I reached down, and lo and behold, the entire back of my skirt was completely tucked into my tights. Not the look I’d gone for! I thanked her and went on my way. I laughed, actually. What else is there to do?

At other times in Japan, solicitous fingers on a crowded subway tucked in errant tags which had crept out of my shirts and sweaters, and many people gave me elegant garb and accoutrements, including an utterly gorgeous kimono, in the hopes of making me just that little bit more elegant.

Alas, it never works. I always have good intentions to step up my look, (and I actually do my best to moisturize my lips, but obviously it’s not up to snuff), but basically, I’m just not very good at it and plus, it bores me and I end up reverting to type: comfy and schlumpy. I blame my mother, really, who taught me it was completely acceptable to remove my brassiere and change into some sweat pants the moment you close the door to your house behind you, and, in fact, if you can find clothes that feel that unrestrictive to go about your public business in, so much the better. It is a sadness to me that everything that lifts and slims and makes you look all glamorous is so damn uncomfortable and takes so much time to deal with. Bras, tight clothes, high heels, make up…. Bah!

My student’s mom, bless her, has so far gifted me with such a gorgeous scarf that I hardly dare wear it (especially with my incredibly comfortable coat – the only coat I ever want to wear – which is about to come apart at the seams) and with an undoubtedly expensive and exclusive super-duper combo pack of lotions and unguents (lime/ginger flavor) that makes me sneeze just to look at it. Now the lip gloss. Despite the evidence, she is determined to glamorize me.

Perhaps there actually is hope for me, though. Recently, I began a FOOT REGIME after getting one too many grumbles from my Beau about the condition of my feet. I purchased a rasp, special foot soap, and some incredibly yummy foot cream (scented gently with cardamom). What a success! Now my feet are very softy. And the next time I go to my student’s apartment, I suspect my lips will be very glossy.

Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 11:27 PM  Leave a Comment  

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