Southern Thing Column

Could this be the end of lipstick, y’all?

Below is an excerpt from a column that appeared on Click here to read the column in its entirety.

I think women could be divided into two age categories – those who have ever worn a slip and pantyhose and those who have not. I’m in the former. What that means is, I was born in Georgia during a time when women were expected to wear dresses or skirts for church, Easter dinner, funerals, work, parties … any event where we needed to appear suitable and respectable. And if our dresses or skirts were even the teensiest bit sheer, we’d better have a slip and pantyhose on. I would never have thought to do otherwise.

But now I am 55 and I haven’t worn a dress, much less a slip, in at least a decade. (Do they still sell them?)

As the world grew more casual – to the point where people began wearing pajamas to the store, God love ’em – I quickly and gladly said “toodles” to my dresses and became a capri-pants-wearing middle-aged woman. Girdles and control-top pantyhose, even Spanx, can kiss my grits. Memories of the many ways we women tortured ourselves in the name of making ourselves attractive are beginning to fade. But one thing I haven’t been able to do is give up my makeup, lipstick in particular.

I have memories of riding in the car with my mother and she would ask me to search through her voluminous handbag and find her lipstick so she wouldn’t have to do it while driving. (Sometimes it took a while; that thing was as bottomless as Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Or my stomach, during COVID.) Mom was continually touching up her lipstick. Soon, I was doing the same. We never went out without it. Some women say they feel nekkid without lipstick but I would describe it as feeling kinda vulnerable, like you forgot to wear your sweater in wintertime and you know your mother’s going to jerk you bald.

I can’t recall the last time I was in public without lipstick …until recently.

In the time of COVID-19, lipstick is about as useful as brakes on a mule. If we were to look, I bet most women my age would have lipstick stains inside their masks because we forgot to leave it off before going out. To read the column in its entirety on, click here.

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