Monday, September 22, 2008

A Lady Always Wears Lipstick

This weekend I was privileged to be part of a small group of riders heading to some New England peaks that have been on my wish list this season. (see post for more information about the highest peaks in New England.) The two peaks that Jade and I climbed were Ludlow Mt (Okemo) (VT) 3343 ft, and Ascutney (VT) 3150 ft. However, I will blog about these two peaks in a subsequent post.

We met our small group at the arranged start point early enough to have a few moments of chit-chat before departing. Much to my surprise and pleasure, there was another woman rider taking part in the adventure. We have not seen each other much this season due to one thing or another and we passed the time as riders do, checking out our rides, and talking about the season. She paused in her dialog to say “that shade of lipstick looks good on you.” or something to that effect. I was lost for words! My silly reply was something like “oh, I haven’t chewed it off yet?”

Why was I so taken aback by the observation about my lipstick? I’m not sure but with that statement my mind went instantly to a moment long since lost in the mire of time. I am a young girl standing beside my mother as she brushes her hair. My head barely reaches her bent elbow. We both stand in front of the bedroom mirror. She finishes with the hair, and proceeds to apply lipstick. “I thought you were just going to the corner store?” I asked puzzled. “Why are you putting on lipstick?” “A lady always wears lipstick when she goes out in public.” She said to me. “It doesn’t matter if she is just going the corner store, she should always look presentable.” she added further.

I never forgot the comment about looking presentable even if going to the corner store, and since the age of sixteen when permitted to wear lipstick; I have faithfully applied it before leaving the house in the morning. It may not last the day, and I never reapply, but still, I have a sense of self respect at wearing my lipstick out the door.

When I began riding, my lips suffered the torture of becoming dry and cracked. Wind therapy may be good for the soul, but its murder on tender exposed flesh. I remembered that Mother sometimes had a blister on her lip. She successfully found a line of medicated lipstick she could wear. It served a dual purpose of maintaining her dignity as a lady and offering medical attention. I too needed a good option, and discovered a line of moisturizing lipstick that took care of my own dignity and served to keep my lips from getting chapped on the bike. Is it strange to see a person dressed in textile riding gear wearing lipstick? I didn’t think so. In my mind the moisture-wear lipstick is as essential to my riding as the elbow pads and kneepads in my jacket and pants.

With the lipstick comment I find myself re-examining how others see me. Do they also question the mascara I wear while riding? This option has little to do with vanity as one might expect. Last season, after suffering a scratch cornea from debris under the contact lens, I found the perfect mascara for riding. It doesn’t flake or run, but has just the right consistency to allow dust to stick, and keep it from my eyes.

Mascara isn’t the only practical application for makeup that I use while riding. After watching the flesh on the backs of my hands dry and pucker from too much sun exposure I wondered what could possibly be happening to my face? I have since purchased a decent pair of summer riding gloves. However, no amount of lotion seems to help restore the now damaged flesh of my hands. That is not something I want for my face.

With the thought of leather for skin, I found a great facial moisturizer with SPF protection. Now before leaving the house I apply the SPF facial cream to protect against the wind and sun, mascara to keep the dust from getting under the contact lenses, and moisture-wear lipstick to take care of the lips. What about the blush you say? Oh? Well, maybe there is a wee bit of vanity happening after all.

1 comment:

fasthair said...

Ms. Pat: You women gat all the good stuff. I can only imagine what people would say if I should up for a ride with lipstick and mascara on :) Plus you can wear panty hose which I hear from fellow female riders are great at helping keep you warm.

I have to make due with Chapstick, a face shield and long johns.