It’s about time we talked about lip gloss.
Cosmetic fads tend to kind of fly under my radar most of the time, since I’m hardly in the market; the only cosmetics I wear are other women’s lipstick on my collarbone. (Those who know me well can vouch that that is a purely theoretical statement.) And I’m selectively uninformed about it; I lump lip gloss together with all other lip-related makeup, up to and including Carmex and self-induced collagen implants, one step of personal knowledge somewhere between color coordinating shoes with purses and The Gilmore Girls.
Thankfully, due to my crack research team of me looking up stuff on the Wikipedia thirty seconds before starting to write anything, I know a little bit about what the lip gloss thing is all about. Namely, It’s yet one more thing caged rabbits have sacrificed their eyes for to make certain parts of our face slightly shinier.
Lip gloss, ostensibly, is used to put a brilliant sheen on your lips, not unlike lipstick or about a hundred other products. Of course, lip gloss is quick and easy to apply and, most importantly, also is available with glitter, metallic, and frosted accents for those times when you want to look like a 13-year-old girl with identity issues or perhaps a seductress combing the world for a mark who is attracted to making out with a girl whose lips remind them of a microwave oven.
Of course, I’m probably missing the point, mostly because I don’t care too terribly much for cosmetics. I think most women are beautiful enough as they are and don’t need artificial methods of enhancing their attractiveness. Then again, I also believe in a gold standard and Quentin Tarantino movies, so perhaps my judgment should be viewed with a rather large grain of salt.
But, still, it seems that lip gloss has benefited from a rather remarkable marketing campaign. Lip gloss is sold as an alternative to a lot of different cosmetics, when really it’s just toned down lipstick without all the fussing about with colors or materials. While plenty of women in their twenties and thirties wear it, many of the new lip gloss innovations seen to gear their pitch to younger, preteen girls, with their aforementioned accents and flavored varieties. (It tastes like money, I presume.) Some are even sold as health supplements, used (I guess) to heal the burning, inalienable feeling that somewhere in Southeast Asia a poverty-stricken child has pale lips.
Of course, lip gloss is highly popular with young women, personified in the lamentable movie Bratz, a serene attempt to somehow convert all of the negative stereotypes of materialistic (yet strangely and eerily diverse) youth propagated by the popular doll set into a family-friendly motion picture, the moral of which, like all women-coming-of-age stories, I guess has to be “Be yourself, assuming that yourself includes lip plumper, tight pastel T-shirts with glitter writing on it, and greenish highlights to piss off your grandmother who in about six years will unbeknownst to you give you the money you will take to college supposedly to buy books and Yaffa blocks with but you will use it to buy your first brick of hash with instead.” The movie, which I will proudly admit I have not seen, apparently is the first movie to have more screen time devoted to the application of lip gloss than actual dialogue, kind of a Pax-TV-version ratio worthy of comparison with Goodfellas. Of course, a movie such as Bratz whose depth is such that falling into it would have a scarce chance of inducing vertigo, less dialogue and more lip gloss is probably a positive development.
The virtues of lip gloss is not lost on the entertainment industry, who view the preteen market as a lucrative demographic as yet to be tapped, at least once you factor out Hannah Montana tickets, ponies, pink cell phones, and (I assume) posters of Corey Haim. (Hey, you’ll have to forgive me if my frame of reference for young teenage girls stopped around 1989. I’ve been busy.) Two—count ‘em—two songs have been released entitled Lip Gloss, one way back in 1993 when I’m pretty sure lip gloss was simply a twinkle in a 3M engineer’s eye. Of course, that song is by a British alternative rock band and whose lyrics appear to be largely symbolic of things that are definitely more related to the back rooms of Glasgow pubs instead of pre-teen-girls. (Actually, I doubt this is true. I’m just saying it because, as with all British media I come into contact with, I assume every word is cockney rhyming slang for some unearthly depraved sexual act.) The other is by Lil’ Mama, the lyrics of which appear to have little to do with cosmetics and a lot to do with repetition. At least it’s good to know that, black or white, rich or poor, Britpop or hip-hop, we all have one thing in common, and that’s lip gloss. Unless you’re male, then, well, no. We have Corey Haim.