I was going to keep quiet about St Anthony finding lipstick…
Isn’t it Shakespeare’s King Lear who declares; ‘vanity thy name be woman’? Well the mad King Lear summed me up; I’m a woman and vain. I’m all for the simple Snow White look; powder-white pale skin with red lipstick and a dark sweeps of hair. But Snow White wore the same dress every day. And I found myself wanting a specific type of lipstick that would coordinate with burgundy/reddish-purple suede skirts and wool sweaters. But finding the right shade that’s not too pink and not too red is so trying that it could turn you into a loony. It involves doing the rounds of the make-up counters in lit-up by million-watt bulbs department stores and chemists. Then one must meet over-anxious sales people who always have imploring, never-blinking eyes that implore you to buy, buy, buy! Then one must inspect tray after tray of gooey neon pink and yellow lipstick, smear it one your fingers until your hand looks tie-died, but you must say something nice about the lipstick.
And usually you come to the conclusion that shade ‘priggish plum’ and ‘putrid peach’ is not for you. Then there’s shopping-for-lipstick blindness: you see so many shades that they all look the same brown-red-violet mélange. Then there’s the task of telling the saleswoman that you won’t purchase ‘cremated cherry’ because it will clash with your wardrobe of clothes. The saleslady will bite her pink-frosted lips, hold back silver tears, sigh and say that she could’ve talked to other customers who would’ve bought ‘mulberry mishap’ and that she wasted thirty minutes convincing you of the joys of ‘juicy lemon’ because ‘yellow is the new lipstick for 2012.’
Trust me, buying the right shade of lipstick is such an ordeal; that it could be the new test for psychic powers; if someone who reports to be clairvoyant can automatically pick the correct shade of lipstick for a person, then they must have supernatural strengths. But I don’t believe in psychics or employ them, even if it means that picking the right colour lipstick would be made easier. And I didn’t want to waste hours traipsing round shops to find the exact shade of wine-pink lipstick. So a few weeks ago, in deepest, darkest December, I threw my hands up in the air, said that I wouldn’t waste time and money and sanity in looking for a very specific shade of lipstick that I had in mind. And I said to St Anthony, ‘you must be sick of me by now, but if there’s any way that I can find that lipstick, or if the lipstick would just appear?’ The last part seemed a bit fantastical, even to me.
Again, I never said a word about my desire for a type of dark puce lipstick; really I can’t bore my friends with make-up monotony. But I was given a present of a little jacket with pockets and the first day that I wore it, I found that one pocket had a strange ‘lump’ in it. I pulled out a blue lipstick case.
I opened it to find that it was the exact hue that I had asked St Anthony to find. Thinking that I was kidding myself, I held the lipstick up to the light, tried it on and pronounced that it was the one that I had asked St Anthony to find. I thought that I would keep the matter to myself; it's of too much a fashion-fanatic theme to share with the readers. But it does demonstrate that we might be surprised if we ask for little things.