It’s spring. Thank goodness.
Last week one day, I put on a lipstick I hadn’t visited with in a while. Pow. A L’Oreal cheapy that’s muted rose with gold. It’s really nice. I have fairly pigmented lips which cause many colours to pull towards magenta. Which is not a good look. I’m not high maintenance, particularly right now as I continue to wear masks, so I’m not going to be lining and filling in anyway. Thus, when I do wear lipstick it is easy on and go. But I digress.
The cheapy L’Oreal has that ubiquitous makeup smell you don’t get in most higher-end lippies. I pulled out the one Chanel lippy I have for comparison. Nope, not even close. Anyway, for me, that cheapy L’Oreal is the smell of the interior of my mother’s one true handbag.
She had one bag for decades: a big beige Coach shoulder bag that was heavy as a house and contained much of the world. I think it was a big decision when she bought it because It.Was.Not.Cheap. Maybe $100 back in the mid-70s? I looked on the Coach site and they don’t make it anymore. Unsurprising.
I looked on the net for the style and found, on Etsy, something that I think is right: a Coach Rambler Legacy? If the company still made the style I wonder what it might go for…
Anyway, this big old thing had no interior dividers, maybe one or two pockets, wasn’t lined, and my mother tended to throw whatever into it (big 1970s wallet, makeup bag [we’ll get back to that], glasses with cases [multiples], hair brush, drugs of varying sorts, keys, and a huge amount of vague detritus.
So, the connection between my cheapy lipstick and the bag? My mother wasn’t big on makeup but she wore lipstick every day all the time. It was her signature and her thing. She wasn’t interested in high end. She bought multiples of low-end stuff, all brights – pinks and reds. As noted, she had a tendency to toss stuff into the capacious bag and she didn’t usually put her lipsticks back into the makeup bag. As they were cheap, they sometimes uncapped themselves and smeared all over the interior at the bottom.
Thus, the bag smelled of old-style lipstick.
Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose to the max with a hint of leather (less as the years went along and the bag’s leather smell receded).
I can’t tell you what a womp it was to open that lippy last week. Like being sucked back by the late 1970s, her asking me to get something out of her bag, opening the thing up and staring into the maw. One hand dipped in to extract whatever she’d asked for coming back with pink fingertips.
If my mother were still with us, she’d turn 97 this year. I expect if she were in reasonable shape she’d still be wearing those cheap bright lipsticks. And maybe even still be carrying that Coach bag.
Sigh. Sometimes memories really sock it to us.