Tag Archives: red lipstick

Ms. Mantissa and the Russian Red

After reading the Man-Shopper’s musings on red lipstick, I decided to give Red Hot a try on a night out.  It was something of a last-minute impulse as I was heading out the door, so I unfortunately didn’t have time to change my clothes in accordance with the “Parisian queenbitch-vixen” look.  In fact, I was probably pretty far from the parisienne as depicted in her Ms. Russian Red post.  Imagine:

  • No swooshed fringe.  Probably some flyaways.
  • No cigarette.
  • By-no-means-skinny jeans (blue, not black)
  • Legs with flesh on them
  • Fitted black top (if I’ve got shape, why hide it behind a shapeless tunic?).
  • Rockin’ brown heels.

However, I did have the following:

  • Non-smiling red pucker
  • No cleavage showing

Did I have the right attitude?

  • I’m not half-starved.
  • I wasn’t wearing a kick-ass matching lingerie set.  I don’t even own one.  In fact, I think I was in desperate need of doing laundry and was on my last pair of knickers (and no, I won’t tell you what pattern is on them).
  • But hey — I still OWN the sidewalk.

Regardless, the Man-Shopper’s theory is that the red lipstick defines the queenbitch-vixen image, thus mesmerizing the men and empowering the pouter.  If this theory is true, it shouldn’t matter what the rest of me looks like–the color of my lips should bamboozle the senses and render men powerless against me!

So what happened after walking into the club with the reddest lips in town?  Firstly, I had to wait in line to get to the actual dancing.  Behind men.  Who turned around and saw me and were in no way hypnotized by my crimson kisser.  I was willing to attribute this to the dim lighting of the foyer, which made all colors indistinguishable.

Once we were on the dance floor, I made absolutely sure not to smile in order to maximize the effect of the pouty red lip, eliciting multiple comments from my friends about my serious dancing face.  But in the interests of science, I merely shrugged and tried to channel my inner Parisian vixen.

As the night progressed, some of my girlfriends began pairing off with strange men.  They did not have red lipstick.  No man so much as looked twice at me or my lips.  One guy did invade my dance space a couple times, but that could have been because he was too busy making out with some blonde chick to pay attention to where he was dancing.

At this point, my friends abandoned their new men-friends, and we removed ourselves to the rooftop bar to rest and cool down.  I was starting to get very frustrated.  Why wasn’t the red lip working?  Had the Man-Shopper failed me?

But wait!  Were those three men sneaking glances at us?  Lo and behold, one of them sidled on over to us!

Unfortunately, he was drunker than pink elephants on parade.  The conversation started something like this:

Him : “D’you wanna hear a story?”

Friends : <shrug>

Me : “That depends.  Is it a good story?”

Him : Silence.  “I dunno.  It’s all, well….subjective.”

Me : “If you don’t think it’s a good story, how are we supposed to think it’s a good story?”

Him : “It’s, uh, subjective.  Y’know, an opinion.”

I was about to add that I was asking for his opinion on his story, but he interrupted and began telling the story anyway.  He had just gotten a new bike with the clip-in pedals and was biking down U Street when all of a sudden, he had to stop at an intersection.  So he braked, and since his feet were clipped in to his pedals, he fell over.  And of course it was necessary to mime this fall as a cheap way of initiating physical contact with my (non-lipsticked) friend.

That was it.  It was not a good story.  AND, he showed no sign of being bedazzled by the red lip.  Neither did his friends when they sauntered over.  They were much more interested in the lovely ladies next to me, who at least had the good manners to put on fake smiles.  If I wasn’t shooting full-fledged glares, there were certainly some withering looks sent their way.  Thankfully, we left pretty soon after that encounter, and I was able nurse my erstwhile red lips’ wounded pride at home, curled up in bed with my hot water bottle.

So the final score for the night:

Red lipstick: 0 men

No lipstick: ≥ 4 men

What does that say about the power of red lipstick?  There are a number of possible conclusions:

  1. The Man-Shopper’s red lipstick theory is false, and you need the rest of the Parisian bitch-vixen look for red lipstick to be effective.
  2. Red lipstick only enchants Parisian men and not American men.
  3. These men are outliers.  Not enough data.
  4. There is something wrong with me.  I am repulsive to all men.
  5. Some option not yet considered.

Given these options, I’m inclined to go with option 3.  If anyone else has any red lipstick data — in Paris or otherwise — I urge you to share your results.  In the meantime, I fully intend to do more research.

Reporting from the American East Coast,

Ms. Mantissa

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Ms. Russian Red

This morning it occurred to me that my previous post about lingerie in Paris came just a tad too early to be considered a proper Valentine’s Day post, no matter how appropriate the subject matter.  And it probably wouldn’t be good form for a man-shopper to keep silent on V-day.  So in honor of this red, pink, white and chocolate Hallmark holiday, I will regale you some of my thoughts about…

… RED LIPSTICK.

Right.  So I do realize that many of the lads have mentally checked out by now — as if I’d said that I was going to discuss the finer points of the women’s shoe industry.  But that’s fine.  You boys probably had way too much fun with the lingerie blogpost pictures anyway.

So, for those of you who are still interested, here’s my skinny on the skinny bitches in Paris and their red lipstick…

Parisian women LOVE red lipstick.

No reason why they shouldn’t.

THEY ROCK IT.

They rock it so hard that reality ripples around them as they walk.  Red lipstick parts the sea of men as if it were Moses’ staff itself.  It’s uncanny.  And it is beautiful to behold.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Stick-thin parisienne.  Always in black.  Loose, often unflattering clothing.  (Olivier over at Stuff Parisians Like has a theory that it’s because they are terrified of being perceived as slutty… I tend to agree.)

But regardless of the season and of the time of day, you will always see a significant number of women sporting a red, red, pouty lip.  The ensemble is mysteriously elegant.  And they walk the street as if it were their runway.

I believe a few key factors enable the red-lipped parisienne to pull this off with such confidence and panache:

  • In the spirit of runway modelling, she is probably half-starved anyway.
  • She is likely wearing some kickass matching lingerie set (see previous posts about lingerie).
  • Like many parisiennes, she is a queen bitch.  She knows it, she doesn’t care, and she owns the sidewalk, dammit.

My newest — albeit completely unfounded — theory is that the determining factor is the red lipstick.  Sure, with the above three factors alone in play, the parisienne has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi about her.  But in my opinion, the red lip catapults her from the confident elegance of a slightly snobby parisian lady to confident elegance of parisian queenbitch-vixen.

And we love it.

By “we,” I refer to both men and women.  Men seem to be mesmerized.  And we women love the way that it makes us feel when we wield so much power with just a smattering of rouge.

But with such great power comes great responsibility.

When a lady wears red lipstick in Paris, she must comport herself accordingly:

  • She must always pout and pucker in order to show off the red lip and cultivate the bitch-vixen persona at all times.
  • She must avoid grinning like an idiot or even smiling with teeth.  The red lip is more powerful when it’s uninterrupted with teeth.  Besides, seeming warm and friendly ultimately undermines the bitch-vixen image.
  • Since she must limit the range of movement in the bottom half of her face, all meaningful communication must be achieved with her eyes.  Seduction.  Mirth.  And especially… repulsion and distaste.  Glare, bitch.  GLARE.
  • A true parisian bitch-vixen does not sweat and above all, does not look unkempt, so a perfectly crisp red lip must remain perfect at all times.  Therefore, she must limit eating, drinking, and smooching.  (I suspect that this is one of the reasons why parisiennes are rarely seen eating or drinking in public.  It’s also probably one of the reasons why they are often accused of being frigid.)
  • On the other hand, smoking is permitted because it actually enhances the bitch-vixen image.  And it suppresses the appetite, which feeds into this cycle of self-deprivation.

That being said, I am not against red lipstick.

On the contrary, I love it!  (I’ll admit that I’m just not too keen on many parisian bitches.)

Even though, on me, the effect is a little reminiscent of a geisha, the red lip is saucy and sassy.  I really do feel like a vixen with Russian Red on my kisser.

So, no matter where you are, dear lady readers, I personally recommend that you follow the example of the red-lipped parisienne and find yourself that ideal shade of red.  Not just for Valentine’s Day, but for life.  For you!

Find a little bit of that incorrigible parisian bitch-vixen inside you and let her loose on the general population.  Go on, see what happens!

As long as you’re not actually frigid, withholding and starving, I firmly believe that the red lip is a GOOD thing.

Just don’t forget to remove it before making out with anything.

(When it’s not on my lips, Russian Red can be a messy business.)

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers.

You love me, and you know it.

Side note: I found my red lip right here in Paris thanks to Claire Sulmers, fashionista, fashion blogger of The Fashion Bomb fame, and my dear friend.  (She posted pictures from our MAC adventure here.)

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Mssrs. Metro Casanova

I know that I was supposed to go speed-dating à la française this week, but my schedule got a little hectic.  So today’s post is a tribute to the men who think that the Paris metro is the perfect to place to romance a lady — the men who then proceed to fuck it up.

Metro Casanova #1

  • He tried to lick me. (I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.)  I managed to dodge his tongue, but lord, it was an unsettling sight to see a grown man try to lick my face.

Metro Casanova #2

  • He came up behind me on the platform, put his head on my shoulder, and smelled my neck with a deep intake of breath.  When I whipped around — guard up and ready to deliver a quick right jab to his nose — he said “I really like your shoes.”  Ick-tastic.

Metro Casanova #3

  • This guy is actually one of many.  It’s one thing when everyone is jostling each other during rush hour — when everyone is packed in the car like sardines.  However, the car was almost empty the other day, but this winner decided that this was a great time to come up behind me and attempt to dry hump me.  Awesome.

Metro Casanova #4

  • This was actually the second time that someone has said this to me in the past few weeks.  He tapped me on the shoulder and whispered in my ear, “You look like a geisha.”  Seriously, what did he expect to happen then?  “Oh, let me pour your tea now, sir?”  Hells no.  I blame my red lipstick for this particular pick-up.

Metro Casanova #5

  • Strangest pick-up line of the week: “Oh, you’re Vietnamese?  My knife collection is Japanese.”  Creepy?  Or just a very enthusiastic chef?  Uncertain.

To sum up, these past couple of weeks on the Paris metro have been pretty eventful.

My favorite green coat!

Perhaps I shouldn’t wear a bright green coat or red lipstick.

Fuck it.  I refuse to look drab just because a few weirdos get all up in my business.

That coat is a show-stopper (it gives me a Marilyn Monroe hourglass figure!), and I love rockin’ the Russian Red lip when I feel saucy.

So go ahead, creeps, lick me.  Just don’t smudge my lipstick.

Nexity-next-next!

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