As a social psychologist, I am almost always observing human behavior. Call it an occupational hazard or whatever else you want, but I enjoy watching people and their reactions to everyday experiences. One of the most fun things I enjoy observing is the way men react to women’s lipstick. I, like many women, enjoy wearing lipstick. I am particularly fond of lipstick in bright hues, such as pink and red. Having lived in south Florida for most of my life, I have succumbed to the local, cultural, custom of kissing people I know on the cheek upon greeting them. (For those readers who live in other parts of Florida or the U.S.A., we south Florida residents are a warmer, friendlier bunch of people than anyplace else I have lived! Lots of hugging here too!) Some men, when they realize they have lipstick on their cheek, quickly wipe it off, in an attempt to not have any lasting evidence of the kiss. David, my husband of over 30 years, happens to be one of these type of men. Although he knows it is my lipstick on his cheek, he can’t seem to resist the urge to make it go away at the soonest possible moment. No lasting trace of my love will ever be found on him! In contrast to David and men like him, there are other men who relish the idea of having lipstick on their cheek. The late Buddy Payne was one of these men. When Buddy had a lipstick mark on his cheek, he always asked me not to brush it away. He said he enjoyed it when people pointed out to him that he had a beautiful woman’s lipstick on his cheek because it proved to everyone who saw it that he was a “ladies’ man” who still had it going on well into his 60s and 70s. It is interesting to note that, of all the men I have met over the years, Buddy Payne was the best dressed, most stylish, best coiffed, with the best smelling cologne, most highly polished shoes, and most expensive clothes. (The late Henry Latimer was a close second in these categories.) In addition, Buddy was a true Southern gentleman, who was a dear and true friend. Buddy tried to coach David regarding having a sense of style, panache, etc., as well as learning to enjoy having lipstick on his cheek, but I’m still waiting for the impact of Buddy’s tutelage to pay off. There are many other men I know who fall clearly into one of these two categories of “lipstick on my cheek” reactions, but they will remain nameless in this post. Come on guys, a little lipstick on your cheek won’t hurt you!
I have never analyzed this aspect of human behavior. I’ve just found the lipstick to be sticky so I didn’t really like how it felt. Beyond that, I always figured coming home with lipstick was a dangerous and risky activity. This blog appears to give me permission to be more like Buddy. He taught me, us, many things. Now I have permission to collect kissed lipstick. It also makes me think more about lipstick and that I recently saw white lipstick on a woman. She’s European, so maybe that is the difference, but it stood out, in a strange way, to me. And, now, all of what Melissa noted may have changed. It is interesting to consider whether we, in South Florida, will ever return to social kissing after all the social distancing. This phenomenon may have changed forever in the U.S.A. and elsewhere. I am sure it will have until memories fade. In the meantime, there is one thing I do know: You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. That is a story for another post.