It was the 1980’s and I was in Junior High.
Wearing a jumbo Bonne Bell Lip Smacker around my neck, I tucked bubble gum Kissing Potion into the back pocket of my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.
If you peeked into my purple LeSac purse, you’d most likely find a tin of green apple Lip Licker balm as well.
Everyone has their personal struggles at that age. One of my grievances was that I had embarrassingly large lips in a decade when thin lips were “in.”
When my sister and I would whine about our inflated-tire-styled lips, my mom would say, “You have beautiful, rosebud lips.”
What we didn’t know then: our big lips were 20 years ahead of trendy.
So in history class, I sat –hunched and quiet– behind popular Beth, who had perfect hair and a coveted, slim lipline.
She also wore teeny-tiny gold hoop earrings to match her teeny-thin body.
Note: I was not allowed to wear hoop earrings.
After history class, I’d skulk over to my locker while smearing on an ounce or two of Bonne Bell. Mr. Marc’s writing class was next; an oasis in a desert of adolescent angst. Mr. Marc was a cool, kind and energetic teacher. On weekends he played in a 50’s band and he always wielded a dashing sense of humor.
I had a crush on him of course.
When the bell rang, students herded along the hallways, smelling like fruit (all that lip gloss) and hairspray. (The hairspray also smelled like fruit.)
There was a constant social stream ominously buzzing past, as I darted in and out of classes.
School lunchtime offered awkward social interaction, as well as limp rectangles of pizza. I walked slowly to gym class. Junior High co-ed swimming should be outlawed. Like everyone else, I was required to wear a school-issued drab green swimsuit. Mine had seen its share of chlorine over the years. The swimming segment of physical education lasted two weeks. Sometimes I’d forget to hang up the swimsuit, and it would stay balled up overnight in a smelly locker.
The next day, putting the wet swimsuit back on was like squeezing into a cold, wet plastic bag.
Fast forward to the 21st century. Even though I now call it “lip balm”, I am never without a tube or two in my purse. And I now wear hoop earrings every single day.
Does this fact have its roots in junior-high-hoop-deprivation? Am I still trying to make up for junior high pain with my ever-present tube of lip balm? And, fruity-fragranced personal care products give me headaches.
Food for thought…but don’t think too deep…:)
(Thanks, Sara for the Lip Lickers photo, which inspired this post)