July 14, 2024

The Price of Poise

It was just before midnight when I opened my laptop and went to the page. I patiently counted down the minutes before putting the holy grail item in my shopping cart – one magnificent lipstick with a price tag of 38 hard-earned dollars. (Ok, I actually bought two, but who’s counting?) After a few days of stalking a tracking number, the package arrived on my porch. I cut open the box to marvel at my purchase.

It was the single prettiest container I’d ever owned. Heavy, black with gold, and complete with a set of lips on the tube that were just the right amount of extra. My Pat McGrath lipstick was finally in my hand and I was already planning the rest of my outfit.

I won’t lie—$38 is a big ticket for a lipstick. I’m no stranger to nice makeup, but that amount of money makes me wince a little. So why was this over-the-top product something I had to have?

Nicole Gustafson | The Tailgate Society

In a word: confidence. A good lipstick, one like this, pushes my shoulders back. It makes me walk into a room a little bit taller. It turns the roar of self-doubt down.

Some people are pulled in by clothes and others by shoes. Whatever the vice, the quality of things I adorn myself with makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself. I may have forgotten my lunch at home or arrived late to a meeting, but I look composed and respectable. I’m comfortable showing the cracks in my façade, but in some circumstances it’s not wise to do so. It’s then that I want an X-factor to take my mind off my lengthy to-do list and help me focus on being my best in the moment.

I take pride in what I’m able to do for myself. I worked for these dollars which turned into a beautiful pick-me-up. Drake’s “Fancy” plays in my head as I press my lips together. You see, I believe in celebrating baby steps. Real, lasting socio-economic change is hard. It may even be impossible depending on your circumstances. Houses, expensive furniture, and retirement come at daunting prices. They’re good for long-term goals, but it also feels nice to gain something in the short-term. A gleaming, high end item on your vanity is only an hour or so of overtime away.

Many words have been written on the internet about the “right” or “wrong” things to buy with your money. I’m not buying glosses instead of paying my electric bill, but it’s unreasonable to expect humans to never spend a dime on something small to lift their spirits. No lipstick is going to solve all of my problems, but if it gives me the courage to face them, then that’s an investment I’m happy to make.

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Nicole Gustafson
Nicole Gustafson 56 Articles

Nicole was born in Chicago and raised in Des Moines. She took her talents to The Iowa State University, where she earned a degree in journalism. You can find Nicole cheering on her favorite sports teams, hanging out with her dog, or finishing a Netflix marathon. Nicole is a big fan of #pitcherswhorake, fat guy TD's, and carbs. She's not a fan of mornings, winter, or vegetables and will complain to anyone who will listen.

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