Some women that I know just don't feel very pretty unless they have a bit of rouge on their cheeks, a tint to their lips, or some glitter to add drama. Dangerously long eyelashes, at the very least.
Some women do it all; some indulge in only one or two rituals of feminine beautification. Some women, like Simone, do one thing very poorly.
Simone, as I came to know her, was looking good, dressed as she was in a conservative black pant suit and black wool overcoat. She held a newspaper, which is usually a sign of a well-informed, literate mind (unless the paper in question is the Sun. . .occasionally the Star). In fact, the only thing that drew my attention to her was the fact that she was applying bright red lipstick like she was preparing for an appearance in Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth.
And the fact that on her newspaper she had scrawled, again in bright red lipstick, RAT FINK.
Otherwise, a perfectly normal middle-aged woman.
Her pattern of lipstick application was this:
A--ever-widening NASCAR loops around her lips;
B--a red dot on her forehead;
C--colouring her nose;
D--putting lipstick on her finger, then rubbing the excess on her cheeks;
E--sticking the fully-extended lipstick directly up her nose and twist, twist, twisting it like a standard pencil sharpener;
F--standing up on her tiptoes and reapplying to her lips.
She would then retract the lipstick, cap it, and place it in her pocket. Then, she'd shake her head no, and start all over again with the same pattern as described above.
This cycle continued with little change until a Braintrust sitting opposite her dropped his bottle of Canadian Sherry (screw cap) and, while already unsteady on his pins, began to chase the runaway libation down the moving streetcar.
I would have been happy had I witnessed either event on my way home; to see both was a rare delight.
Once Johnny Snakebite had reeled in his catch of fortified wine, he decided to deboard. Noticing Simone, he enquired:
A- "What's yer fuckin' trip?"
B- (with surprising conviction)"Lipstick. Lipstick is my trip."
One mystery solved. Simone liked lipstick.
At the same time, at the front of the streetcar, a woman boarded who serves as a perfect example of my argument that people in Toronto pay ABSOLUTELY NO ATTENTION to what is going on around them. For obvious reasons Simone was sitting by herself; the new commuter plopped down right beside her.
Simone was, by this time, more red in the face than W.C. Fields. She was clearly not sane.
The best moment on my ride yet was this when this oblivious newcomer stole a glance, as all commuters do, at her seatmate. She nearly jumped out of her skin. And just guess what her first words were--
C-"I think that you have enough lipstick on."
I have to give her some credit: she was only saying what we were all thinking.
Well, to be honest I was thinking "Holy FUCK, she's got a lot of lipstick on!!".
And do you know what our lovely little Simone said, without missing a beat?
B-"Gotta take care of my lips; my lips are my ticket! I'm a lip model!"
For a moment I admired the clever wit of Simone and her lightning-fast mind. Perhaps there was more method to her madness than I was giving her credit for! Maybe the light behind her eyes was not quite as dim as I had thought? The golden rule of "Judge not lest ye be judged!" came to mind--all those moments when my mother had scolded, "Don't judge a book by its cover!", "Still waters run deep", etc. etc. etc.
Then I noticed that Simone had stuck her lipstick so deep into her nose that it began to bleed.
Book covers be damned. This woman was crazy.