The Sunday tabloid article said there’s a thing called The Lipstick Effect. It’s apparently not about how lipstick affects your lips by making them a different color, but about lipstick sales going up when the economy goes down.

The blurb said a recent study attributed this to “the desire to attract a mate with resources,” which made me wonder if, as a man, I’m supposed to regard lipstick as a resource or think that women who wear lipstick have the resources to plunk down $8.99 at Walgreens.

Tres sexy.

And then I realized: Oh, no. Grammatical unclarity. Apparently the study found that women think piling gunk on the old pouter will procure them a billionaire.

Which maybe ain’t so dumb. My own wife almost never wears lipstick, and she procured me. Thirty years later, I’m still several hundred million short of that elusive first bil.

I never was a big fan of lipstick. Yeah, it looked good on Marilyn Monroe. But it also reeked of strawberry on my first junior-high girlfriend. I hate strawberries. Everything about them. But I was fourteen and craved nookie, so I tolerated that girl for three whole months.

But that’s just me. Am I alone? My ridiculously shallow and incomplete online research tells me I’m not.

“Ladies, please—enough with the makeup and nails,” one Tristian Wolf of Cocoa, Florida, said in response to a post on The Thread blog on Yahoo. “I have never have had a friend poke me and say, “Wow that girl’s lipstick makes her look hot.’”

Down with that, bro. More to the point, a YourTango.com blog post dared to ask, “Do men like the bold, bright lipstick trend for the spring season?” I guarantee this is how 99.9% of men answered: “There’s such a thing as seasonal lipstick trends?”

The author, Jenna Birch, went on to say that while it’s “fun (for her) to work a smoldering red pout or statement deep-pink now and then, I wondered if guys would be quite as crazy about this bold beauty trend. So, I asked a few. And what did they say? In a word (or two): Not exactly. Most said they liked a natural, minimally prettified, look best on female lips—I’m talkin’ Chapstick, light pink or clear gloss only. A couple guys even confessed to adoring absolutely nothing on a gal’s pout.”

Absolutely nothing on a gal. No need to say more—but she did, anyway, concluding that, “It seems guys really do appreciate our natural beauty.”

On the other hand, HowStuffWorks.com takes a typically guy approach by laying it all on the gals. “One theory says lipstick emphasizes a woman’s sexuality,” the site says. “By amping up the color of the lips, a woman is subconsciously echoing the color of her vaginal lips, or labia, in an effort attract attention from men.”

Funny. Since men think about those things consciously, you’d think women would have some idea.

On the other hand, the article continues, some women may refuse to wear lipstick because they consider it a “patriarchal trap.”

Could be. But in Mary Jo’s case, I’m gonna say it’s because she looks good without it. And she knows she does, cuz I tell her.

But, I have to admit there are two more things I appreciate about her naked lips. First, that she’s never thinking, “The Dow is down—I’d better scrape up $8.99 and hustle over to Walgreen’s.”

And, second, that her face doesn’t smell anything like strawberries.

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