As a 21st-century outdoorsman, I’m constantly redefining what it means to be manly. Frequently, it involves using products originally developed for women. On a late duck hunt some years back, my lips got so chapped it felt as if they’d been attacked by an orbital sander. The day was cold, with winds gusting to 30 mph. If I pressed my lips together, I could practically hear them cracking. One of the men in the blind had brought his wife along. I asked if she happened to have any lip balm. She didn’t. But she volunteered that she did have lipstick.
“That’ll work,” I managed to croak. “Pass it down.” The lipstick came in a little gold tube about the size of a 28-gauge shell, something you wouldn’t expect to be a cause of discomfort. I guess context really is everything, however, because these guys looked like they’d rather have been handling a water moccasin. When the lipstick reached me, I smeared some on. The relief was instantaneous and complete. I was back in the game, scanning the sky for birds. I still don’t know what was in that lipstick, but it beat anything I’d ever used on chapped skin. Meanwhile, the other guys looked at me and howled. One asked if I was free Saturday night. Out of curiosity, I asked my benefactress the particular shade of the lipstick.
“It’s called Pink Voltage,” she said.