Until a few years ago, the concept of a one night stand seemed unimaginable to me. Not because of the impersonality, or any romantic attachments, I just couldn't imagine sleeping in the same bed as someone I didn't know all night. I mean, I didn't even hug my closest friends.
I don't know when exactly casual physical intimacy became more tolerant for me, but it did, and after that, it was the WAKING UP in strangers' beds that was the hard part. So welcome to the second installment of So You're A Lesbian: The One-Night-Stand Beauty edition!
Everyone has woken up at some point in a bed without their usual beauty products on hand. Chances are queer women will have better choices when it comes to finding something to make themselves look presentable.
What you should always bring with you whenever you go out -– JUST IN CASE –- are the one or two products you know you need daily that aren't common. If you have a lot of “activity” (as the xoVain team has taken to calling it), make sure you have that concealer that precisely matches your skin tone. If a bold lip is your signature, throw that lipstick in your bag.
Just think: what do I absolutely need that chances are no other girl in this city owns? For me, it's an eyebrow pencil; MAC Eye Brows in Stud, to be precise. (I don't have eyebrows! I pull them out, in a weird trichotillomania-esque symptom of OCD. Pro: according to this paper published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, I probably have more grey matter than people without any kind of trich. Which, honestly, I could do without.)
But forget your hair. Forget your skin. Remember your meds! And if you wear contacts, remember solution. (Seriously.)
SECRET #1: EGYPTIAN MAGIC IS ACTUALLY MAGIC
You wake up, brush your teeth (JESUS, just USE their TOOTHBRUSH, your mouth has been all over them, I don't understand this revulsion), and wash your face. Perk of being a queer flower: There's going to be some kind of scrub or cleanser around, even if it's not your skin type or the kind you'd normally use. If you have extremely sensitive skin, you can always just use warm water and exfoliate a bit with a washcloth/towel/the bottom of your shirt.
The most common deteriorator (not a word, but let's make it one) of your amazingly attractive face is un-moisturized skin. I personally have that terribly named “combination” skin (super dry around the periphery of my face, oily on my forehead, nose, apples of my cheeks) so I know that acne-prone, oil-prone women are going to be like, “Skip! Next! Thank you!” But: no. Trust.
This Egyptian Magic stuff has been around forever, and you've probably heard of it; it only has six ingredients, so I'll just list them for you: honey, beeswax, olive oil, royal jelly, bee pollen, and bee propolis. If you don't have a tub, I suggest getting one, um, now. It's not vegan, obviously, because of the honey and other bee by-products, but it's totally natural and, I'm convinced, edible.
My girlfriend, who is my complete beauty opposite in that she uses all-natural, all-organic, hippie blah blah blah products (I get really defensive when she or her mom starts telling me about how good for you these “natural” products are, while I'm slathering my wrinkles in retinol), has multiple vats of this, so trying it was only a matter of time. It is sooo good, people. SO. GOOD.
Because of the pollen and royal jelly, this magic jar is full of vitamins (B, C, D, and E) which work as antioxidants, and bee propolis is supposed to encourage white blood cells to reduce bacteria, get rid of inflammation, and also HEAL BLEMISHES. Hear that, thick-moisturizer-skeptics with “problem” skin?
Plus, chances are Cleopatra (BISEXUAL!) used some formulation of this. Maybe I just want to think that. And I'm a fan of hippie companies whose website addresses you as “precious one.” Just in case that does anything for you.
“But Po, I'm standing here in one high heel with my Urban Outfitters bralette all askew and this bitch doesn't have any of this mythical Egyptian Magic!” you cry. It's OK, babe! Firstly, don't call her a bitch. Secondly, use the principal of the matter to find some sort of waxy substance to moisturize with. Any kind of lip balm will really do –- I smear Dr. Hauschka's Lip Balm (also beeswax-based, duh) all over my face anyway, frantic-morning-after or not -– and, uh, water- or oil-based lube works. I know. This recommendation is a little...queer.
SECRET #2: BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
You know what's sexy? Being comfortable in your own skin, products or no products. Ha, no. YOU'VE JUST BEEN XOJANE-ED!
What's sexy is looking tired. Honestly. Leonard Cohen is always right! You do look good when you're tired. Weary, bruised, a little rock 'n' roll...you know I'm getting to black eyeliner here, don't you?
Lots of black around the eyes is the morning-after version of the “red lipstick that looks good on everyone.” It doesn't matter your age, skin tone, gendered presentation: find something dark and rub it around your eyes; even if it's sloppy, just try to get it as close to the water lines as you can for definition. Spoiler, though: Pen doesn't work. Yes, I've tried! Sharpies do.
Most girls will have some kind of eyeliner/shadow/dark eye product around in some drawer, whether they wear it or not. A casualty of being female is that even if you personally don't wear makeup, you'll probably have something around, be it from a random formal occasion or a gift from someone who clearly doesn't know you well.
Find it, smear it. Be creative. And since we started off on the Egyptian foot -– if you really can't find anything, burn a piece of paper or something. Ashes always work.
SECRET MIRACLE #3: ANY HAIR PRODUCT WILL HELP
So now that you look like a well-hydrated-yet-well-worn kind of sexy Egyptian –- the kind everyone wants to wake up to in the morning –- you want the hot bedhead to go with it. Instead of a shameful ballerina bun or some out-of-control frizz, you can make your hair presentable with literally any product on hand.
She's a hipster butch with a razor-sharp side part or pompadour? Chances are she's got pomade or some fibrous paste you can use to tame flyaways and weigh down your ends. She's a swingy blowout kind of girl and you prefer your natural curls? She'll have hairspray; spray a substantial amount -– so you can see the liquid pooling –- into your palms and run it through your hair. See what I'm saying?
I discovered another one of my favorite hair products this way. I was sleeping with a sexy butch who got her hair cut at Tomcats; they –- and she –- always used men's pomade, but since I had longer, curlier hair, I never thought of using it myself. My territory was some kind of expensive “styling cream” my salon sold me, or the drugstore favorite Motions Foaming Wrap Lotion, which I had read in ELLE or something was the "cheap secret" of some uber-expensive stylist.
Once, secretly, just out of curiosity, I used some marketed-for-men pomade she had left on the edge of my sink, and discovered that its thicker texture meant better hold and more defined curls. I am now loyal to American Crew products, particularly their “Fiber,” even though the tin is plastered with the slogan “Official Supplier to Men.” I really like how they describe their styling products by holding strength and by shine, which makes it super easy to figure out which you're going to like for your hair type.
Anyway, even though you may not find something you'll invest in for the future, any hair product, used in moderation, can help your hair type for one morning.
ONE LAST SECRET
One of the most shameful elements (besides where, exactly, you both fell asleep) can be how you smell the next morning. If it's your clothes, I don't have an answer. But if you can't casually take a shower and you reek of cigarettes and cheap beer (and you don't want to), here's a real ACTUAL secret: hosiery. Tights. Pantyhose. Nylons. Whatever they're called – those stretchy nude or colored tights that don't have any interesting cotton or lace designs? You may have heard how they remove deodorant streaks from clean clothes, but they also remove scents, from, say, your hair, or limbs.
(They'll now contain that smell, so don't surreptitiously try to sneak them back into a dresser, or, if they're yours, put them on. They need to be washed.)
I'm just going to take a second here to freak out at you all like I did above with the toothpaste issue: USE the girl's DEODORANT! Why does everyone think it's gross to use the same stick of deodorizing paste, but not gross to touch the sweaty body that deodorant helps freshen? ANYWAY. Additionally: baby wipes. But you already knew that.
Perfume-wise, never ever ever use the fragrance of the girl you've just slept with, or any she has hanging around in her living space. It's weird to smell yourself on someone you're attracted to, and trust me, sometimes perfumes in a girl's bathroom aren't hers, and that just makes it even weirder.
I would suggest the kitchen –- lemons, vanilla or almond extract, or fresh/dried herbs (cilantro, mint) strategically dabbed right behind your ears and in the inner creases of your elbows will in turn smell deliciously citrusy, sweet, or herb-y.
Reading this over, most of these tips don't actually seem so queer-girl-specific. Men tend to have a lot of the basics, like lip balm and hair products. Maybe it's just that when straight girls go out, knowing they may not sleep in their own beds that night, more products are tucked into their bags just in case.
I've learned that there are really no across-the-board rules when it comes to how gay girls' presentation correlate with their stocked bathrooms: that guitar-playing long-haired girl in a fedora may have the most pristine, precise skincare routine of chic expensive products made by her dermatologist, and that intense butch in the corner with absolutely no makeup on her face may have more hair products than an entire Duane Reade.
Remember how I was telling you about my uneasiness with touch at the start of this article? The clinical term for it is haphephobia, and understandably, it can stem from a history of physical or sexual abuse. In my case, it doesn't, and I'm happy I don't seem as bitchy as I used to, leaning away from hugs and shrugging off arms from my shoulders. (Not to mention one night stands.) Using others' touch for emotional connection was something I denied for a while. Sneakily using other people's beauty products, though, has never been a problem.