The Lipstick-Coated Pig

Pressed, primed, primped, and polished. Shiny patent leather flats. Knee-length floral skirts. Solid tops paired perfectly with heathered grey jackets.

Lashes curled, hair twirled. Lined. Colored. Shadowed.

Wrapped in a perfectly professional bow.

“You can’t put lipstick on a pig,” she said to me. Not in relation to my outfit or my demeanor, but to some completely unrelated matter. “Yup, because it’ll always be a pig,” I retorted, in an attempt to show I knew what she was saying.

That exchange stuck.

And as I kept thinking about it, I slowly realized: I was the lipstick coated pig today.

 

The expression became famous after a certain former Veep candidate said it. The expression stuck with me. I giggled when I first heard it, thinking about trying to put a bright crimson lipstick on a mud-covered pig. Chasing the poor animal around, wielding the tube like Excalibur.

The meaning: you can take something for what it is, package it so it looks a certain way, but it will still be what it is.

Me, in all my professional clothes, dolled up with my fancy skirts and shoes? I will still be the same awkward, uncomfortable, less-than-perfectly-professional woman I always was.

It’s always been that way, no matter how many fancy shades of lipstick I’ve tried.

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