There was an interesting moment in the 1949 noir film The Third Man, which I watched tonight on Turner Classic Movies. The main female character, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli, below) is awakened in the middle of the night by the International Police in post-World War 2 Vienna, to be taken down to headquarters for questioning about her forged passport. Several policemen of different nationalities wait while she dresses, and then as they all leave her apartment, one of the officers very solicitously says, “Your lipstick, mademoiselle,” and hands it to her.
A tiny moment, but it made me wonder about the officer and why he had such a desire to be solicitous. One could almost imagine an entire short story about that officer. Perhaps he wanted some contact, however brief, with this beautiful unattainable woman. Perhaps he simply saw himself as being kind. Perhaps he felt sorry for her being detained and wanted to assuage her dignity. Perhaps he felt it was his duty to remind Anna that, in her distress, she had made an oversight and forgotten this essential item. Or perhaps it gave him an erotic thrill to pick up, carry over, and give her the tube of lipstick…
Lipstick fetishism may be even more popular now than ever because of the Internet. There are many interesting clips online where models and dominatrixes tease the viewer in closeup as they apply and blot their lips.
I read somewhere that if a woman applies her lipstick in front of a man she is not already intimate with, it signifies that she is not interested in getting intimate with him at all. Perhaps it is a way of belittling him, of taunting him with her lack of interest in him as a lover, by performing this erotic act in front of him–as if she doesn’t care about its effect on him. I wonder if that’s true, or is just a generalization.
If done in front of a man a woman has no attraction to, the act of applying lipstick can be such a powerful spectacle that it is one of the most twisting and torturous of teases. The lips are painted in such a way to remind the man of the blush of the woman in sexual excitement…yet, performing the act signifies that she is uninterested in pursuing that excitement with him.
In the 1946 movie The Postman Always Rings Twice, Lana Turner applies her lipstick in front of John Garfield to make him think she’s not interested in him–even though she is. She does it as an act of contempt–knowing it will spur him to desire. Yet there is clearly part of her that does not, at first, want to get intimate with him.
Again, I don’t know if this is true or a generalization. I have been with women who applied lipstick in this way, and they were definitely not interested in me sexually (although they were my friends).
Pursed lips, like the ones above, are a powerful symbol of female judgment…and perhaps of arrogance.
But it is the image of the “kissy” lips below, the lips that combine the loving condescension of a maternal figure with the playfulness of a lover, that can truly engulf the eyes and loins of a susceptible man in a whirlwind of erotic confusion…or bliss!
It is no coincidence that one of the tools of the “hypnodommes” now popular on the Web–women who play the role, in video clips and audio files, of erotic hypnotists for submissive men–is lipstick teasing, the sight of which can put a man in a horny trance.
I like lipstick teasing. That’s the primary reason I put together this post–simply to assemble a sexy little gallery of delectable pictures I found around the Web. And my desire to do this was set off by that scene in The Third Man…an effect I’m sure the filmmakers did not intend.
Or did they…?