I don’t like change.  When I find something I like, I stay with it.  That’s my MO.  In fact, when someone comes along and alters the delicate balance of my world, it upsets me.  This has happened time and again with products that I liked to buy.  And now it has presented a germophobe dilemma.  How far am I willing to go to avoid change?

About a year-and-a-half ago, to my dismay, I found that the manufacturer of my favorite lip gloss had pulled a fast one on me.  They changed the shade of the lip gloss.  They kept the same name, but the color was different.  I should have been tipped off by the new package design.  One thing I have learned through the years is that package changes mean product changes, and I can’t remember one product change that I liked.  The new color did not suit me.  I used it, so as not to waste it, but it wasn’t the same.  I received many compliments when I wore the old shade, and I wanted to stay with it.

The next time I was at the store, I went to the makeup section to browse the lip gloss section.  I noticed that not all of the packaging looked the same.  There were some old packages behind the newer ones!  Now I had three more tubes to help me through the painful transition process.  It dawned on me that I should check out all of the local stores.  The more I could find, the better.  Over the next two weeks, I hit up every store around, and I found twelve tubes altogether!  I was excited that I wouldn’t have to make an unwelcome change any time soon, but I was aware that the time would seem to go quickly because I use the lip gloss constantly.  There was one little problem, though.

The day came that my current tube was finished, and I needed to access my newly acquired stash to get a new one.  This occurred while I was at work.  I kept some of the new tubes at home and some at my office desk.  I picked out a tube, and I saw that the safety seal appeared to be somewhat loose.  I had seen some that were loose before, so this didn’t immediately bother me.  Even when the cap came off easily without removing the safety seal, I wasn’t overly concerned because that had happened before, also.  What I did find disturbing was that the top of the stick of gloss didn’t look normal.  The shape was different.  But I recalled that the company had changed the shape in the past, so maybe this was just a very old tube.  Yet, I couldn’t convince myself that it hadn’t been tampered with, and I didn’t want to use it.  I came close to throwing it away, but it was an endangered species.  I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I put it away.  I made the decision to keep it until all the others were gone, and then I would see if I felt the same way about it.

And there it sat for over a year, until this week.  The stick I was using was getting low, and when I took it out and twisted the bottom of the tube, the last bit of gloss popped off and rolled onto the floor!  That’s bad for a germophobe.  That one was clearly a goner, so I looked for a new tube.  To my surprise, the only tube left at my desk was the questionable one.  I pulled off the cap and looked at it again.  Nothing had changed.  My lips were dry, but I still couldn’t bring myself to use it.  I put it back in the drawer, but I reasoned with myself that, even if it had had germs, surely they were dead now that more than a year had passed.  But what if the tamperer hadn’t used the gloss but put poison on it.  Okay, that seemed highly unlikely, so I figured that I would probably end up using the tainted tube out of desperation.  Still, I postponed the initial use.

It was a busy day at work, and later that day I reached into my desk drawer to pick up my lip gloss.  I always keep it in the same spot, and I apply it several times a day without giving it much thought.  And so it was that day, with my mind on something else.  I reached blindly into the drawer, pulled the cap off the lip gloss, and spread it over my lips.  Don’t you hate the feeling of realizing – two seconds too late – that you have done something that you didn’t intend to do?  But there it was:  the deed was done.  I couldn’t go back.  I told myself that I had just been paranoid anyway and that it had never been tampered with.  Another mistake was rolling the stick up out of the tube a bit to see if the shape looked normal.  It didn’t.  It was tapered instead of solid and smooth.  It looked irregular in places.  This did nothing to allay my fears.  But it was done.  I had used it already, so I might as well make the most of it.

Next comes the challenge of finding a new shade.  Life is tough.  (If you’re a guy, I know you can’t relate.)

About admin

I am a female in my early 40's who has been dealing with OCD since age 10 and a fear of germs since 14.
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One Response to Tainted

  1. Odin says:

    I may be a guy, but I can definitely relate! Not so much to the change of lip gloss, but very much to realising 2 seconds too late that you’ve contaminated yourself. Dreadful feeling

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