Not a bitch-face.

“Put your bitch face on” – this is the advice that online publications, Facebook memes, teenage drama serials and my personal coterie of loyal girlfriends give me whenever I’m faced with a problem. Apparently, this works.

So, I tried and practised a little in front of the mirror before I really put on this “bitch-face”. I cringed my nose and then looked straight ahead with a piercing gaze. Didn’t work. It gave the impression that I had something up my… okay, you get the idea. Then, I tried the dead expression look. Not a single expression and again looked straight ahead. Didn’t work. I looked like someone auditioning for the role of a zombie attack extra.

I couldn’t get my bitch face on because I didn’t have one! I knew something was missing. As I sulked and admired the array of cosmetics lined up on the dressing table, I picked up my new blood-red matte M.A.C. lipstick and gave it a whip. Voila!

There you go. The red-hot colour lit up my face and I felt like my alter ego “Sasha Fierce” (Yes. I worship Beyoncé). She smiled in the mirror and I’m sure she could melt a million hearts in a second. I went out shopping for vegetables in the local market. No vendor tried to haggle with me. They gave me the price I asked for. While I was balancing the countless carry bags on my slender arms, 3 men at different junctures offered to assist me. It felt good when I said no. There was a spring in my step.

I walked by the narrow Hasnabad lanes with the tune of “Girl, you really got me going” playing on my I-pod and even, the middle-aged aunties couldn’t help but give me a look. For a second, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I might have forgotten to button my shirt or there must be some permanent-marker made moustache on my face. I paused and checked my reflection on the window of the car parked on the side. Nope. Nothing. Nada.

It’s the red lipstick.

They will listen to you. Your wish will be their command. They will not raise an arm in defence and they will surrender to every argument you put across. You will have the last word. You will no longer be a damsel in distress but will be the Wonder Woman they dare not mess with.

Fat or thin, old or young, townie or a Ma-Ka-Bo, employed or unemployed, whether you are going for a party or a casual lunch at the local Udipi restaurant, it doesn’t matter. If you are down in the dumps, are being pushed around like a pinball, and nothing seems to be going your way then forget the bitch-face. Put the perfect shade of red-lipstick on.

Because the power is with you.

Or rather it’s with the red lipstick.