The wanderer returns

When I decided to stop updating this blog back in February, it was because I was feeling thoroughly uninspired. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about any more and the (entirely self imposed) pressure of updating the site on a regular basis had become an added worry that I didn’t need. After a while, I felt the need for a fresh online presence and so I tried setting up a new site with my evergreen content – posts on the topics I wanted to focus on, going forward – but it just didn’t feel right, so I left it alone. A few more months went by and I started to miss writing again, so I began to wonder whether I should just resurrect Rarely Wears Lipstick; to turn the blog’s closure into a haitus.

A lot has happened in the last seven months. As many of you may know, I’ve always had a full time job to pay the bills and this site is a personal passion that I update in my spare time. However, after two decades of bouncing from one admin job to another, I got to a point where I needed more focus and so last year I began a search for a new direction. Since I last updated this blog, I’ve technically had three different jobs with the same employer (long story!) and have now taken a pay cut in the hope of finding work happiness and a new career direction. In addition, I took part in the Stonewall Role Models Programme at my workplace and now have time to volunteer for the committee of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network again. All has been a little quiet over at The Underpinnings Museum, due to the team all being busy with other things, but I’ve recently presented at an academic conference and have some more guest lecturing lined up at London College of Fashion.

My personal life has seen a lot of changes in the last seven months too. My poly “chosen family” has changed shape due to one relationship of mine ending, metamours embarking on new ones, and a marriage in our midst. A really good friendship has slowly grown beyond Instagram messages, and I’ve also gained a new craft beer drinking buddy due to another friend’s relocation to London. I have learnt an awful lot about myself during this time and have done plenty of writing that has purely been for me as a form of therapy but, after all that, I have realised that now is the time to get back into writing that’s intended for sharing. But what am I going to write about now? Well, I’ve decided that the overarching theme is going to be storytelling, so I thought I’d start with a short tale about lipstick: the story behind my social media handle, and the name of this blog.

Back in the early 2000s, I joined an online community called The Lipstick Girls. It was a site run by women – initially inspired by the civil disobedience of the Women’s Social and Political Union a century before, but focusing much more on words than deeds! – featuring articles written by the core team, a community discussion forum and, in later years, a radio station (back in the days before podcasts). It was a site where I made lots of friends and so, when I joined another community forum and the username Lori was already taken, I signed up as lipstick-lori so that my LSG friends would instantly know it was me. In 2008, when I joined Twitter, I chose the same username (but without the hyphen) as I realised that it had sort of become my online personal brand. When I was trying to come up for a name for my revamped blog in 2009, I thought about all the times I’d met online friends in real life who’d commented that “it’s a strange handle for someone who never wears lipstick.” Despite not yet being a lipstick convert, it wasn’t never, just rarely. When I put the three words together, despite them in no way summing up what my blog was or would be about, I rather liked them. I liked the way they looked and the way they sounded. Even now that I wear lipstick far more often, I just can’t bring myself to change it.

So, welcome back to my little corner of the internet. I’ve done a bit of a spring clean of the home page – you can find my favourite past posts in the ‘featured’ section – and I’m going to aim to post something new once a week. If you have any ideas for stories you’d like me to tell, leave a comment below or drop me a message on Twitter or Instagram.

UPDATE: I’m going to copy the final few reviews over from brunchclub.london so that you can find a complete record of the Brunch Club adventures here at RWL. This means it’ll look like I have updated the site since February 2019 (as I’ll keep the original post dates), but I think I’m cool with that.