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My lipstick

Jumped ship
Ani DiFranco', "Back Around"

Lipstick on the collar, a telltale giveaway that he is cheating. This old trope has its roots in the days when most men wore shirts with collars and women wore lipstick that marked easily. The wife, doing her husband's laundry, finds a pink mark on her husbands collar and immediately concludes that he has a mistress. When the husband returns from work, he finds that he has been Exiled to the Couch or his belongings thrown outside. Most of the time in comedies it's Not What It Looks Like. The stain is ketchup, or the lipstick is from his grandmother pecking him on the cheek. See also Affair Hair, a related trope.

Examples of Lipstick Mark include:


Anime

  • In the long-running Sazae-san anime, the lipstick mark on the husband's shirt is actually caused by the preteen daughter playing with Sazae's makeup, then wiping it off on the nearest cloth object.
  • Ranma ½:
  • In the Gag Dub of Shin Chan, Mitzi finds a lipstick mark on Hiro's shirt and starts throttling him. Turns out that the baby, Hima, was playing with the lipstick.
  • In one of the Prince of Tennis chibi-fillers with the TeniPuri Family, Ryoma is trying on Shuuko's makeup, and when he hears her coming, hastily wipes it off on Sadaharu's dirty laundry, leading her to conclude the 'obvious'.

Comic Books

  • This was a plot for an Archie comic. Betty and Veronica notice a lipstick mark on his clothes, and when they realize it isn't theirs, they walk out right then and there. Turns out, the mark was his mom's.
    • They did this with a Jughead story as well. He walks around school with what looks like a lipstick mark on the corner of his mouth. Archie and the others spend the whole story trying to figure out whose it was. In the end it turns out the mark was from ice cream pops he hid in the school freezer.
  • In an issue of Teen Titans, Beast Boy asked Superboy what he was doing on the roof with Wondergirl. When he said "nothing", rather quickly, Robin pointed out that he had lipstick smudged on his face. That was some "nothing" you were doing, Superboy.
  • Invoked in a Mad Magazine article offering ways of ending a relationship without outright dumping your significant other: one of them involved becoming so jealous that they get sick of you.

 Man: Aha! Lipstick on your collar!

Woman: It's my lipstick! I'm a girl, you idiot!

Commercials

  • A Carl's Jr. commercial: A woman finds red marks on her boyfriend's collar and starts to throw his stuff out the window (which is a trope itself). The guy appears below, eating a burger and wiping the barbecue sauce on his collar.
  • Inverted in a Jack-in-the-Box commercial: The wife sees the stain on her husband's shirt and instantly assumes it's dipping sauce. The guy protests saying it's just him having an affair, and then the phone rings. The wife answers, and Jack hurriedly tries to impersonate the lover.
  • Inverted in a car commercial where the husband gets home and tries to put fake lipstick marks on himself. His wife sees him and berates him for joyriding in the new car again.

Film

 Among their tricks: They pull a pickpocket scheme to get lipstick on his collar. They bribe kids to use squirt guns to douse him with perfume. These clues are supposed to make Linda jealous. By this point in the film, I was squirming: At what intelligence level is the story pitched?

  • The Matrix Reloaded. Persephone knows about the Merovingian's philandering by the lipstick a woman left. This despite, in her words, "She wasn't kissing your face, my love."
  • Referenced in What Women Want when the main character is trying to think of ways to advertise lipstick to women.

  Nick Marshall: Lipstick... on a guy's collar? No, women will hate that. Lipstick on a guy's collar that won't rub off? ...No, women will hate that even more.

  The Girl: I have a message for your wife. Don't wipe it off. If she thinks that's cranberry sauce, tell her she's got cherry pits in her head.

Live Action TV

 Danny: "I wonder how he explains lipstick on his collar?"

  • Red Dwarf: "That's not lipstick. It's a computer rash."
  • This happens in one episode of Family Matters, after Eddie tries to sneak back to his room, after a date with a girl, only to be spotted by Carl.
  • A Not What It Looks Like example from The Dick Van Dyke Show: Laura, who is jealous that Rob is working with a glamorous actress, is paranoid about him cheating. Later, Sally kisses Rob on the cheek and wipes it off on his handkerchief. Laura finds the handkerchief and realizes that the lipstick doesn't match hers and becomes enraged, etc., etc.
  • Happens in Lois and Clark when a woman Superman rescues kisses him in gratitude.
  • Inverted in Roseanne. Dan eats lunch at a new restaurant that opened to rival the Conners' Lanford Lunch Box, and claims a ketchup stain on his collar is lipstick. Roseanne doesn't buy it.

Music

  • A Connie Francis song "Lipstick on Your Collar". Though that makes a bit more sense since she, her boyfriend and the owner of the lipstick are all at a diner, and the lipstick owner and boyfriend disappear for a while. So...it's pretty obvious for other reasons too.
  • Martina McBride sings it in "Phones Are Ringin' All Over Town".
  • Taking Back Sunday sings "Your lipstick, his collar" in "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)".
  • Kylie Minogue sings "There's lipstick on his collar" in "One Boy Girl".
  • Elton John sings "He's got lipstick on his collar" in "Heartache All Over the World".
  • In "Southern Rain", Cowboy Junkies sing, "Every night there's lipstick on his collar; every morning I wash it away."
  • "Want Ads", sung by Taylor Dayne.
    • Honey Cone first sang "Want Ads" which had the line, "Lipstick on his collar, perfume on it too..."
  • In Tom Waits' song "Step Right Up", the product being sold (whatever it is) "gets rid of unwanted lipstick on your collar."
  • The Judds' "Have Mercy": "The lipstick on your collar gives your game away / It's strawberry red and mine's pink roses."
  • Rapper Yo-Yo's "You Can't Play With My Yo-Yo": "Who your man givin' the dollar's/What? Yup, I put lipstick on his collar..."
  • Billie Holiday tells her man to "skip that lipstick" in her song "Don't Explain"

Web Comics

  Lipstick on...oh! Lipstick on my collar. Yes. Well. The good news is...it isn't my lipstick.

Western Animation

  • Family Guy: Stewie, trying to prevent Lois and Peter from conceiving his brother, attempts this by making lipstick marks on Peter's shirt, but gets caught by Lois and scolded.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series: Black Cat lifts up an unconscious Spiderman's mask to give him a kiss. Peter Parker doesn't notice it until after a co-worker at the Bugle points it out to him. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Parodied in Phineas and Ferb: In the episode "It's About Time", Perry notices that Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a pawprint on his cheek, left by his new nemesis.
  • One episode of Bob's Burgers has Gene write a story where he's a country singer at a bar listening to Gayle the waitress sing a mournful tune about finding lipstick on her lover's pickup truck, along with mascara on the wheel and a red high heeled shoe in the glove box.

Notes

  1. And no, we never actually learn her name.
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