Nonbinary Author Jacob Tobia On Lip Stain, Trump, And The End Of Days

"Can you imagine wearing normal lipstick as you’re trying to escape from the rising ocean?"

This letter is part of our inaugural editorial series, “Letter to Myself,” in which we asked 40 remarkable queer people to write a note to their younger selves.

Dear Baby Jacob,

You poor little thing. I know that you’re only 16 and that you just came out as gay and that you think you know everything that you can about yourself and your identity, but I have some good and bad news for you.

The bad news is that 2017 is a total shit show. Like, it’s complete debauchery everywhere over here, and not the good kind. The president is on Twitter right now casually threatening North Korea with nuclear war, there are a gazillion hurricanes, and the planet is slowly boiling. It is unclear how many happy years we have left here on Earth, and the estimates get shorter every day. Rome is seriously tripping right now. Rome’s probably going to fall soon.

But if it is indeed time for society as we know it to collapse, I have some good news. You’re really going to enjoy the last few years of civilization before it all crumbles. You just sold your first book and it’s called Sissy and it’s everything. You’ve filled it to the brim with lots of funny anecdotes about (spoiler alert!) running into Bruce Springsteen in a bar on your college graduation weekend, drinking underage in the White House, and hanging out with Laverne Cox (you don’t know who she is yet, but girl will you ever).

Also, you wear dresses and lipstick now. Specifically lip stain.

Lip stain is, above and beyond, the greatest part of femininity that you will ever discover. It is like lipstick, except it stays on basically forever. You have to use olive oil or jojoba oil or some other interesting oil to take it off, otherwise, it is on there, baby. You will go to countless galas and events and photoshoots, sipping from wine glass after wine glass while your lip color remains flawless. At the end of dinner, your (famous) friends will look at you, flabbergasted, shocked and amazed that your lips still look perfect.

“Where did you get your lipstick from?” they will coo.

“Oh, it’s just from Sephora,” you’ll respond, knowing that saying this makes you seem simultaneously down to earth and mysterious. You’ll smile a coy smile, change the subject, and never reveal the name of your lip product to anyone ever, no matter how many followers you get on Instagram (you don’t know what that is yet either, but it’s going to run your whole life one day).

The other thing that’s great about lip stain, you’ll realize as you’re writing this in 2017, is that it’s the only type of lip product that will be useful during the upcoming climate apocalypse. It’s the only product that is suitable for the end of days, when the world turns into a literal Hunger Games (you’ll have to wait until 2012 to understand this one. When you eventually do, it’ll be a really fresh joke for the time. It will not, however, be a fresh joke when you are currently writing this in 2017, but you will make it anyways. Take that, haters.)

I mean, can you imagine wearing normal lipstick as you’re trying to escape from the rising ocean or trying to outrun the rebel faction that controls all of California circa 2053? It would be so impractical, smearing everywhere as you flee to higher ground. The great thing about lip stain is that it’s waterproof, so even when the floodwaters come and the entire North American continent is submerged into a marshy hellscape, your lips will still look flawless. If you’re going to go down, you want to go down looking good, y’know?

In the meantime, you should turn all your attention to destroying Donald Trump’s present career. If you take him down now, you’ll save us all a lot of trouble later, okay? I don’t want to totally give away what happens, but just trust me on this one.

Kisses and hugs!


Jacob Tobia is working on their debut memoir, Sissy.

Read more letters here.

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