The One Thing I Hope To Find In A Boyfriend’s Medicine Cabinet

Photographed by Hailley Howard.
A bookshelf filled only with Charles Bukowski titles. Red Solo cups in the dishwasher. A thong stashed between the mattress and the bed frame. These are a few of the things you don't want to see the first time you sleep over at your new fling's apartment. But, underwear aside, not all ex evidence should be considered a bad omen. The first night I spent with my current "it's complicated" guy, I went to the bathroom to wash my face, assuming I'd be doing so with only water and bar soap and waking up to dry, tight skin begging for a drop of moisturizer. How pleasantly wrong I was. After reading through the prescription bottles (oh please, you do it, too), I stumbled upon a Holy Grail combo: Sothys serum and Sisley cream. Judging by everything else in the vicinity — $2 shampoo, disposable razor, empty toilet paper roll — these were clearly not his purchases.
As I layered on the expensive French formulas, I imagined the woman who had put them there. She had money and a family with a summer house, I assumed, and damn good taste. She'd probably gotten a few facials in Paris. I liked the idea of her. More than that, I liked waking up with the same soft skin I was used to waking up with in my own bed. Some might bristle at the reminder of a date's past partner — but if the skeleton in the closet is Sisley, I count it as a blessing.
I, too, left behind some treasures in a former boyfriend's medicine cabinet: Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum, Laura Mercier Rose Nourishing Oil, and enough makeup to ensure the new girl wouldn't need to run home for her smoky eye palette or lipstick if she were to be surprised with a fancy date night. There's a good chance he tossed them after our breakup — I can concede that I may have overstepped the bounds of reasonable product storage — but I like to think I've been a beauty fairy godmother to his later Tinder hook-ups. And so, a proposal for a small act of sisterhood: When you leave the relationship, leave the moisturizer, too. Tuck it behind the Barbasol and Irish Spring for the next girl to find on a night she'll be brushing her teeth with her finger and sleeping in her contacts. After all, you're moving on to greener pastures — but don't you hope there's some leftover Caudalie when you get there?

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