Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's a Parlor, a Bee-you-tee Parlor

A few days ago I started a blob writing that there were three things I wanted to write about. Well, a senior moment or if you prefer, a brain fart, and I have no memory of the things I wanted to share. Lucky for all our loyal readers, there is never a time when I can’t think of something else.

When I was in high school, my mother, who was always colorful, decided that she should be a beautician. In our family, when someone decided they wanted to do something—it was never half-assed. Like my Uncle Lou decided it would be fun to have a toy store—in his basement. It was a virtual Toys R Us. My guess is that he bought all the toys he wanted to play with, after which he gave them to us. Or there was the time my Uncle Jack told us he had a silver mine…. Never mind, back to the hairdresser.

There was a “finished” basement in our house. Not fancy, but finished enough – I’ll get back to that. Anyway, it was never clear as to whether or not mom ever got her beauty license, but she was never one to stand on ceremony. She was, as I said, not one to do anything half heartedly. So she created the perfect little beauty salon in a space that was finished but other wise unused. We had a black salon sink. A pink chair that could be used for washing, dying, rinsing, and then setting. A 1956 hairdryer that looked like an old fashioned space helmet, (I have since made it into a very cool lamp which lights up when you close the plastic top) and a few chairs in which customers could lounge. Her customers were friends and family – no one who would ever turn her in to the authorities.

As it happens, she had quite a feel for her newly chosen profession. (There were a multitude of other kinds of work she attempted. But this was the most fun for me and all my friends.) Because when she wasn’t playing beauty parlor, we were. Talk about exciting. We practiced curling, and waving, and perming and we once dyed my friend Joyce’s hair green. She was not happy when she realized that despite our efforts to convince her that the light was making it look green, it was a pretty bright green.

Until yesterday, it had been a long time since I got to play beauty parlor. But thanks to my cousin Joan (an expert with a flat iron,) yesterday we played beauty parlor or hair salon – whichever makes you more comfortable. It was such fun we didn’t bother with the washing part of the program, but having had my hair curly for so many years, we skipped right to the straightening. I should mention that when I had my hair cut a few days before, my stylist did straighten it – so I was desperate to see if it could be done again. And yes it could. In fact when my stylist did it, it looked remarkably like a wig. When Joan did it, it looked absolutely adorable (my hair not my face).

There are those moments when you are so comfortable in a simple situation, that you wonder why you can’t always feel that way. It might be when you are eating a peanut M&M, giving a hug to someone special, holding hands, trying on old clothes, or playing beauty parlor with some product and a flat iron. For whatever it’s worth, those moments and feeling like you are smiling inside as well as out, are the moments that make everything not so great, OK. We're just sayin'... Iris

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