Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In the eye of the beholder.

When I was little, women went to the beauty parlor. In their Parlors of Beauty, there were no boys allowed. They had their hair washed and set in big curlers. They sat under giant dryers with ashtrays and movie magazines for half the afternoon. The hairdo was intended to last a whole week. This meant that they had a big wardrobe of see-through scarves that they’d snug around their perfectly set head and tie under their chin if leaving the house or doing something active, like buying cigarettes or sleeping. Scarves, besides being a super fly fashion accessory, kept wind and pesky creatures from messing up your ‘do so that it would last all the way until church on Sunday. For as you know, the Lord appreciates a tidy head.

Hair that had been to the beauty parlor required attention. Most styles involved long hair piled up like a wedding cake on your head. Combined with a “spit curl” pasted to each cheek, the up-do was the pinnacle of small town farm wife style. I’m not sure how men in those days kept their hands to themselves.

Several local ladies kept their spit curls taped down all day with pale pink tape made by the Goody company especially for this purpose. I can only assume that the tape was removed at some point for special occasions, but I figured asking about the pink tape was akin to asking why women needed their own designated napkins. Not something my young ears needed to hear.

There are still women walking around with 1970s set hair. I suppose it could be that they’re holding on to the past. Afterall, just looking in the mirror at their spectacularly crafted head and perfectly taped spit curls links them straight back to 1970, when they were young and beautiful, cigarettes were sexy, and a martini while pregnant was good for the nerves. Aquanet bad for the ozone? What the hell is the ozone?

Or could it be that regardless of the maintenance such beauty requires, Betty and Mildred and Rosemarie are positive that this is indeed the style made just for them? They’re confident that they look better this way than any other. Who needs a unisex ‘salon’ with their male hairdressers and current looks? Wash-n-wear hair? No. Thank. You. Give me the beehive and just the beehive and be on your way, Sergio.

Which brings me to my point:

I am going to wear my polo shirts with the collar up until the end of time and ain’t you or nobody else gonna stop me. I look really cool that way.


  1. My Dad drives Grandma to the salon every Saturday morning so that she can get her "wash and set." Frightening to think what must be crawling around in there by Friday night. I think it is awfully sweet of him to do this for her. I'm thinking that this generation of women have NO IDEA how to do their own hair. Or, maybe WE are all missing out on the fabulous social experience of hanging out with our friends and getting pampered every week. Maybe they were on to something.

  2. I am going to stop you. Unless you promise you won't stop me from wearing my leg warmers.



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