Sunset and Camden


37, college grad, 2x married, one son, one stepdaughter, four cats, one idiot dog, one very small house and small garden.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

A Hair Raising Bonding Experience

I just got back from Le Petit Salon, where I went with my stepdaughter to get our hair done. Hubby pre-paid for the 'works,' so we could have some girl time together. She and I will probably never be best buds or anything, but bless his heart, he keeps trying to help. (Although I did embarrass her by ascertaining ahead of time that the salon would only use cruelty-free products, so I wouldn't get any nasty surprises. That earned me the infamous eye-roll.)

Now, it is a fact that I am NOT a girly girl. I have often envied girly girls and wished I could be more feminine, but alas, it is not to be and I've accepted that. I like to play in the dirt and let the cats chew my fingernails. I like not having to fuss. It is one of the things my husband loves about me...he likes being with a woman who can be ready to go and waiting in the car in ten minutes flat. I am also occaisionally willing to sit at Starbucks and gawk at women with him. (And before you go ewwww, ladies, realize that you do the same thing. We all do. We're hardwired to check out the competition. The only difference is that while most women are thinking of ways to 'keep that woman away from my man,' I'm thinking...hey, nice boobs. I wonder if they're real?) On the other hand, my general inability to create the perfect home, due to a deficient nesting gene, tends to exasperate him. To my way of thinking, as long as no one comes down with a tropical disease from my slap-dash homemaking efforts, we're good to go.

But my stepdaughter is a girly girl, and she despairs of me ever looking what she calls acceptable. (She says I'm a walking hair emergency.) So when we go to the salon, she instructs me to just put my head in the hands of the stylist and shut up. She was done before me, and then spent the entire time the woman was working on my hair deep in consultation about what should be done to fix my head. This is no easy task; I have a tendency to simply chop off any stray hair that gets in my way, and as a result I look like my hair was styled by Black and Decker. But between the two of them they figured that I needed some body to my 'do, some perkiness. Oh, dear. I don't do perky. Manic, sometimes. Stressed, often. Completely nutty, always. But never perky.

The stylist, in conjunction with Courtney, decide that I need 'product' in my hair, which amounts to some smelly mousse stuff. I do my silly thing, making a face and saying "MOOOSSSSaaaaka!" in a series of odd voices. I get another eyeroll. The mousse gives my head that 'just been licked by a water buffalo' look, so that idea goes out the window.

Courtney then says, "I always try to give her some curl in the back with a round brush. Her hair needs to come up a bit." The stylist, who I am now secretly referring to as La Petit Napoleon due to the fact that she is yanking the comb through the dried mousse with the force of category five tornado, making my scalp feel like the loser at Waterloo, agrees with her. Courtney points to a tubular device that looks like something only a Borgia would love, and says, "My mom has one of those. They work really well." (MAJOR brownie points for correct use of the word 'well,' MAJOR irritation because her mother is now intruding on OUR time. Oh, well. She is the child's mother. It's not like I can make her disappear, more's the pity.)

The stylist picks the thing up and proceeds to squoosh my hair in it, pulling it up in a circle. Suddenly, I notice smoke coming off of my head. Fighting my panic, I say with forced nonchalance, "Say, why does it do that steamy smoke thing?" La Petit Napoleon replies, "Oh, it's just burning off water and mousse." My heart rate skyrockets. The words 'burning off' are not words I want anywhere near my head. But then I look over at Courtney, who is now clapping her hands and making ooh-ooh noises at the curl in my hair, and I resign myself to Kentucky Fried Tresses. This is for her benefit, after all, and I wouldn't want to scar her for life by leaping out of the chair, running from the shop, screaming "Fire!!"

And the funny thing is, as the gal goes around my head, scorching the curl into the ends, other people in the salon start to notice and nod approvingly. I think, well, maybe the kid is right. Maybe my hair does look okay. I'll just wait until she's done and then look.

Big mistake. When I see the finished product, I look -exactly- like I've stuck my finger in a lightsocket. For some reason, everyone in the shop seems to think this is a great style for me, so I just swallow the lump in my throat and go into 'nodheadsmilenicely' mode. I give the stylist a tip, and make my way on shell-shocked legs to the counter, where I pay an obscene amount of money for special hair products for Courtney's hair which, by the way, looks fantastic and a little too adult for her face. How did I end up looking like Herman Munster's mistress and she looks like Princess Amelia? There is no justice in this world.

All in all, we did have a good time. I really enjoyed the scalp massage. I almost fell asleep. And the stress-inducing hair style notwithstanding, I would say the experience was worthwhile. Then again, check back with me next weekend. I'm letting Courtney have a hookie day off from school so we can go get facials. I just know I'm going to end up with Cruella DeVille waving a zit sucking machine in my face while she ends up kicking it with a soothing avocado face mask and copy of Teen People. Oh, well, no one ever said stepparenting would be painless. I just didn't realize that meant losing a layer of skin in the name of beauty.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

It's Just So Pathetic

I am one sorry individual. I really mean that; I'm pathetic. But I'm not complaining about it. It's just the way I am. I've come to terms with my sorryness, and I'd like the chance to explain why. (Insert nap here.)

It occurred to me recently that I do some really dumb things. Take my email, for example. When I first re-entered the digital world after a long absense, I got tons of spam and junk mail. Some of it from my mother, who can't seem to remember which 'jokes that have been around the internet since the days of green text bulletin boards' forward she has sent me which she has not. Therefore, I've received the oh-so-hilarious "How to Tell if You're a Redneck Californian" email about five times.

But after a while, the mail stopped coming. It got a little lonely logging in to see the 'check mail' button all dark and dreary. So I started sending mail to myself. And I signed up for several newsletters from highly reactionary groups (PETA, for one) just so that I would get regular mail. I admit it; that's pathetic.

My job is rather solitary. It wouldn't be if I had a co-worker, but I work for a very cheap city and they won't replace anyone who quits; they just expect me to do it all myself. As a result, I've developed the habit of talking to myself in the stacks. (I work in a library.) After a while the desk clerks started to poke a little good-natured fun at me. In retaliation I started talking to myself -all- the time, so that they won't know whether I'm talking to them or not. But mostly I talk to myself because I think I'm a brilliant conversationalist. I like to hear myself talk, and I think the books are starting to respond. See what I mean? Just soooo pathetic.

I get excited over the dumbest things. I found a great new tea flavor the other day and it actually made me so happy I started dancing around the kitchen. I get worked up over things that, about ninety seconds from now, won't matter. I found some trash in the stacks this morning and was apoplectic for about ten minutes. Most people would just roll their eyes and throw it away, but me? I had to announce the presence of trash to the rest of the staff at our weekly meeting. PATHETIC!

Then again, being pathetic has its good points. It means I pay attention to details. (Except where the floor is concerned. I hate floors.) It means I'm rarely bored, because just about anything and everything amuses me. (Except for all those idiotic webtoons my husband insists are the funniest thing since Lenny Bruce. Well, okay the one about outsourcing -was- hilarious.) It means I'm willing to allow my children to tell me how pathetic I am about what's cool and I just nod my head and agree that I'm hopeless. I know that makes them feel superior for a few minutes until I start bossing them around again, so that's a good thing. It means that I'm willing to spend twenty-five minutes every darn day going to each and every charity website and clicking on the button that guarantees that a large corporation will donate a dime to breast cancer research, or homeless shelters, or rainforest conservation.

Being Pathetic also means that I don't care about looking like an idiot anymore. I am the worst singer on the planet, but I've come to the conclusion that no one else cares if I suck, so I'm going to sing my heart out. My kids love this about me, so at least I have a cheering section when we go to karaoke. In fact, I take a certain perverse pleasure in singing 'White Rabbit' in front of our friend Dave, because it makes him cringe. It means I'm willing to do the Yoshi dance with my kids in public and fall about laughing because I already know I'm pathetic and I don't have a reputation to protect anymore. I can't get any less cool than I am, so I'd rather try to be pathetically happy.

It's not so bad, being professionally pathetic. Plus, my embarrasment skills are finely tuned just in time for the kid's adolescent years. I can put on a pathetic show for their friends that will give them something to talk about for whole minutes at time! See? We Pathetic People have a special purpose in life: gossip fodder! Say it once, say it loud, I'm Pathetic and I'm Proud!

Now...that's pathetic.