While I was getting my nails done today (big, once-a-month treat) a young woman came in with her daughter. The little girl was wearing a special dress with a velvet sleeveless top and a longish skirt of lace and pink taffeta (“Target,” her mom said when I asked), and her hair was pulled up in a ballerina’s bun on top of her head. “It’s her birthday today, so she would like her nails polished, please,” her mom said. The Korean nail ladies made a fuss over her and asked how old she was. “Six, today,” she said.
For some reason this made me remember being taken to the beauty salon in Clarksville by my sister Juanita. I don’t remember if I had been before, but I was entranced by the whole experience. The beautician trimmed my bangs while Juanita was getting a proper ’60s haircut and styling–no blow dryers back then! Rollers and pin curls and those dryers with big metal bonnets were the norm, and the smells were strong with perfume.
I had been admitted to a world where you were pampered and made beautiful. And I had no doubt at all that I was beautiful! The finishing touch was a hairpin with a large fake diamond, which the beautician used to help keep the stray hairs from my ponytail in place. I was thrilled.
I still feel pampered and treated when I go to the salon now. I’m no longer convinced I’m beautiful, alas. The face in the mirror doesn’t look like it did. But it’s still nice to come out looking better than when you went in, and to feel taken care of for an hour or two. I hope all little girls get the chance to feel special that way, at some point before the pains of growing up set in.