I took my mother to a beauty shop today. Bonnie washed my mother’s hair with something called Glimmer and Shine which supposedly makes gray hair look less dull and has purple bubbles. “But you don’t want to wash twice with it. It can make your hair look blue,” she advised. I thought I might want to use it to wash my hair three or four times.
She carefully divided my mother’s hair into a grid-like pattern, each box of the grid’s hair held by a curved long-nosed clip. Bonnie worked her way around my mother’s scalp unclipping and cutting while keeping up chatter about Angelina Jolie and her eight year old daughter Shiloh, who wants to be a boy.
Bonnie sprayed a variety of hair products in my mother’s hair and used a hot iron to curl it, the hot rod kept away from her head by a skillfully placed blue comb. With the rolled curls around her head, my mother looked quite like George III.
Her hair was teased and sprayed, teased and sprayed, teased and sprayed again. By the time we were ready to leave, my mother’s hair was quite solid. “Is that enough hair spray, Pearl?”
“Maybe a little more.”
My mother put on her Phyllis Diller glasses, which took a long time to do, looked at herself in the mirror and said, “I like it.” Though her neck is quite stiff, she was able to move it slightly to the right and left to get a more three-dimensional view of the sculpture her hair had become.
And so, a bit of beauty was purchased today at the proverbial beauty shop. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if all such complex, nuanced, and abstract ideas were available for purchase at shops— the justice shop, the truth shop, the spirituality shop. Maybe we would all function a lot better if we knew there were places to go to purchase some peace of mind when our spirits are deflated and everything around us seems to be falling apart.
For my mother, at least, solid beauty suffices.