Lawrence of Suburbia and I told you I would keep going if you asked. Well you asked. I apologize I had promised the next installment and then life got in the way. I am posting the second installment of "Lawrence of Suburbia". Let me know if you want me to keep going.
Part II the Make-Over
Gladys arrived at the salon eager to be made-over. You see she had never felt pretty enough especially being compared to her beautiful older sister, Matilda. Gladys thought maybe now people wouldn’t compare her to her sister, but Matilda to her. Or at least they wouldn’t say things like “Your Matilda’s little sister? What happened to you?” She went in prepared to hand her Janis Joplin mane over to the master and let someone show her how make-up was supposed to be worn. She prepared by going in bare faced and her hair natural. Gladys had spent most of her youth hiding behind her hair, make-up and big baggy clothes. It was now time for the ugly duckling to turn into a swan. She gave herself over to who she hoped would be miracle workers.
First Jose, pronounced HO-Say, took Gladys to the chair and he ran his hands through her hair saying “Oh NO! Dis will nevah do! No, No too much red and not enough moisture. Dahling what do you wash your hair in? The toilet bowl?” She endured his criticism and his comments knowing that once his magic was weaved she would be incredible. He swirled the chair around and broke out a contraption that looked like a colander. Then for four hours he pulled strands of hair through the fruit strainer and would emit noises like “tsk, tsk” or “ah, yes”. Finally he had yanked and tugged and processed every single tiny nappy strand of hair on her head. She felt as if she had been scalped and all she could smell was something akin to toilet bowl cleaner. She began to think that Jose might really be the Tidy Bowl man and he had just turned her hair a refreshing toilet bowl blue. He sent her off with the shampoo girl who then put her under a dryer that was set to 5000 degrees and left Gladys there for several more hours. Shampoo-girl came back checked to see if she was done and then called to Jose. He came sniffed his sniff of approval and sent her to the shampoo bowl.
The shampoo girl smiled and sprayed Gladys' head with boiling water then applied a healthy dose of shampoo. It smelled like strawberries and cream, it smelled good enough to eat. “What kind of shampoo is that?” Gladys asked as her stomach growled. Shampoo girl smiled and said “This is a special mixture that Omar makes himself. He only uses it on his most special clients.” She breathed deep the sweet aroma of strawberries, cream and special. Gladys had never known that smell before, that smell of being special. Shampoo Girl finished it all off with a head and neck massage. She had never been to a salon where they did this and it was heaven. Special…she really liked the sound of this. Now she knew this is how movie stars and beautiful people were treated.
Shampoo girl ushered Gladys to another chair in the salon. This one was in a little room with pictures of beautiful women over the years. She sat waiting for her next treatment, hair wrapped in a towel, imagining that she too one day could be as beautiful as those women. A woman dressed in a gold satin jumpsuit came in and smiled “my name is Aurora; I am going to apply your make-up”. She turned a light on over head and took a magnifying glass and examined her face. Oh no, she is going to tell me my pores are too big or my skin is too sallow and send me out of here Gladys just knew she wouldn’t pass the test. Instead Aurora smiled and said “my what a lovely complexion you have”. Gladys breathed a sigh of relief and said “thank you I just wash it with soap and water.” Aurora began her speech on moisturizing and using a make-up remover that didn’t leave a residue. She continued to lecture about taking make-up off every night before going to bed. Gladys laughed. Evidently she did not understand living in a dorm that shut and locked the doors at 10 p.m. Aurora didn’t comprehend getting off from working a second job until 2 a.m. She didn’t understand that Gladys spent most nights sleeping in her car in the parking lot and not in her bed. Gladys nodded yes and took a vow to scrub and pat. Gladys would have agreed to smearing dog poop on her face, she just wanted to be liked. She finished and then spun the chair so Gladys could look in the mirror. Wow! Who was this person? Although she wasn’t quite movie-starrish she wasn’t too bad to look at.
Finally it was time to move on to the rest of her make-over. She sat in the chair and wondered what was next. Then she heard the familiar husky voice of Omar. “Hello, my little lovely” he crooned into her ear as he took the towel from her head. “Hi Omar!” Gladys chirped. He combed the tangles from her wet hair and pulled her locks out straight. He took his shears and in a move that would have made Edward Scissorhands pea green with envy he went to work on her unruly mane. She saw hair dropping and tried not to cry. Gladys had visions of having a bowl cut or worse, a pixie. She held her breath while he snipped away. She hoped and prayed that he would make her look beautiful and not like a dog inflicted with the mange. He then poured something into his hands and applied it to her hair. Again she smelled the familiar scent of strawberries and cream. It was the smell that she would forever relate to being special. Then with the skill of a master craftsman he wielded blow-dryer and brush and tamed her brillo-pad mane. He brushed some hair from her shoulder bent over and handed her a mirror then announced “you, my dear, are even more beautiful than before.” He spun the chair around and you know what? In just that moment, in just that instance, she did not feel like the little girl who was found under a rock. She felt like someone special. She felt beautiful. She gazed into what had to be a magic mirror and saw a really pretty girl. She saw someone who was not the knocked knee, geeky, loser girl who was always chosen last and forever compared to her beautiful older sister. She felt special.
Omar adjusted the strands of her frosted, cropped and feathered hair and said “now baby girl go see Frieda in the boutique. She has something for you.” Gladys was astonished at the magic these three people had performed. Who said you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? “Oh no Omar” she cried “You’ve done much too much already.” He smiled an endearing smile and said “Oh no my little one you don’t understand. This is as much for me as it is for you. I would very much like to photograph you for my brochure.” A model? All four foot eleven inches and sixty-eight pounds of her? A model? If Gladys had a tail it would have been wagging. She was floating on a cloud. Was this a dream?
She shyly entered the boutique where she found a tall thin woman with copper penny red hair in a deep purple flowing silky dress. She put held Gladys at arms length and said “Oh, you are tee-tiny. I hope I have something that will fit you. Well if we don’t we will make it fit.” She then floated through the store her silky dress flowing like water around her. Gladys trudged after her in her cowboy boots and holey jeans, feeling like a plow-hand instead of a “model”. Then Frieda emitted a melodious purr and she said “this will be perfect for you.” She held in her hands a beautiful length of fabric. Gladys squealed with delight and rushed to touch it. Frieda sized it up and said “this will work beautifully!”
Gladys started into the dressing room and Frieda followed her. Gladys stopped thinking maybe she wasn’t suppose to try the dress on but Frieda urged her forward. Frieda grabbed her little protégé’ and began removing clothes until she got down to her undergarments “No, No my little one” she chided “these will never ever do.” She glided out of the cubicle and returned in a few minutes with beautiful lacey under-things that made Gladys’ J.C. Penny brand look like flour sacks. Frieda dressed her and made the necessary adjustments putting pins here and tucking fabric there. She turned her from side to side and when it all met with her approval she sent Gladys out to look in the mirror.
The dress fit like a glove and her hair and make-up were perfect. Gladys began to cry. She cried because she had never looked at herself and thought the word beautiful. She cried because she was afraid she would never look like that again and she cried because she didn’t want that feeling of special to go away. Frieda rushed to her and said “little one you must stop crying. You will ruin your make-up.” Gladys sniffed and dried her eyes. She looked at Frieda and was overcome with gratitude.
Omar set up his lights and used the décor of the boutique as his backdrop. He took picture after picture. He murmured words of encouragement all the while snapping pose after pose. Gladys felt it was a dream. He finished the photo shoot and she hugged him in gratitude. She hugged all of her miracle workers.
Then all too soon her day was over. She floated out of the salon and back into Gladys’ real world. She went to work that evening feeling more special than she had ever felt.
to be continued.....
1 week ago