Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hairball of the week

For the record, let it be known I am not a girly girl. I have had two manicures in my entire life. Both were for weddings that ended in divorce. (Only one was mine.) When Hockeyman and I made it official, I wore a blue minidress, black suede pumps, and surgical steel hoop earrings. At age 29, I'd finally decided to have my ears pierced. They were still healing when we married. Our wedding bands came from a mall kiosk. (We've upgraded: I wear my mother's band. No diamond. He wears a Celtic wedding band.)

I think I put some stuff in my hair. One of my houseguests brought it, and since her hair looked good, I thought mine would, too. I did not do my nails or wear make-up.

I now take basic care of my nails, which are short and unpolished. I don't like the idea of strangers manipulating my extremities with sharp implements. As for facials, why waste your time and money? Massages are great, especially when you suffer from migraines and carpal tunnel. No scented oils from distant islands or Enya tapes are necessary. Just a strong pair of hands.

But here is Fran Glennon on taking nine-year-old Emma along to the spa:

“Between her activities, my work, you end up trying to fit it all in,” said Ms. Glennon, a nurse, as she and Emma sat in the spa’s cafe. “We’re all so busy. Here you’re out of the house so you really can focus on each other. You’re spending time together.”

Emma was 3 when Ms. Glennon first took her along to her nail salon because she thought it would be silly to pay for a baby sitter. Now she takes Emma to the spa for the occasional treat."

Say what? First off, why is it necessary to be out of the house to spend time together? What's grabbing Fran's attention? The nanny? the cleaning lady? Kids are generally want attention from their parents: what you're doing is less important. I used to help my mom sort laundry. When her mother grew frail, the two of us spent Saturday afternoons in the supermarket, each of us pushing a cart, consulting a list: one for our family, one for my grandmother. We then dropped the groceries at home, where my siblings put them away, and continued to my grandmother's apartment, where we put her groceries away ... and, incidentally, got to spend some "quality time" (God, I hate that expression) with her. Yeah, we were "out of the house," but nobody was rubbing Belgian oils into my unlined forehead. There was the added benefit of helping both my mother and grandmother.

Consider the costs associated with this quality time:

"But to bond at these places requires disposable income. At Sothys, the mini-facial for children is $75 (a deep-cleansing facial with exfoliation for adults is $110), and a package that includes a children’s facial, manicure and pedicure can cost $127. (Still, it is possible to get a $10 manicure at a corner salon.)"

Experts note this emphasis on beauty procedures may send the wrong message to impressionable girls; notably, that to be pretty one must expend much time, energy, and money on activities that ultimately do little to improve on nature. Yeah, it might send the wrong message... if all those billboards and magazines touting emaciation don't get 'em first.

I understand parents are crunched for time. But $75 buys a lot of books...or groceries for kids in need...as for $127, why not just open the window of your classic six and toss the bills down the folks sleeping in the streets? Further, what will these girls come to expect as teenagers? Canyon Ranch Weekends? Prada handbags? Will their fiscal realities match their desires? Will they seek mates capable of providing these frivolities? Or find high-paying, time consuming work, bear children in their forties, and take them along for kiddie facials, as their mothers did?

Will the Emmas of the world notice we are about to engage in yet another war in the Middle East? That we're wrecking the planet? That the Acrtic was once covered in ice caps? Will they care? Or will they be too worried about their toenail polish?

Three hairballs.

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