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Posted: December 4, 2011 12:30 a.m.

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Beauty and the Beast

I've been told that I am persnickety and too set in my old school ways about some things and not an easy sell when it comes to change. I like things a certain way, and if it works I don't see any good reason to change anything. I'm quite content to sacrifice style for comfort even though it drives Sweet Pea and the kids crazy that I have a closet full of clothes I haven't worn in ages. Sooner or later they'll either come back into style, or I'll finally lose that weight and be able to get into those skinny jeans again.

I've never been one to follow the latest fads or trends and my daughter says I definitely have my own sense of style. I just can't seem to get her to understand that what looks good on her does not necessarily look good on me. No matter what she wears it looks great on her and no matter what she does to her hair it looks great whether it's short, long, blonde, brunette or any shade in between. We're alike in a lot of ways, but when it comes to good looks and being in great shape, she certainly doesn't get it from her mom.

I love my daughter more than anything, but it drives me crazy that she can eat whatever she wants and never gain an ounce, whereas I gain weight just thinking about it. She can wear whatever she wants and it looks great on her while I have to try on everything in the store to find something that fits and flatters, and that is not easy to do, especially for a forty-something-year-old woman. I've never liked shopping and trying on clothes (much to my mother's dismay).

Another thing my mom tried to talk me into was getting my hair cut short. I protested and refused and gave her a thousand reasons why that was such a bad idea and daddy had a few of his own too. Somehow she tricked me into it and I got my hair cut short one time, hated it and vowed it would never happen again.

That was a traumatic experience that left me scarred both mentally and emotionally even thirty years later. I don't remember how I got conned into it, but I have a sneaky feeling it had something to do with dinner the night before.

I am convinced that a lot of my mother's ways have rubbed off on my daughter and they are secretly in cahoots in trying to change my style. When I started graying in my early thirties, my mother suggested I let it go natural, but Miss Clairol came to my rescue and has been my best friend since.

When it comes to my hair there's only a select few I entrust my tresses to. There's a few things you should know about beauticians before letting them touch a hair on your head. One thing is beauticians like to talk, especially with a pair of scissors in hand and the more they talk, the more they cut. Another thing is beauticians have hearing problems so when you say ‘just a trim' they hear ‘a few inches' and some of us don't have much to begin with. After they work their magic with scissors, trimmers and the like comes the ‘styling' part, and that's the third thing about beauticians. They love to try new styles on their unsuspecting customers, and, of course, the customer always smiles and says "I LOVE it!!" I guarantee you as soon as they get in their car and check their mirror, their reaction is "What was she thinking? God willing, I'll fix this as soon as I get home!" And heaven help you if you're brave enough to let your beautician have total control of your hair. A cut and style is one thing but color is another. In short, beware of that big smile when you tell your beautician you want the works.

My cousin joined my mother and daughter in their efforts to convince me to change my hairstyle and you'd think after that first traumatic catastrophe all those years ago I'd have learned my lesson. The real lesson here is do not experiment with change at certain times in a woman's life, especially when hormones and emotions are all out of whack, specifically PMS, childbirth, menopause and other life changing milestones. I found myself convinced that a new change was needed and went for the works, cut, color and highlights. I suppose two out of three ain't bad, and I didn't notice her little sign until after it was all said and done. The sign summed it up perfectly: "I am a beautician and not a magician." When she spun the chair around and handed me a mirror a familiar wave of shock came over me. It may take more than thirty years to get over this traumatic experience this time around, but time is not on my side and patience has never been my best virtue, and I am at the mercy of my sweet little beautician.

Luckily Sweet Pea was driving and he did his very best to assure me it looked fabulous, bless his little heart. After all ‘it's just hair and it will grow back' he reasoned but at this point in our lives, it doesn't work like that. Instead of growing back, it starts thinning and falling out and I look worse with no hair than I do with short hair and there ain't a hat around to improve my bad hair days. The worst part is nobody recognizes me with my new do and I get strange looks and whispers from people who think something happened to Sweet Pea's wife or Kevin and Whitney's mom, but it's the same old me. However, I've already decided what I'm asking Santa for this year and if I'm lucky, by next Christmas everything will be back to normal.

Beth Rowe may be reached at


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