It’s 6 a.m. and as I wearily walk down the hall to retrieve my first cup of coffee, I notice a light coming from underneath my daugther’s door. As I approach, I can hear the sounds of “morning radio” permeating the hallway.
I’m curious now; school isn’t for another two hours. I knock on the door and there she is, sitting on the floor in front of her full length mirror, carefully curling her hair.
“What are you doing up so early?” I ask.
She responds in typical 15 year-old fashion–eyes rolled, and with obvious distaste for the question, she responds, “Curling my hair.”
“I can see WHAT you’re doing; just why so early?” I query.
She throws me an exasperated look and proceeds to explain that it takes her almost TWO HOURS to get ready for school.
I close the door, dumbfounded. Two hours? Paris Hilton doesn’t take that long to get ready, I ponder to myself. To add to my bewilderment, I note that Shannon showers…before she goes to bed at night. That means her time in the morning is spent solely on her hair and make up!
Now, granted, she is beautiful and I say that not only because she is mine and I am biased, but because it is the truth. I recognize that starting high school can wreck havoc on a young girl’s self esteem and how everyone is judged on what they wear and how they look. I thought that enrolling Shannon is a modeling class would help her with her grace and poise; to help her embrace being 5’8 1/2 and make her feel better about herself. I may have created Frankenstein’s monster…
Back in the day, when I was in high school, big hair was the look du jour. (I knew taking French in high school would one day pay off…) Although it was just as fashionable in the ’80’s to spend hours getting ready, I was just never that girl. I would roll out of bed 30 minutes before my first class, throw on something comfortable, apply my black eyeliner and black mascara while driving and dry my hair by sticking my head out of the window. I remember going over to my girlfriend Christine’s house and watching as she and her sister would sit on wooden “bar” stools in their bathroom and perfectly apply their make up and meticuliously curl their hair. Needless to say, they had a lot more dates in high school than I did…
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Which got me to thinking: where did Shannon acquire this aptitude for beauty? It certainly wasn’t from me, clearly, and I don’t ever remember her father being “metrosexual.” As a matter of fact, he wore socks with sandals, so it most definitely wasn’t from him. At this point, I don’t dwell on her perfectly coiffed hair, pulled together outfits or impeccable make up; but I do keep an eye on this obsession. I don’t want it to be the main focus in life and I believe that eventually, she will be less concerned with how she looks and more with who she is. So while she works on her physical perfection, I foster her talents, cultivate her sense of humor, and nurture her other attributes that make her special and unique. And when I spy her sans make up, hair pulled back in a ponytail, kicking back on the couch eating ramen noodles, I remind her then how beautiful she is, especially inside.