Author: Laurie Kendrick

Just fabulous!

Fran and The Clothes Hamper: A True Story

It was June, 1967 and I was eight years old.

Earlier that year, my parents decided to break free of the shackles of abject middle classdom and create nothing short of a castle for themselves and their children.

So, on a hill in the little traveled part of the small South Central Texas berg we called home–on land owned by maternal grandfather (and given to us gratis) , Mother and Daddy built a five bedroom monstrosity–replete with gables, a billiard room, a foyer with a 22 foot ceiling,  a multi-car garage, an intercom system…and all the other 60’s era trappings that would tell the slack-jawed yokels who’d come to gawk, that the Kendrick’s had in fact, “arrived”.

This home was my mother’s self described “dream home” and in the first half of ’67, she and my father made frequent trips to an architect in San Antonio to fine tune the blueprints. On this particular day, they were going back to the architect to resolve a kitchen issue and would be leaving the minute Daddy got back from a breakfast meeting.

School had only been out for summer break a few days and I’d already gotten in trouble and getting  grounded was my punishment. I can’t even remember the infraction, but I was forbidden to leave the house, nor could I invite anyone over.   This included a moratorium on playing with Fran, a lifelong friend who was a year younger and lived next door.

My oldest sister, Kathy–in all her 14 year old authority– would serve as warden and baby-sitter that day.

My father finally drove up into the garage and started honking the car horn, which was code for “wife, get out here and let’s leave”.  Out the door went Mater with a final warning, reminding me that I was NOT to step foot out of the house, nor could anyone come over to play.

“Yes..yes.  Have a safe trip. We’ll see you both when you get back from San Antonio this afternoon. Bring us back a surprise”.

And off they drove.

I went to the den and flipped on the TV. Three channels and nothing was on. I’d read every book. Every “Highlights Magazine” hidden picture had been found. There wasn’t anything to do.

The phone rang. It was Fran.

“Hey Laur, watcha doin’?”

“Nuthin’. I’m really bored. Watchu doin”?

“Nuthin’, I’m bored too. Wanna meet in the alley and play? Or climb trees in Dr. Buck’s back lot?”

“Nah, I can’t. Mom and Dad left  for San Antonio and I’m grounded and can’t play outside or anything”.

“Then can I come over? Then maybe we can make Brownies in your  Easy-Bake oven!  Or maybe we could make some Incredible Edibles?”

“Sounds fun Fran, but Kathy is baby-sitting me and I’m not supposed to have anyone over”.

“Well, make a deal with her!”

“OK, hold on. Let me think of something”.

Just as I put my hand over the receiver and yelled “Kathy???” she walked in the room and firmly said “No!”

“But I haven’t asked you anything yet!”

“It doesn’t matter, the answer is still no”.

She plopped down in a chair and started reading a magazine. She was thumbing through a story about the fab/gear countenance of The Beatles.

“Fran, she said no. I guess we can’t play today”.

“Come on, Laurie, she’s a teenager. Can’t you convince her? Do something. Try blackmail!”

I thought for a minute.

” Kathy, remember a few weeks ago when you had that mark on your neck?”

She put her magazine down and looked at me with an eyebrow slightly raised. “Yeah, it was from an accident in Science class…so what?”

“Yeah uh-huh, I know that’s what you told Mom and Dad, but since when are Tommy Bronwin’s lips considered “science class”?

“What are you talking about?”

“It was a hickey and NOT a mark caused by getting too close to the Bunsen Burner at school, Kathy. I overheard you and Wanda on the phone. You were talking about making out with Tommy”.

Kathy looked angry. She slammed the magazine down right on Ringo face.

“OK, what do you want in exchange for your silence?”

“I won’t tell Mom and Dad about the hickey, if you let Fran come over and play.”

“OK, but she has to leave before they get back which should be around four this afternoon. If she comes over now, that leaves you guys a few hours to play. So, we have a deal, right?”

“Right”. I picked up the receiver once again. “OK, come on over.”

We hung up and Fran rang the front doorbell in a matter of minutes.

We immediately went to my room to play with my Little Kiddles and their self contained dollhouse.  Fran and I marveled that my dolls had been out of their plastic perfumed bottles for weeks and still smelled like strawberry, lilacs and one scent we couldn’t identify.

When we tired of  Kiddling, we moved on to “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots”. Fran knocked my block off. Then, we switched to playing “Operation”.   Just as I was about to remove the appropriately shaped “wrenched ankle”, Fran said she was thirsty.

She followed me to the kitchen where in the fridge, there was an ice cold pitcher of “Rootin’ Tootin’ Raspberry”, the newest flavor in the “Funny Face” cavalcade of powdered drinks. Just as I was pouring her a glass, I heard Kathy scream.

“They’re back! Oh no! Mom and Dad are back early. I just heard the car pull up in the drive way. Get rid of Fran! Get rid of Fran!!! If they find her here, we’ll both be grounded for life and I’ve got another Bunsen Burner session planned with Tommy Bronwin this weekend!”

Kathy was in a panic.

I wasn’t. I would calmly take Fran out the front door….but wait!!!! Was this possible??? Mom was coming through that door. Damn! She’d gone around the front to get the mail. My father was entering through the back door. We were being tag teamed! All escape routes were blocked. There was only one thing to do:

I had to hide Fran and the only place I could think of :   the built-in clothes hamper in my parents’ bathroom.

Why there? I don’t know. It seemed like the perfect place; the ONLY place to hide her at the time.

I shoved Fran inside and closed the small, double doors just as my father was entering the bathroom. He told me in no uncertain terms to “get the hell out” and shut the door behind me. Something was obviously wrong. He didn’t look well.

I went into the kitchen just as mother was putting the mail on the table.

“What’s wrong with Daddy?”

“Oh, he had Mexican food at his breakfast meeting this morning and you know what it does to his stomach. We had to make three emergency bathroom stops on the way to San Antonio before we decided to turn around and come back home”.

Just then, I heard the bathroom fan power up. Uh-oh. Either  he was firing up the hibachi or this was a doodoo situation of massive proportions.

I sat at the table with my mom as she sorted through the mail. I tried to figure out what to do. Fran was trapped in that cramped clothes hamper in a hot, tiny bathroom with my father, apparently in full intestinal distress.

What should I do? Was Fran OK?

Five minutes went by and suddenly, the whole ridiculous reality of what was happening struck me as funny and I started giggling. Mother asked me why I was laughing and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I knew I’d be grounded until I was fifteen, but I had to do something because I started worrying about Fran’s mental and physical health.

Just then, the door of the bathroom opened and my father walked out and announced that he was feeling better and that he was going back to the office to get some work done. As he left the house, I told Mom to follow me into the bathroom.

She was muttering something about me having a “death wish” for forcing her to enter the bathroom.    When we got to the door, “it” hit us.   The atmosphere was–for lack of a better adjective–“thick”.   It was horribly, HORRIBLY obvious that the Mexican food breakfast my father had eaten earlier, had retaliated in a most egregious way. It’s exit from its tubular prison in my father’s lower G.I. must’ve been loud, explosive and extremely painful experience for my father….. and for Fran.

I opened the hamper doors and peered inside.

There she was; silent, motionless. She was huddled in a semi-fetal position, in the far corner of the hamper. Her face was pressed against the wall. She turned to look at me, her eyes squinting in the bathroom light. She looked dazed, she was sweating profusely and her face was pale with a greenish hue.  Although they were dirty, the poor kid stuck two of my father’s black Gold Toe dress socks in each nostril, apparently in an attempt to thwart the stench.   She was clenching one of my mother’s bras.

I helped her out, pulling off soiled underwear and dirty shirts which had stuck to her sweat-soaked clothing. I gently removed the socks from her nose. Automatic reflex and I guess, survival mode took over–she fought me on it.

Mother lit matches and waived them around the room. Futile effort—they weren’t helping.   The odor was horrible.

Garbage scowl bad.

Bayonne, New Jersey  in August bad.

“Laurel Anne Kendrick”, my mother said in between gagging fits. “Would you care to explain why Fran is semi-conscious and lying in a pile of dirty clothes in the hamper in my bathroom while your father was making stinkies?”

I replied, “Not now Mom. Help me with Fran”.

The petite seven-year-old was shaking. Her strawberry blond hair was matted and damp. Mother and I grabbed each arm and we walked her into the kitchen, away from the “hot zone”. She was wobbly.

Fran sat down at the table and was trying to speak. The only thing intelligible was the word “water”. Mother poured her a glass and I asked her if she was OK.

She gulped down two full glasses before finally being able to say, “I’m fine”. She then took a deep breath, let it out through her mouth, then looked at mother and me. “But I think the bigger question is how’s your father?   I’m just a kid, but I’d say he’s pretty sick.”

We let Fran sit for a minute to compose, we then walked her to the front door and I apologized.  She said that I should forget about it, but the experience had allowed her to rule out nursing as a possible career.

She then rubbed the back of her head and retrieved a sock that had been hiding there.   She handed it to Mom.

I closed the door behind her and felt my mother’s glare on my back. I turned around slowly.   She was standing there, hands on hips and then she uttered the infamous one-word sentence that mother’s utter, “Explain!”

I told her what happened and instead of getting yelled at, she started laughing. She immediately went to the phone and called my father at his office and told him that he wasn’t alone in the bathroom.

Well, as expected, I was grounded for an additional month and lectured about the importance of privacy. My sister, Kathy was placed on house arrest for two weeks for her complicity in “the bathroom affair”.

My parents eventually got new house blue prints made to their exact specs and within a year, we moved into Casa Kendrick.  As time went by, we never talked about “Potty Gate”  very often,  but for a while there, Daddy instantly checked every cabinet large enough to contain a small child in every bathroom he entered, public or private.

Oh yeah…one more thing I should mention:  the new house had four bathrooms and not one of them had a clothes hamper…..built in or otherwise.

.

Globalization

IMG_2140

WIth President Trump in office, we hear so much about the term “globalization” these days.   With a successful businessman at the nation’s helm, the word might be more about a global marketplace.   Maybe,  but I think it represents how we’re all interconnected by the smallest and oddest of ways.   It explains how we’re separated  by mere degrees with Kevin Bacon nowhere in sight,

In order to define my version of globalization, (as odd as this might sound) we have to start with the death of Princess Diana,.   We’ll mark the 20th anniversary of her death this coming August.    Where as the time gone?

Anyway,  Diana was a very British woman.    Her gentlemen friend at the time was a wealthy Egyptian playboy. They crashed in a French tunnel while riding in a German car powered by a Dutch engine.

It was driven by a Belgian man who was supposedly drunk and had spent an evening slamming back (among other things) 12-year old Scotch.
Their car was being closely followed by mostly Italian Paparazzi riding on Japanese motorcycles.

Once Diana  arrived at the hospital, she was treated by many doctors—one was American trained who used numerous medicines which of course, had their origins in the flora and fauna of the Brazilian rain forest.

This post has been prepped and edited by me, a Texan of Polish descent. I used a computer which utilizes Taiwanese micro chips and processors and more than likely, the monitor is Korean-made.

Furthermore, my PC was probably assembled by Bangladeshi workers at a plant in Singapore, then transported by Indian lorry-drivers, who were then no doubt hijacked by Indonesians. They in turn, struck a deal with Sicilian Mafiosos who transported the cyber contraband to Senegal where it was handled and unloaded by Latvian dockworkers who did so under the supervision of an Armenian boss who sang Innuit whaling songs as he checked inventory.

It–my computer–eventually made it to the U.S, probably via a Malaysian trawler, then was unloaded at a harbor somewhere in Northern California by Russian stevedores. The computers were then driven en mass to Central Texas  by a Midwestern Teamster named Sven who’s wife is a Yap Islander named Matunga.

The computers were then offloaded by undocumented Peruvian workers at my friendly neighborhood “Computer Shack” which is owned by a Croatian conglomerate. This particular location is managed by a guy who was born in Romania, who owns two African Gray parrots, one Burmese python and he loves Greek food.   So much so, that he regularly dines at a little dive called “Takis Take Out” where all the food is made and served by Bolivian political refugees.  They recently catered a bon voyage party for a Cypryot family the night before they left for their vacation in Portugal.   The head cater waiter has grandparents from Malta.  His girlfriend is from Jersey, but currently living in New Zealand for a Swiss bank.

Lastly, I was dating a Mexican gentleman at the time this was composed and as I typed, I was drinking a Canadian beer.  The shirt I wore was given to me by an Israeli friend who defied the odds and married a lovely Palestinian woman who worked in Guyana, where she bought the shirt for her husband to give to me,   It read, “Save the Galapagos Turtles” and sewn by an 11-year-old seamstress of indigenous extraction who toiled in a Panamanian sweat shop for a few weeks back in 2009.

And THAT my friends, is the true definition of GLOBALIZATION!!!

The Lottery

“I only have to make it through the news”, she thought. “I just have to stomach the news.”

The lottery numbers were always announced just before the weather segment.  Usually, she could time it out and avoid hearing about  the bullshit in the world.    Why watch it, she would say, when she lived it.

But not tonight. This night she felt the need to be present….to see the numbers as they were announced.

She put her empty beer bottle down on a cluttered table, it was now one of five amidst a pile of final notices, junk mail and pill bottles; medication for a kind of pain nothing could quell.

The news intro ran and for the next 30 minutes, four beautiful people would give you the ugliest news of the day, all with a smile.

The lead story—–A suicide bombing somewhere the Middle East killed 26 people, including five children.

” I lost my boy eight years ago”, she said out loud. “Cancer killed my Paulie and it took four years to do it. Those kids were lucky.”

She sniffed and wiped her nose on her sleeve.

The balding man with the booming voice—–Jim somebody who’d been preaching from that six figure, televised pulpit for 17 years now, announced how drone strikes leveled a neighborhood in Syria.   She lived in a bombed out neighborhood in Detroit. What was the difference between a drone strike and all the GM plants closing down?

A car dealership commercial.

A second spot for pest control as she watched rosch make its way across her coffee table.

Now it was the blond’s turn to speak.   She was perfect, thin, coiffed hsir.  She’ could keep her composure in a tornado. Words about joblessness spewed forth from her young lips.

“That’s news???”, she asked. I haven’t had a job for four years.

There was a six car pile up on the interstate. Traffic was backed for hours, she didn’t care. Her car had been repossessed years ago. She rarely ever had enough money for bus fare and when she did have a spare buck or two, that went to buy beer, cigarettes and those precious slips of paper on lottery nights.

She insisted the  beer was vital, a part of her viewing ritual.

The cigarettes? Everything looked better through a smoky haze.

There was a story about a re-election bid for a politician. Why vote? Her alderman abandoned her neighborhood. Years ago.  The governor was as useless.

There was a shooting at a mall.   She heard gunfire all the time.

A four alarm fire in a furniture store. In her her neighborhood, arson gave the kids something to do.

The blond then announced the night’s winning lotto numbers would be announced “after this”.

Commercial. Commercial. Twenty second network promo.

And then the moment she had waited for. She lit up a cigarette and grabbed the last beer in the six pack.

6 21 34 43 49 51

She took a long drag from her cigarette.   She double checked her ticket.  Those were her numbers. Her numbers. The ones she always played.

Her age when Paulie was born

The age her son was when he died.

The day and month of an anniversary of a marriage that had had also died a long time ago.

The number of her first apartment.

The age she was the last time in life when she was really, truly happy.

She’d won a million dollars.

She looked around her dirty, cramped apartment. One window covered in foil. A filthy kitchenette with a small refrigerator that housed her beer.   A counter and two burners that were as cluttered as her table.

What could a million dollars do, she thought.   What could it have done?   Could it bring back Paulie?   Could it have helped her breathe life into a loveless marriage and kept Jim from walking out on her?   Would it have healed the broken relationship with her only sister?    Would it have prevented her mother from dying of dementia?

Would a million dollars  have made a difference?    When did it ever make a difference?

She stood up and took a swig of her beeer and caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror.  Her face was weathered and, she’d aged well beyond her years.     She’d won a million dollars, but it only meant she’d have money to solve the unsolvable.   Why bother?

She fell back into in her chair at clicked off the TV.   There was nothing left to watch.

“No winning ticket again, tonight”, she chuckled.

She placed the slip of paper in a box under her chair. In it, along with a lock of her only child’s hair, a bridal photograph of a woman she no longer recognized,  a  well worn magazine that had a spread featuring her as one of city’s first female CEOs, a diamond wedding band, there were two other lottery tickets, each one from other “winless” nights.

Birthday Plus One

 

 

IMG_2138

Yesterday, I turned 58.    Didn’t you see the skywriting?    The fireworks ?   Didn’t you feel the Earth’s  axis shift a smidge???

My family made a very big deal of my reaching this milestone at this particular  time in my life.  . I’m  grateful that they did.  The was tthe first birthday I’ve  celebrated in years.    I haven’t honored  my own birthday very much.   I’d ignore it since everyone else did, but that was my fault.   Why it was my fault isn’t important.   Just know that I’m aware I was to blame.   I accept that responsibility.

Anyway, my birthday celebration started in earnest on Friday afternoon. That was one stoned groove, people.

Then on Saturday, my sisters and niece whisked me away from the hills to be with other family members and that was equally delightful. I ate everything that was wrong and drank waaaay too much and now I’m so bloated that if I looked down and saw the word Hindenburg written on my stomach, I wouldn’t be surprised

As stated, it was the first real birthday celebration in years.    I remember one  a particular April 22.    It started like any other day and promised to end like any other day as well.      Ordinary.   Nothing special.     Usually, I was blaise about my birthday. but as the day progressed,   I began to feel sorry for myself,   I don’t remember the exact year,  but I know it fell  within a time I call,  “The Years of Without”.    Everybody has them at various points in life.   For me, I was broke as hell and either unemployed  or severely underemployed.   Still, I wanted to acknowledge my birthday, even  in some extremely limited way.

I desperately  searched old  jeans pockets, winter coat pockets, couch cushions and the floorboards of my car for any loose change I could find.    A four hour seatch resulted in about a buck -50.   I felt something  like a modern day Maccabee.

I walked across the street to a grocery store and bought a package of stale cupcakes in a bargain him.    I didn’t have any candles, so I found a match, lit it, stuck it in the middle of the cupcake and sang the traditional birthday song to myself,…. made a wish, well, it was more of a vow actually…..I  blew out the match, then cried.   I didn’t event eat the cupcake,   I didn’t want to deprive the mold and weavils from enjoying their desert.   So, I tossed it, but not my hopes that there would be better birthdays ahead.

Yes, I’m now 58 and I’ve never been this old before.    And yes,  I’m well aware that I’m no longer the cute, young, petite TV  news anchor.     I’m no longer the younger  smart ass morning show personality.    Yes, my body has morphed with age.  Time and tide have  made their marks.    And as I tried to state in a previous post,  I avoid mirrors .   The frightening possibility of turning to stone after viewing something so horrendous and traumatizing is too great.    So, I avert my gaze and avoid anything that offers a reflection of any kind.

And really, who needs a mirror when you have a blog??    Your physical reflection is one thing,  but a blog….providing you’re self involved enough, will allow you the self- indulgent luxury of seeing deep into within  your psyche, if you dare.   Your psyche can be like a cargo hold of a 777.    It’s stuff  you keep in a certain place and take it with  you everywhere you go.   You keep needlessly adding to it.    Like emotional hoarding.   That is, until you realize  jettisoning most of the emotional jetsam  is best.

You do it by  calling your own bullshit and trying to be a better you because your whole life has been spent not trying hard enough.     It was too easy to be uninvolved and self hating.    It’s all in the psyche,  baby.  That’s where the real Medusa can live and live quite comfortably, if you let her.   Banish her.   Snakey haired women make lousy emotional renters.

One again,  I’m pleased to report that for the first time in forever, I’m looking forward to the next 364 days.

The future Mr. Kendrick should be feeling the anticipatory tingle, too.

I don’t know him, where he his or his hair or eye color.   But I have a certain overview in my head.   He  should be very wealthy, well read, a UT football season ticket holder, an orphan, with no children or ex-wives. He’ll have no sense of smell, no libido whatsoever, he’ll demand  for the sake of space and sanity, we live In separate houses. He has a private jet, and a Maybach with a pilot and driver at my disposal. He’ll feel compelled to put me on all his accounts and will leave me all his money and be willing to sign a prenup I’ve authored.

Either that, or he’ll be a just an extraordinarily  good, honest and kind man who loves me and allows me to love him in return.   He’ll be patient and wise and generous with his time and affection.    From him, I’ll learn how to be a better person,   A better human.

He’ll teach me to see the beauty and magic in ordinary days.

I CANNOT wait.    I’ve always had a thing for certain teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday

It’s Earth Day  and my birthday.

The irony of April 22,   a day set aside for revering Mother Earth and while celebrating  the anniversary of  my birth isn’t lost on me or anyone who really knows me.   Considering the size of my carbon footprint,  it’s downright hilarious.

I’m 58.    My boobs  look like World War II era German hand grenades.    My butt is impersonating a church pew.    I found a long lost piece of jewelry betwixt one of my chins.   I have a suspicious mole and outbofnut are growing with two hairs and what looks like a small hand.   My stomach starts at my armpits, my arm fat undulates  like a stingray and other parts of my body I refuse to  look at.   The frightening  possibility  of turning to stone at viewing something so horrendous and traumatizing  is too great.  So, I avert my my gaze and avoid anything with a reflection.

And really, who needs a mirror when you have a blog.    Your reflection is one thing but a blog….providing you’re self involved enough, , allows you the self indulgence of seeing deep into your psyche.   That’s where the real Mesduxa lives.

Despite a butt that can  comfortably  seat a small congregation, I’m happy.  I don’t give numerology all that much credence, but I i seem to give better years when my  my chronological   age includes an odd and even number.    I fell madly in love for the first time at 12 in 1971.   I had a considerably good time in life at 19, 21 and 25 .     I began  a lucrative career at 36.   Retired  at 56 and  I started getting my shit together at 58.

I look forward to the next 364 days.

The future Mr. Kendrick be feeling the anticipatory tingle should, too

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

el

 

 

.

 

 

,   .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is It About Hair???

Actor/musician,  Lenny Kravitz was once quoted as saying:

“I needed to change my energy, so I cut my hair…..Now, I’m growing some new energy.”

And  then there’s whole Sansom story.    Samson was the last of the judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.    According to accounts, Samson had this heavy duty head of hair that as long as he never touched a strand on his head, he’s be allowed him to go all Chuck Norris on his enemies.   As the story goes, he killed a massive mountain lion in an instant.   He mowed  down an entire army with a donkey’s bone.   Imagine that!!  Just Samson and the ass of a jawbone.    No wait….that should be, the jawbone of an ass.

And then he had a major problem with this Philistines (I mean, back then, who didn’t?).  It’s said he destroyed one of their templess with his bare hands.   Wasted it.

Well after that, the Philistines were pissed!!   And they wanted revenge.

So, they approached Delilah, the most recent Mrs. Sansom.   They offered her 11-hundred silver coins to divulge the secret of his strength.    And what happens?   The yenta figures it out and has his head shaved while he slept.   With his hair gone, so was his strength and then the Philistines pounced!   Several other things  happened….there’s something the gouging of eyes, forced labor at a gristmil….end of story.

But why did Sansom think all his strength was in his hair?    Well, that was the prevailing thought among many of the ancients.    For starters, long hair on men was a part of a Hebrew Nazarite’s covenant with God.  Plus, they believed that a man’s strength was in his hair.   One possible reason for this is the optical illusion with corpses they’d observed.  They thought hair continued to grow after men (and women) who have died.      Wrong!    It’s just the flesh shrinks due to dehydration and as skin dehydrates,  it retracts giving the appearance that the hair (and the nails for that matter) continue to grow.

We put a lot of stock in hair.    Balding men want it.   Women spend a lot of time and money coloring and finding the right style and a stylist.    But the story goes a bit deeper with women.    It is common for women to make statements with their hair  that often comes after a major break-up.     We cut our hair.   More often not, short.

IMG_2137

So whether or not you believe that strength or energy comes from our hair (it doesn’t), it’s The  first visible change we can make with very little effort and sometimes that’s exactly what a heartbroken girl/woman needs to see when she looks in the mirror.

For the last seven years, San Antonio based,  Sara Garcia has been dealing with my hairy nonsense with a whip and a chair and a razor.     This ultra talented stylist  has snipped off about a ton of “heartache” in her 13-year career.

“I always ask a client who wants a huge change,  how long they’ve been thinking about it.    If I know them personally, I’ll ask if something has spurred the decision, and nine times out of ten,  it’s usually a based on a break up.”

Garcia goes on to say, “If the client is new or I don’t know them that well, I’ll still ask how long they’ve been thinking about of making a change and if it seems to be more of an impulse, I have no problem trying to talk them out of it.    I always tell them to take a bit and think about their decision.”

I agree with Garcia.  Never do anything rash.

I’ll be the first to admit change is good, but turning lovely 11-inch strands into two inch wispy cuteness,  is only the beginning.   It’s mostly a symbolic gesture but hardly a cure-all for Cupid’s lousy aim.    A drastic hair cut offers a distraction and distractions after heartache are welcomed coping mechanisms, but it’s also something that can be instantly regrettable.     Garcia adds, “I can always cut hair,  But once cut, I can’t tape it back on!”

You can cut your hair, but that won’t remove the heartache or cut the duration of the pain you feel.   That’s something that’s takes time and effort.    I think many women deal with heartache differently….to each her own, but chances are, they can understand why some would respond this way.  I mean, who wants to look in the mirror and see sadness staring  back at them?   Who wants to be reminded that you were berayed?    Believed  his lies?   Gave much more than you received?   Who wants to see themselves as walking wounded,  mourning the death of a grand ideal that included what you thought might be a future together.

Let’s say you’re better adjusted, still sad, but not feeling that morbid.   If that’s the case, cutting your hair can be a liberating experience  and can help you feel  as though you’re regaining a sense of control.  So often, in the aftermath of a breakup, especially when you’re dumped for another woman,  everything else in your life feels so out of control….among other things.

Garcia adds a drastic hair cut can also be a form of revenge.  “It also helps if your ex really likes long hair.  Cutting it off can also be kind of a ‘screw you’ type of move.”

There are other reasons women cut their hair after trauma.     Yoko Ono comes to mind.   After her husband, music legend, John Lennon was killed in December of 1980, she immediately cut her hair short….and she’s kept it short ever since.

Here she is before  John’s murder.

Yoko Ono At The Dakota

Afterwards.

IMG_2134

There are some obscure interviews that quote Yoko as saying John loved  her long, full hair, so when he died, she cut it off and gave it to him.    I can only assume her long locks were cremated along with his body and the ashes spread in Central Park.

But I also seem to remember hearing something after John’s murder that Yoko did it becsuse it’s customary in some Asian cultures (Yoko is Japanese), that widoes cut their hair and keep it short as part of their mourning process.

Cultural tradition, revenge snipping, the need for change, the need to feel in control of something—whatever the reason, there isn’t a woman alive in Paris, Texas or Paris France who wouldn’t understand the post break up reasoning for wanting to cut your hair.   Some go through with it, some dont.   It’s a matter of choice.   .

And hey—many times, short hair can be extremely complimentary.    It can be facially flattering, it can make your eyes pop.    When when you look great externally, you feel great on the internally.   It’s no secret appearance often translate into feelings.

So, if you’re hurting and decide to sheer, have no fear.   On the off chance, you feel the cut makes you look like one of the Manson girls during Charlie’s murder trial….

IMG_2136

It’ll always grow  back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finishing School

Oh, to be a properly finished young woman; one who knows how important it is to exit a room as well as enter it; how to exit a car in a ladylike fashion, which knife or fork to use and to float with the ease of a graceful dandelion from social situation to social situation and without breaking a sweat.

When I was much younger, my mother made me take a rather protracted course in manners and etiquette.   It was an attempt for me to spend my teen years and my adult years with poise, tact, confidence…..you know, all that shit.

I can’t remember how long the whole course was, but I know the classes were an excruciating seven to eight hours in length, every weekday and I remember resenting that it ate into a chunk of my precious summer break.    I only knew one other girl in the class.  We became better friends a few years later (quite the rebellious ones were we)  and if we learned anything in that class, we never used it.

This was the 70’s.    We were true “tweens” back then.   We were in between  eras.   We were too young  to be hippies, Vietnam ended in 1975, so did Nixon’s political career.  Carter to was too Milquetoast to protest.    There was nothing to radicalize.   Then Reagan took over and well…what can I say?    There was  disco which in my opinion, was the bleakest time in musical history.    I’m including the zither, here.

But as much as I didn’t want to be in this class, I still remember a few things and yes, they have served me well on the few occasions I’ve needed them.

I learned the proper way to exit a car.   If you’re not with a date and a chauffeur isn’t present (uh-huh) then you’ve no choice but to open the car door by yourself.  Do so with your arm completely extended; open la puerta as wide as the length of your arm .  Do it smoothly and gracefully.     And for the love of everything sacred, keep your legs together!!    Swivel on your derrière towards the door and put both feet feet on the ground at the same time, then place one foot slightly ahead of the other (for balance).   Again, legs together.   No one wants to see panties, a hint of Depends  or a C-section scar.    Although I once knew a certain guy named Owen  who would’ve paid for the privilege of that particular  visual trifecta.

But contemporary  women who live and work in pants have altered this mindset considerably, still a properly finished women enters and exits a car this way be it wesring slacks, a burka, pajamas, a sari….whatever.

Did I mention you can only use your hand to lift yourself off the seat???    Placing your hand anywhere on the interior portion of the door is strictly verboten.

Oh really???     Tell THAT to my arthritic knees, elbow, shoulders, wrists and rectum.    Yes, mine is.   My proctologist marvels over the fact.

All cutlery should be used from the outside in, depending on the course.  There are fish wives and fish knives.

When making formal introductions in a social setting,  you introduce the person of lesser social standing to the person of greater social standing.     As if Queen Elizabeth, Dirty Jimmy Joe McAsscrack, (Canoga Falls’ local panhandler)  and I would ever be at a party together.

Speaking of parties,  when you enter a party for for the first time,  walk -in and pause for a few seconds as you scan it visually.  Optimum time allotted for this?     Three seconds to your left, three  seconds at dead center and three allowed for a glance to right.   Identify your host, walk up and offer polite greetings, extolling your joy at being invited to the party.   In other words, lie.    If the host is no where in sight, find someone you know well or well enough.   Or just do as I do, bypass everyone and head straight to the bar.

Never be photographed holding anything that could harm your reputation.   I would learn later this means a drink, a can of beer, a cigarette, a coke vile, a joint, a plastic bottle of Xanax—prescribed to your aunt, a purse from last season and so on.

Napkins have their proper place.   This was beaten into my psyche by my mother as much as it was my etiquette teacher.     Don’t unfold your napkin above the table.   It’s an action that shouldn’t be seen.  Do it above your lap, but below the table.

Don’t wad your napkin in a crumpled heap on the table.   It stays in your lap  (folded in half) while others are still eating.   When everyone is finished eating, fold your napkin in a casual, liaises-faire manner on the left side of your plate while still seated.  Once your folded napkin has been placed on the table,  stand and run like hell towards the exit with the hopes someone else will pay the tab.

Need to visit the head in the middle of  the meal?   Place your napkin on the seat of your chair.   No need to announce your intended destination.   It’s impolite.   If you do and dining with my family, once out of esrshot, everyone in  will trash you unmercifully.   Word to the wise, should you find yourself spending an evening with the Kendrick family, don’t do it.   Politely  decline the invitation and find a nice quiet corner and count your blessings.   Trust me, we’ve made Teamsters go fetal.

I could  piecemeal a few other mannnerfied memories, but why drone on?   The days of proper finishing schools that included semesters, room and board have gone by the wayside.   These these schools were hot, hot, hot in the 40’s.     Princess Diana attended a famous one in Switzerland which has since gone mammaries up.   As evidenced by Diana’s enrollment,  the students at these once proud institutions, especially  finishing schools in the US, were daughters of wealthy parents who wanted mademoiselles, India Euegennia Smithson Barcode or Elizabeth (Bitsy)  Olivia Soapdish von Standoffish to find suitable husbands (read: men from families just as wealthy) and etiquette was viewed as some kind effective of social snare.

Look, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with manners.   To be honest, I have a real problem  with anyone who uses a fork while sitting amidst pristine white linen,  to liberate  remnants of a salmon Niçoise from his or her molars.    But I feel some of these  rules are a tad arcane and aren’t always applicable to situations today.  But generally speaking, good table manners will always be relevant.

If you don’t have time, the money or a pushy mother, or a simple, laid back lifestyle,  don’t  worry about learning about formal introductions, how to recognize a cold meat fork or knowing effects caviar has on metal utensils.    But manners are a must.    They’re life hacks that are extremely beneficial.    There are many on line courses and You Tube  has plenty of videos that can teach you not to be a rude, raging slob.

IMG_2133

So, ultimately, what is class?   Glad you asked.   It’s being helpful, polite, respectful, aware,  creative, authentic, funny and above all, it’s being kind.

These are the things that are the ultimate definition  of class.  That’s it!

Being a smooth, condescending operator  who knows he’s in deep state debt but ignores it:  wears Armani with a Patek Philippe watch on his wrist while ordering Cristal paid fit on a near credit card a mere $.99 from being maxed out in the bar of a snooty restaurant where he knows he’s less than  five minutes away from being banned for a second time—-isn’t.

Don’t use drugs, but always use a napkin.   Following this rule is a two-fer for the late Nancy Reagan.   Do it for her!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.