Hair, Nails, Feet and Face, Guest Post
A memory pops into my mind, my grandmother, frail, elderly and looking ancient to me, as a young girl, being picked up at the airport by mother. My grandmother spent 6 months in Israel and 6 months with us in Boston. Before my mother brought my grandmother home, she’d go straight from the airport to Costa’s hair salon on Washington St. in Brookline. There, Costa’s wife would meticulously and almost painlessly wax my grandmother’s upper lip and chin, and give her a manicure. Costa would then wash her hair and “do it up” exactly the way she liked it. My grandmother was then public presentable and ready to bring home.
Recently, I was in Athens and being on vacation I decided to do some self-pampering. I had my upper lip and chin waxed and was waiting to have my hair done. The spa experience coupled with the Greek atmosphere triggered my memory. Costa was Greek and being in Greece brought back all kinds of thoughts. The lesson I learned from my mother was how important these grooming steps are, especially as we get older.
Whenever my mother would “treat” herself to something whether it was a new outfit, having her hair done, a manicure or an upper lip wax, she would say: “I don’t smoke and I don’t drink….” I don’t think she needed an excuse but what she meant was, these are my vices and I need them to get me through the day.
I often used to say that I have turned into my mother, and now that I have just celebrated my 60th birthday and have lived 3 years longer than my mother did, I say these very words daily.
As I get older I have put more and more emphasis on my personal grooming. It makes me feel good and I recognize that I AM IMPORTANT! I am diligent about getting my face waxed and my eyebrows professionally done. I close my eyes and see my grandmother as she arrived at the airport that day. She looked so much better, more youthful and pretty, after her visit to Costa. I claim my self-respect and I know I want to look like the after, not the before.
Like my mother before me, I stopped coloring my hair when I turned 50. Aside from the money that I have saved, I really like the way I look as a “silver fox”. At the time I felt liberated by going natural and I still do.
There are so many circumstances in life that I don’t have control over, I choose to be obsessive about the ones that I do. Besides my face, there are my hands and feet. I used to say that I was “treating myself” to a pedicure. I no longer consider it a treat, it is a necessity. I need my feet and they need to be treated with respect. I want to watch out for fungus infections, keep my bunion in check and look well kempt and tidy because living in Israel, my feet are out there for almost 6 months of the year. I want to be able to expose my feet not hide them.
In addition to a monthly pedicure, I see a podiatrist once every few months. I was recently fitted with orthotics which have improved my posture (less slouching so less belly), balance and foot health.
Now for the pièce de résistance, my hands. My husband recently surprised me with a diamond wedding band. When I put it on, I noticed that my nails were just not up to par. I want to show off my ring, my hands and I do not want to have to hide my nails. I have very short nails because I admit I bite them. I don’t want to but I do. A manicurist recently convinced me to try an acrylic base before having gel put on. It is now a month later, my nails have grown, I love showing them off and I’m sold. Maybe, spending the money on the gel manicure helps deter the biting. I’m not ruining what I spent so much money on!
We learn many things from our moms, they are our first role model. As adults, especially, older ones we now know what we didn’t in our foolish youth, that, it’s not all bad but there’s lots of good. I learned much about respect for others but also about respect for myself, from my mother. She wanted us to learn from the small gestures she made towards her mother, well Mom, I got it!!