Thursday, April 8, 2010

There's Something To Be Said About Beauty Rituals

Amidst all the sad and devastating news in the past few months following the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and Baja, to name a few, I remembered that right after Hurricane Katrina, an article in the L.A. Times caught my eye. The article read, "Beauty in the Eye of Katrina" and went on to tell about a beauty salon in Long Beach, Mississippi that was doing a booming business. The women who came in said it was a "way to reclaim a sense of normalcy in an environment where nothing is normal." When residents from New Orleans were evacuated to the Houston Astrodome, they lined up at 4AM to get their hair cut and colored by volunteer stylists.
There's something so reassuring about these rituals, whether it's just a wash and blow dry or applying some mascara and lipstick. One woman said "It's the little luxuries that make you feel human again."
Back when Billy Crystal was a regular on Saturday Night Live, as the character, Fernando, he would say, "It is more important to look good than to feel good." A lot of times you do feel good if you look good. I know that when I just conceal my dark circles and curl my lashes I feel as though I can get to the gym or make some business calls. I'm well aware that it's a mental thing for me and I'm sure that the person on the other end of the phone is not thinking, "I'll bet she's got on some concealer 'cause she sure sounds chipper." But, it works for me. And, no I'm not comparing my inability to face my morning workout or make business calls with the plight of the victims of natural disasters. I just know that we all have things in our lives that are helped along by a little ritual.
So, yeah, I can totally understand how the women down on the Gulf Coast got so much joy from having their hair done or a manicure/pedicure- a ritual to help them feel normal enough to keep going, to help them face their next challenges. They deserve it, they're worth it and, they're speaking my language.