Updated: Jun. 26/03

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On Being Beautified - by Helga Marion Ross
Even as I work at it on the outside, for me, Beauty is primarily an inside job.

"Itís time again for that monthly feminine ritual - going to the hairdresserís to be beautified.
If I wait much longer it will be a necessity without pleasure. My roots are showing!."

"There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness."
~Marguerite Gardiner Blessington~

"Exuberance is beauty."
~William Blake~

"Even with all my wrinkles! I am beautiful!"
~Bessie Delaney~

"You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your soul's own doing."
~Marie Carmichael Stopes~

"That which is striking and beautiful is not always good; but that which is good is always beautiful."
~Ninon De LíEnclos~

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

"Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror."
~Kahlil Gibran~


Helga's Heartlines
Saturday, March 24, 2001
Newmarket, Ontario

Ah, yes! Itís time again for that monthly feminine ritual - going to the hairdresserís to be beautified. If I wait much longer it will be a necessity without pleasure. My roots are showing!

In principle as well as practice I agree with the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, concerning such details: Beauty may (simply) be, but like a garden it must be tended. ďBeauty is not a chance... its grace and its goodness in the gestures are things that are acquired with work.... The supreme rule: it is necessary Ďnot to let yourself goí not even in front of yourself.Ē So while it is questionable whether I am actually beautiful, it is unquestionable that Iíve always worked at being beautiful. However, even as I work at it on the outside, for me, Beauty is primarily an inside job.

Frowning at my reflection, I try to blend the too obvious parting in my hair and tossle some stray strands with my fingers to hide my telltale temples. Not much improvement. Now, I merely look a mess. Well, never mind: Vince, proprietor and coiffeur of Hairomatics, will soon take care of that. As long as I donít see anyone en route to the salon whom I know Ė Please, God, NO! Ė not until heís through with me. I always reserve the earliest possible appointment to get a 'head start' on my day and invariably arrive late. No matter. Iím booked for most of the morning: whether beautiful or not, it takes time to be beautified. What we women go through when we care about how we look!

Methodically, artfully, in Vinceís hands I am transformed! I sublimely surrender to his ministrations. He creatively works and weaves his color magic on my hair, blending tendrils of pale champagne with burnished reddish-brown and honeyed gold, banishing all suggestions of gray. We chat amiably while I sip several cups of steaming cappuccino and scan the extensive collection of magazines looking for inspiration for my Muse. Recreating myself here in his salon, I always manage to find it.

As my color lifts, so does my face and spirit! I think every lady must love to be fussed over, pampered and massaged. Mind you, I wouldnít want any man of mine to witness this particular state Ė having my highlights done Ė which temporarily translates into sporting a transparent plastic helmet embellished with a halo of my home-grown locks trained into purple-tinted spikes. I look like a creature straight out of science fiction. The most fearless of men would be frightened, I'm sure!

Following this series of interminable chemical processes Iím finally out from under. I submit to soothing hands and warm running water as my hair and scalp are rinsed, tingled, conditioned, and refreshed. I concentrate and reenergize under the hair dryer's gently wafting warmth. From within, I feel myself slowly restored, renewed and rejuvenated.

It must be so! Suddenly I see this pleasing sense of myself mirrored back to me through the bright eyes of a pair of 7 year olds, two towheaded boys along with their dad for a haircut. They peek at me shyly whenever they think Iím not looking. I catch their glances, smile coyly so as not to embarrass them, until they self-consciously turn away. Timeless flirting from the far reaches of the male/female spectrum! Now, I tell you, my friends, Iím flattered. Not bad for an ďold broadĒ! I use the expression loosely, of course.

I believe that Beauty and Age are, more than anything, a state of mind. To tell the truth the older I get the younger I get and Iím not ashamed to admit it. Iím happy to still be able to turn a head or two. Iíll use all the help I can get - mental, physical, chemical, emotional - to maintain myself. I refuse to cooperate with Mother Nature by slipping carelessly, pardon me, letting myself slide into Her negligent, indifferent Old Age. As far as She is concerned we werenít supposed to make it this far, so little provision was made. Our primary purpose presumably having been filled, war, pestilence and famine by now ought to have done us in. Even so, She gave us the ability and the smarts to help ourselves look after ourselves.

Beauty, like Youth needs to be cherished and cared for, to last, I've observed. Both are expressions of oneís Life force. They emanate from inside us; we can tap into, energize, draw upon, and project these qualities. Itís truly a matter of consciousness: we earn the face we wear. If we donít like it we can re-sculpt it for the better, not with surgery - we can trade frown lines for laugh lines, with work. We can tend to our spirit and the temper of our thoughts.

Beauty exists at every age and stage. To the end of her life, well into her Sixties, actress Audrey Hepburn was an exceptionally beautiful woman, as was lovely Jessica Tandy. Oh, when the time comes, that I should look as fine as they! The humanity, the soul, the inner beauty that shone through their luminous eyes even to the last made their facial lines melt away.

Meanwhile, for my hairdressing finale...Iím mesmerized by my transformed-self as I watch Vince trim, brush and blow-dry the shining mantle that softly frames my face. Where would I be without him? He knows my hair like nobody else. He makes me beautiful like nobody else. I canít move to another town unless I take him with me, I tease. Amused and flattered, he laughs.

Once finished with the curling iron, all smoothed and neatly arranged, comes his crowning touch Ė he runs his hands through my hair and messes it up, carefully. Perfect. There I am again, the ďmeĒ I like to see. Too bad Iím not taking me somewhere special! Every head is turned my way in admiration; however, Iím only heading home....

~ Helga Marion Ross ~

Copyright 2000

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