Thursday, 14 June 2007

The Reveal

As I expected, my trip to the hair salon today has not resulted in any Cinderella-style transformation. When the stylist held up the mirror, so that I could see the back, I was lost for words – well, I had already used up all the appropriate ones for this exact same hairstyle on my previous visits.

My subconscious has blotted out the details of payment, on the basis that it could threaten my sanity, but when I stood by the reception desk trying to look pleased with my helmet of rigidly-coiffed hair, I could have sworn that the young girl who brought my coat referred to me as ‘Your Majesty.’ But maybe I’m just paranoid.

At least having my roots done has meant that my hair finally looks clean, which is a good thing, but it also looks extremely sensible which, for some reason, doesn’t feel quite so good.

My daughter told me that she thought my hair looked nice, so I smiled chirpily, and pronounced myself ‘delighted’ with it. Surprised? Ah, but I know that mothers are not supposed to keep making negative comments about their appearance in front of their daughters. Usually I am fed up to the back teeth of advice for parents, and the implicit blame that goes with it, but this one seems to make a lot of sense to me. In addition, I have been keeping a wary eye on her recently – a sort of ‘Daughter’s self-image watch’ (a bit like Springwatch but without the horror of Bill Oddie or owl fratricide).

A friend who also has a nine year old daughter told me last week that her beautiful girl has started to say that she thinks she is ugly. Whether this is because of teasing by schoolmates or from comparisons with models or pop stars, my friend has no idea. Both she and her husband have constantly tried to reassure their daughter, but to no avail.

I seem to remember going through similar feelings myself, but not at that young an age, I’m sure. I remember my parents used to go out of their way to tell me I was beautiful, but as always, I dismissed their viewpoint outright since I thought they were madder than monkeys. It wasn’t their opinion that mattered to me, but the opinion of whichever monosyllabic spotty youth I happened to have a crush on at the time.

I am thinking about all this as I am cradling a large glass of Bonterra Zinfandel from California (Ocado £9.99). It is rich, spicy and peppery and very relaxing. I had an e-mail from Jane in San Francisco who recommended the Dashe Cellars Zinfandel, but so far, I have been unable to get a bottle. Jane really made me laugh with the confession that sometimes she telephones a friend in a more Eastern time zone, so that she can bring forward the time of her evening glass of wine by an hour, and make it seem a little more respectable. Ingenious! I think if I had access to all those fantastic Californian reds, I would be doing exactly the same thing.

When I tucked my daughter into bed a few minutes ago, I told her how beautiful, how lovely, how gorgeous and how pretty she is.

‘Yes Mum’ she intoned in a flat, bored voice, which sounded vaguely familiar. I can see already that my biased opinion is fairly worthless in her eyes. Maybe I would be better saving my reassurances for when she starts visiting the hair salon.


mutterings and meanderings said...

I have said it before and will say it again that she's a very lucky girl to have you as a mum...

Motheratlarge said...

Yikes. An excruciating reminder of how I treated my own mother when I was not much older than your daughter. Now we're the best of friends. Keep telling her how beautiful she is, anyway. Even if she pretends not to care, I bet she does.

Nice site, by the way. I've added you to my list of favourites.

Stay at home dad said...

Lol re. Bill Oddie DM. A joy as ever. Let's face it though, they're not going to believe anything we tell them are they...

@themill said...

Never stop telling her. I spent years having my dad refer to my sister as BD (beautiful daughter)while I was supposed to be the 'funny one'. I'm still traumatised by it!

Sparx said...

My Grandad used to say 'the sun is always over the yard-arm somewhere in the world', referring to some sailing thing about not having a drink until then. I always figured that depended entirely on where you point the boat...

Someone I know was told she was a 'very beautiful young lady' by a man in a supermarket when she was about 14 and feeling ugly and it cheered her up for years. At some point in her thirties her Mum confessed that he was an acquaintance who she'd asked to say it. Apart from the perv factor I thought it a good one...

DevonLife said...

Oh how I hate the hairdresser. I flit around different 'salons' (ugh, salon, it's hardly Colette is it?) looking for the holy grail - the hairdresser who just cuts and colours my hair and doesn't want to chat.

I've got enough friends, I just want to sit there and pretend I'm someone else before throwing £200 at a sour faced teenager and throwing myself throw the plate glass window running my sweaty hands through my hair to get rid of 'tasteful' curls.

beta mum said...

It is worrying - this body image for daughters thing.
My kids are always telling me how fat I am, and I smile and say "all the better for you to cuddle" as I don't want them thinking a bit of extra padding is a bad thing.
Then as Hannah was preening in front of the mirror the other day she said -
"I wish I was born to be beautiful"
I said -
"You are beautiful"
And she said -
"No, I was born to chat"
Which is very true.

Akelamalu said...

MWM is always saying "I wish I'd been born rich instead of good looking" my reply "So do I!"

EmmaK said...

Bah...couldn't you have put up a pic of your helmet of hair for us to have a chuckle at could have blanked out the eyes!

Drunk Mummy said...

M&M - that's very kind, gawd bless ya!

motheratlarge - its the same with me - you are right, it is excruciating. Thanks for adding me to your list! I need to do some 'housekeeping' myself (I'm sure my family would agree with that).

SAHD - You are right, especially as I have been going on about Santa for so long.

@themill - did your dad really refer to you as 'FO'? How insensitive!!!

Hello sparx!
Your grandad sounds like my sort of person. I suspect the man in the supermarket would be arrested these days.

Hello devonlife!
Yes, calling these torture chambers 'salons' is almost laughable (if it wasn't for the cost).

beta mum - I'm sure she chats beautifully!

akelamalu - that sounds like a great t-shirt slogan!

emmak - just imagine a cross between the Queen (but without the girlish grin) and Lady Penelope from Thunderbirds, and you've got it right there.