Last weekend, my mother was here with two of her friends from Seattle, both seniors like herself, to attend my grandniece's christening. They stayed at my house for two nights and two days. It was a nice change from having all boys-to-men around the house. Let's have more estrogen! (or whatever is left of it anyway).
One of my mother's friends is Manang Flor, a puny 78-year-old widow about 4'8" tall. You'll never guess she has 10 children. When she first saw me in Seattle, she said I needed a haircut because my hair made me look old. My mother agreed. I obliged. How can I say no to two elderly women? And how can I refuse a cheap haircut, the by-donation-only kind?
Manang Flor loves to cut hair and sees it as a service to other people. It's almost like a passion for her. It makes her happy to make people look better.
I had little time to think about, or rather, little resistance to refuse the order, I mean, offer. Whats' the worst that could happen? I'd look awful or funny for a few days and then my hair would grow back. I could take a chance at looking better.
Then Manang Flor gave me a facial and a back massage and taught me some exercises and reflexology techniques. (She worked for years at a hospital back in the Philippines.) It was like having a mini-spa treatment. I was grateful.
Fortunately, my haircut turned out well. When I went back to BC, a friend of mine noticed it immediately. She said whoever did it knew how to shape the back. Very good then. My previous hairstylists have all disappointed me because they couldn't get it right. My hair is too thick and a little stubborn. It's hard to cut short.
Last Saturday, Manang Flor said she'd cut my hair again. She and my mother had decided back in Seattle that it was time to cut my hair even without seeing how it looked. I obliged again. No big deal. Manang Flor cut my hair meticulously while telling stories about her life, her husband, her 10 children... It was a long haircutting session.
When she was done, she asked my opinion and made a few changes according to my preference. Some bangs, hair slightly covering the ears... Then she taught me how to comb my hair this way and that, dry it a certain way, use anti-flat... My mother and her other friend, Manang Letty, chimed in every now and then.
Next, my eyebrows. They should be tweezed, they said, and then nicely shaped with an eyebrow pencil. I avoid plucking my eyebrows. I've tried it and it hurt! So I let them be, stray hairs and all. And the eyebrow pencil? I think the only time I used one was when I acted in a play during my high school years. I can't remember using it any other time. Not even on prom night or my wedding day.
But there's always a first time.
Manang Flor made me recline comfortably then she dabbed cream on both brows and eyelids and began plucking the hairs there one by one. She said my tweezer wasn't good so I might feel a little sting sometimes. Surprisingly, the plucking wasn't as bad as I thought. She did this for several minutes while telling me stories from years gone by. When she was done, I looked at the mirror and went into shock, haha. I was somewhat shocked, to be honest. I had never seen my brows this thin. Ooh, I will really need a pencil.
The next day, I was standing beside my mother in front of the mirror as we were preparing to go to the mall. She was putting on make-up. I was fixing my hair and wondering what to do with my thin eyebrows. I had no pencil. She let me borrow hers. She said I should never use black, only a shade of brown. Manang Letty was fixing up too and giving me additional tips.
"Dapat maging makabago ka na," my mother told me while styling her hair. Yes, that's my 83-year-old mother telling me, her middle-aged youngest daughter, to become modern. I found that rather amusing. Me, getting beauty tips from 3 senior citizens!
At the mall, we went to Shoppers Drug Mart where we got some beauty stuff including my own medium brown eyebrow pencil with a tiny little brush attached to its cover. How cuuute! From now on I will brush my eyebrows too!
Next, we went to Ardene. My mother and I like this store and enjoy looking through its trinkets and accessories. We got earrings on sale, 3 packs for $10! One pack could have more than 3 sets of earrings. What a deal! I prefer these cheapie ones to real jewelry that I'd be afraid to lose. I got some dangling ones to go with my new short hair. I have started wearing large dangling earrings. Wow, isn't that modern! Hahahaha.
I wanted to get my ears pierced again so I can wear two sets of earrings on each ear. My mother agreed. Maybe if I said I'd get a nose stud too, she'd say "Siya nga!" (Right on!) When the saleslady showed me the studs and the price - $15 for one ear, $20 for both - I said I'll do it next time. Beyond my budget. Cheap, cheap, cheap.
Nowadays, you'll see me walking with my new hair, penciled brows, and a different scarf everyday, thanks to my sis-in-law Noemi who sent me a bunch from the Philippines. TWC, how about some fashion tips for me?
I'm not sure how long this "beautification season" will last. Call it the "modernification" of Lerryblossoms.
I must go back to Seattle when my hair and brows grow back and have Manang Flor redo them. I need to keep up with the modern times!!