The Beauty Girls # 2

OK…I’m gonna do it! I’m going to Beauty School.
I tell Tom that I plan to enroll in Beauty School. I can
feel his eyes bore right through me. I know he thinks I won’t
last one week. But being the gentleman he is, he doesn’t say
this.
Instead he says, “Do whatever you want to
do…because I know you will anyway.” I know the boy has
serious reservations.
I tell my friends I’m thinking about going to Beauty
School. They say, “You’ve got to be kidding.” I say, No,
listen, I want to open a Holistic Health Spa for Natural
Women’s Healthcare. They make fun of me. They say I’m
going to be surrounded by vacuous nineteen year olds. I don’t
care; I think the idea is genius.
I go to the school to check it out. It is a huge old
green Victorian house that has been converted to a clinic in
the front and classrooms in the back. The main classroom is
two stories high and looks like a basketball court. It has a
walkway around the second floor that looks like it’s for the
Wardens. There are a few women in white lab coats huddled
around a table in the back eating chocolate. They look bored
out of their minds.
I am given a “Complimentary Facial” for prospective
students. An Instructor supervises the service. The Instructor
is a full-figured blond with short spiky hair and twinkling blue
eyes. She’s probably a little younger than I. She reminds me of
my sister. The student’s touch is timid and starts to get
annoying but I don’t say anything. The Instructor gently
corrects her a couple of times. She tells the student I have
“mature” skin. I think that’s a very diplomatic way of saying
I’m aging quickly. Well, at least something about me is
mature.
The Instructor asks if I am a midwife. I say Yes, how
did she know? She says by my email address–“CLmidwife.”
She asks why I want to come to school and I say
because I can’t tolerate being on-call anymore. It’s funny
because this is the first time I have admitted that. She says she
knows the feeling because she used to be a respiratory
therapist and couldn’t stand the night call anymore either. I
like her immediately.
I meet with the owner. The owner looks a little like
Nancy Reagan. She has had so many facelifts she looks like a
dog sticking its head out of the window of a car going sixty.
The owner knows me. I ask her if I would be the oldest
woman ever to enroll and she laughs. She tells me lots of
women have “mid-life career changes.” I think, “You mean
mid-life crisis.” She is pleasant and sweet and encouraging. I
take a deep breath, make the financial arrangements and sign
up for 600 hours.

~from The Beauty Girls by Carol Leonard, 2010

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