July 30
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.


Jlsathre's Links

NOVEMBER 14, 2012 10:57AM

Bookstores and Beauty Shops

Rate: 10 Flag

The parking lot is full. Not a single car is parked within the yellow lines that mark the parking spaces. Most are sedans, parked at angles, crossing the yellow line on their left by at least a foot.

A few are close. They're the ones driven by caretakers or younger relatives who pull in, guide elbows, open doors, and then return in an hour or so.

The oversized van from the retirement home doesn't even make the attempt, but drops off and picks up outside of the parking spaces.

I know immediately that it's a Thursday and park in back with no worries that people will see an empty lot and think I'm closed. Cars will be coming and going all day, even if not to the bookstore.

It's the weekly appointment day at the beauty shop next door. The day chosen  for its proximity to the weekend--dating back to a time when weekends meant more to the women who pass my door than just church on Sunday, although that counted too. "Sunday best" extending to hair.

They form a steady stream, aided and unaided, almost always arriving early at a quarter of the hour or half hour and entering the beauty shop, where they might get a cut or a color or a perm, but always a wash and a set sprayed to last to the next Thursday.

They're mainly in their 80's, these women who sit under hoods of hair dryers, replicating hairdos from years gone by.

Anachranisms almost. Never buying shampoo from grocery aisles or owning blow dryers or curling irons. An aerosol spray for touch ups the only hair product on their shelves besides combs and a solitary brush that is rarely used.

My mom was one of them. Her weekly appointment was sacrosanct--a line that was not crossed. Vacations were planned around it. Bad weather failed to cancel  it. Calendars were followed closely to make sure a holiday didn't fall on it.

A diner of a different sort, ordering "the usual" from her hairdresser every week. Neither her hairdo nor its color changing over the 50 years that I remember. Her hairdresser and standing appointment only once. A dispute over a price increase as I recall. But just as likely, a discomfort with the men who began wandering into the place that was suddenly called a salon instead of a shop. The hairdresser who was suddenly called a stylist. Changes she wasn't ready for.

I watch the women come and go next door from the vantage point of a small bookstore that sometimes feels as out of sync as the weekly appointments.

Some of them venture over after getting permed or set, combed out and sprayed.

They head to the romance section. Ready for the weekend.


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Oh this is wonderful!!! Your description of the phenomena is excellent. I have been taking my 94 yr old to these places for years and then something happened. She got shingles in her eye. It was horrible. No one could touch her head for six months. Except me. I started to just trim the ends and now she does that herself She looks ten years younger! I am so proud of her for kicking the beauty shop habit and she is glad she doesn't have to go with the sleeping ladies under the dryers. She misses the gossip tho and I know she misses the attention. Romance...is is all about romance?
Women and hair... always a mystery to me, like make up??? Posts like these make me glad to be a guy... last time i went into a barber shop was twenty-five years ago... figured I've saved at least $20,000 not to mention the money I saved on shampoo, conditioner and make up. R&R with tongue in cheek ;-)
Totally get this. My mom did this until her death in February. The smell of that commercial grade hair spray is quite vivid in my mind.
So beautiful!! I almost cried... My grandma used to trade burritos for her weekly hairdo. So precious...
Ah, the scent of Aquanet...r
One of the unique main street enterprises that endures. Rather a social club with tactile finesse. Cool observations, jls. Personally, I'm glad the dames stick to blue and platinum blonde or the grey-whites or brunette rather than that shock orange some of the kids use. Not that there's anything wrong with anything, but, you know. You'd think the clown lobby would do something.

My Grandma did that, and I see a few ladies locally that look like they get the 'do, but it seems to be going out of style. So cool that you get to still watch the parade.
Sounds like a great cross-promo opportunity -- coupons at the beauty shop for a free cup of tea and ten percent off their favorite book. Great snapshot.
This was beautiful - knowing and melancholy and accepting all the same. I love the connection you made between these women, and your bookstore. Just beautifully written and I'm sorry I missed it the few times I've been able to get onto OS (not due to technical issues, but because of too much real-life stuff going on) in the past few weeks. Thanks for another great read.
I'm totally crushing on you right now. That was beautiful!