Tag Archives: beauty

92. Wearing Curlers in Public

1 Apr

I can count on less than one finger the number of folks I’ve seen sporting curlers between here and Los Angeles. I’m not sure if they even sell curlers here, though you could surely find some on Amazon. Is there anything they WON’T sell?

In the South, you’re likely to encounter ladyfolks wearing curlers in the grocery store, Walmart, the dentist’s office, or most commonly, the mall. Whenever I encounter a be-curlered person, I wonder: “Where are you going later that’s SO FANCY? And why wasn’t I invited?”

Surely curlers aren’t some kind of ironic fashion statement. Yet. In fact, many ladies attempt to cover them with a jaunty scarf. Not that they’re fooling anyone. Nobody’s head is shaped like that. I hope.

The best I can figure, wearing curlers in public is all about multi-tasking. How else can you shop for kitty litter and get your hair done at the same time?

I’m probably not qualified to comment on curlers, seeing as I’ve never used them myself. But since when has that ever stopped me?

As far as I know, there are two types of curlers – hot rollers and, um, room temperature ones? I believe that hot rollers work faster, so the kind you see in public are the latter variety.

Yes! They sell these on Amazon!

You’ll find quite a few styles of room temperature rollers. I’m most familiar with the spongy pink foam ones with a plastic snap contraption that holds them in place. All of the other varieties require bobby pins or clips of some sort. Actually, I think there are some rollers that claim to stay in place all by themselves, but those are probably marketed by the same folks who tried to sell us the specialty tape that would magically hold one’s boobs up. (Don’t waste your money.)

I don’t know how long one must wear rollers to achieve the desired amount of curl. How do you know when you’re done? Are there directions on the curler packages?

You’d think that the roller thing would have phased out back in the 80’s, once The Perm Generation started up. But perhaps they’re making a comeback. Hey, if parachute pants can do it, anything can!


While many folks use curlers to preempt bad hair days, this technique has been known to backfire. Back in high school, my mayonnaise-hating friend Sandy decided to optimize the curling power of the pink foam rollers by sleeping in them. She might’ve even started off with wet hair. She showed up at school the next day with WAY more curls than she’d wanted/aimed for/thought possible. The look was reminiscent of a certain Saturday Night Live character so naturally, she earned the nickname “Rosanne RosannaSandy.”

Do you now or have you ever used curlers? If so, have you ever worn them in public? If so, why??

Photo credits – Flickr Creative Commons: Blythe doll in green curlers by Squirrel Junkie, Red-headed Blythe by Aimee Ray

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73. Makeup AKA Putting One’s Face On

19 Feb

Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
Flickr Creative Commons

Here in Seattle, women brazenly go around showing skin in ways no Southern lady would dare. Would y’all believe that Northwestern folks consider it perfectly acceptable to be seen in mixed company with a naked…face?

I will pause here to give my Dixie readers time to recover from shock and/or faint.

Ok, then.

Yes, folks, I’ve personally seen bare-faced women in places you would never expect: parties, fancy restaurants, shopping malls, even CHURCH! I reckon they are not familiar with the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not be seen without makeup in any public place, most especially not in the house of the Lord.”

Occasionally, exceptions can be made for things like early bird Black Friday sales (seeing as there are so few menfolks around). And you can also forgo makeup when dropping kids off at school or giving a friend a ride to the airport, but only if you don’t expect to: A. Get out of the car (or truck) or B. Run into someone you know.

Even so, there are some Southern ladies who stand on ceremony, showing up at Kohl’s before 4:00 a.m. in full makeup.

“Full makeup?” My non-Dixie readers might ask.

What? You didn’t know there are different levels? Ok, here’s a primer:

A bee-you-ti-ful makeup collection
from KeirasLuckyCharm blog.


Full Makeup includes, but is not limited to:
Moisturizer
Foundation (aka “Base”)
Concealer
Powder
Blush
Brow Pencil
Eye Shadow
Eye Liner
Mascara (two coats, minimum)
Lip Liner
Lipstick
Lip Gloss (optional)

Half-ass Makeup includes:
Foundation
Powder
Eye Shadow
Mascara
Lipstick
Blush (optional)

No Makeup consists of:
Foundation
Mascara
Lipstick (In a pinch, Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers will suffice)

Why is there still makeup listed in the “No Makeup” category? Pray that you never find out.

After 8 years in Seattle, I’ve started to assimilate. These days, I’m appearing in public more and more often without a stitch of makeup. But you won’t catch me returning to Mississippi without a fully stocked makeup bag in tow.

Mom with my sister, Jenna,
on her wedding day.

If you are not a member of my immediate family or a very close friend, you probably never saw my mother wearing anything less than full makeup. She thought of makeup like some folks think of American Express cards: Something you don’t leave home without.

No matter how much pain she was in or how exhausted she felt, she never went ANYwhere (including doctor’s appointments or emergency room visits) without “putting on her face.” Also: praying for a close parking space.

It probably isn’t standard operating procedure, but when my sister and I delivered Mom’s burial outfit (a tasteful cream-colored pant suit) to the funeral home, we brought along a selection of her Chanel makeup. Oh, and her eyelashes.

When we handed them her shoes, we were told that people are generally buried without them.

Not Patricia Holloway. She wore heels.

What item of cosmetics would you not be seen in public without?

52. Beauty Parlors–Curl Up and Dye

5 Nov

By S. Myers: Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no wonder beauty parlors are such popular spots, seeing as they combine two of a Southern lady’s greatest loves, gossip and perms. Oh, and don’t forget pampering. Any belle worth her sugar loves a good pampering.

When you get to the beauty parlor, don’t bother picking up People or US Weekly. Wouldn’t you rather pass the time finding out who’s done what to whom? It doesn’t even matter if you know the “who” or “whom” in question. Some stories are just that juicy.

Back in the day, Southern ladies had standing weekly appointments for hair-do maintenance. I imagine many still do. You can spot them quite easily; they’re the ones whose hair simply DOES NOT MOVE. Ever.

How do they keep the hair in place overnight? Some swear by satin pillowcases, but my aunt Juanita relied on trusty toilet paper. Every night before she went to bed, she wrapped the back of her head with t.p. and secured it with bobby pins. I’m not sure about the science behind this, but her hair always had that smooth, shellacked look popular among women of a certain era.

Hairstyles of a certain era.

I, myself, have spent a fair amount of time in beauty parlors. When I was growing up, my mom’s best friend, LaRue, was our hair dresser. (I have no idea if that’s how her name is actually spelled, seeing as I’ve never had occasion to use it till now.) Anyhoo, as I recall, LaRue’s magazine selection was rather slim, so I spent many an hour perusing the J.C. Penney catalog. The thing I liked best about the beauty parlor was the jar with combs floating in blue liquid. Why modern salons have done away with them, I do not know.

When I was a kid in church, I scanned the hair-dos of the ladies in the choir, and I dreaded the day that I’d be required to sport the helmet-head look. Thankfully, I’ve realized that day will never come. Though each visit to my local beauty parlor finds me with shorter and shorter hair, my curls will never be considered ruly. And if you ever see me reaching for a can of Aqua Net, feel free to snatch me baldheaded. If you know what that means…

What are your favorite beauty parlor memories?

33. Sweet Potato Queens Rock the Tiara, Y’all

29 Mar

boss queen jill conner browne

Back in the day, little girls in the South grew up wearing too-short ruffly dresses, just itching to be named “Miss America.” But now that we’re older and ever-so-much wiser, our goals are loftier (and thankfully, our skirts cover our assets. Mostly). We aspire to be Sweet Potato Queens. In fact, so many of us Dixie chicks (and a fair share of Yankees besides) want to be Sweet Potato Queens, the SPQs have a name for us: wannabees. Although, I must admit to going through a wannabee stage earlier in life when I wore ribbons in my messy hair along with lace gloves and copious black jelly bracelets. I would have had a “Boy Toy” belt buckle could one have been located in the tri-state area. Alas. (Amazon now sells them for 15 bucks, in case any of y’all want to look like a tramp…er…virgin.)

Now in case y’all are wondering why so many womenfolks wannabee SPQs, one word: beCAUSE! Let’s start with the outfits, shall we? They are fanDAMNtabulous, from the tips of the tiaras atop curly red wigs to the tassels on their cute majorette boots. Oh, and did I mention the acres of green sequins in between? Also, the outfits are generously padded in the boob and butt areas to conveniently camouflage figure flaws, while appealing to men of every race, creed, and sexual orientation (hello? Sequins!).

I should backtrack to say that the SPQs sprang forth (not unlike Athena from Zeus’ head) from the inaugural run of the now-famous Mal’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade. And while they’ve been adored by natives of Jackson, MS (myself included) for, like, ever, Boss Queen Jill Conner Browne introduced the rest of the world to the majesty of the SPQs with her bestselling book “The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love.” She’s published a whole heap more since and they’re funny as all get out (is that a Southern phrase?), but I recommend starting off with the first seeing as how they build on each other like Lincoln Logs. Sort of.

Anyhoo, I could rattle on for days about why I loves me some SPQs, but y’all ought to hear it from the Boss Queen herself. So get the book where you can learn about “The Promise” guaranteed to get menfolks to do your bidding, why nobody wears panties to a party, and what to eat when tragedy strikes (I HIGHly recommend pig candy and danger pudding). And while you’re at it, check out the SPQs store where you’ll find heaps of queenly stuff ( like your very own tiara, “be particular” t-shirt, and even “Fat Mama’s Knock You Naked Margarita Mix”).

Maybe the best thing about the SPQs (and it’s tough to choose, believe you me) is that they encourage and inspire EVERYbody to be a queen. No, not everybody can be a SPQ and wear the fabulous outfit, but you can be queen of whatever you like and not just for a day, neither.

Since I’m firmly ensconced in the Pacific Northwest, I think I’ll be the Lavender Queen. Or maybe the Tulip or Dahlia Queen. Or, hell, why not all three?

What would you like to be queen of?

25. Hair Spray–“The Higher the Hair, the Closer to God”

15 Feb

Southern girls have been rocking the hair spray since long before the folks in 80’s hair bands were even born. And they’re still rocking it long after said bands have hit the $1.99 CD bin.

I’m not sure where the maxim “The higher the hair, the closer to God” originated, but I’m here to tell you that many Southern girls consider it gospel truth. In fact, statistics show that 83% of all hair spray sales come from the Bible Belt. Ok, I just made that up, but it seems pretty accurate.

Since debutante balls are on the decline, a Southern girl’s rite of passage is the receipt of her very own can of Aqua Net. Surely by now they’ve come up with an environmentally friendly aerosol can, not that folks are greatly concerned. I mean, what’s a little hole in the ozone layer compared to the tragedy of flat hair?

Fortunately for hair spray peddlers, a Southern girl rarely kicks her dependence on this sticky styling solution. Yes, there comes a day when maintaining big hair becomes too much of a chore, but that’s right about the time folks transition into helmet head. And if there’s anything that requires more hair spray than big hair, it’s the permanently immobile helmet head look. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, be very glad.

Visit the hair care aisle in your local Walmart, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the array of hair spray features available: Volumizing. Moisture resistant. Comb thru. And, of course, everyone’s favorite: extra hold. As if there’s any hair spray out there that features “regular hold.”

While there are plenty of pump-style hair sprays, Southern girls tend to prefer the good old-fashioned aerosol variety. If only because they can’t be easily tampered with. Case in point: Years ago, one of my Southern friends was perplexed when her salon brand hairspray suddenly lost its “extra hold.” After a bit of detective work, she discovered that her boyfriend had added water to the bottle so it would “last longer.” In fact, it did last longer, seeing as she never used it again. Note to penny pinchers: too much aqua equals not enough net.

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