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  Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

Oh, Honey!

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I have met my ideal woman. Why, you may ask me, do you, a married woman, a mother, a future grandmother, need an ideal woman? I will tell you why. It is because I have no sense. I have no fashion sense. I have no sense of style. In fact, I have virtually no idea what I look like. I do not have any idea what suits me and what does not. I know what I like, but I do not know what looks good, what is appropriate, what matches with what. None of that stuff.

I donít know why. I like beauty. I do! As a matter of fact I love beauty! I love wonderful material. I adore perfumes. If I had tons more money I would own tons more shoes because I like shoes very much. I am not lacking in the impulse to be feminine. No. I merely lack the ability.

All my life I have chosen pants that were too short; jackets that were to big in the shoulders; odd shades of eyeshadow (if I even bothered). Odd. Thatís the word. If there were two hairstyles available to me, only two, I would without any hesitation whatsoever choose the one that made my nose look twice as big as it really is. You could bet money on that and win. I am attracted to colors that either wash me out or turn me yellow. I am apparently not happy unless my blouses are too snug across the bust and the sleeves are too short. Very, very frequently my socks do not match.

I had a few better years. Not good years, but better ones. These were because my daughters were old enough to advise me and young enough to still be home. But they have been gone for a while and I have forgotten everything they ever told me. I only remember that once I was getting dressed to go to a party and I put on my very favorite article of clothing. It was a hand-me-down from a good friend of my motherís. It was a satin vest, with light brocading. It was white with vivid stripes of scarlet, cobalt blue, gold -- beautiful colors. It shimmered and caught the light. It had a deep swooping neckline which I thought flattered the front of me which was not deep nor did it swoop. I wore it with a "poetís blouse" Ė remember? I think they may be coming back in style. A white blouse with enormously full sleeves. I took the plunge and put on some eyeshadow Ė lavender and plum, if I recall. I was as ready as I could get. "How do I look," I asked my three year old daughter.

"Oh Mama!" she admired, "you look bootiful! You look dust like a clown!" Her face shown with such sincere enthusiasm and admiration that I did not mind, much, and I did not change my clothes. I never wore that outfit again, though I think that I still own that beautiful, shimmery vest. I canít help what I like.

And so, having no sense and absent daughters, I need a friend. But they are not that easy to find in my experience. The last few days are a good example. I had a hair appointment on Wednesday. Here, to set the scene for you, is some background. Firstly, I have been trying to grow my hair out longer. Donít ask me why. I believe it may have been in a pathetic attempt to be under 30 again. I donít want to think about the why too much. Secondly, my original appointment was for July 21st. But something came up. So, if you have hair, you can probably imagine about what mine looked like. I had a dilemma, a big one. Be brave and keep trying to grow it? But people kept asking me if I was sad or tired and I really think it was the hair making me look that way. Or cut it short.

So I kept asking people. I asked my girls. "It looks cute like it is, Mom." (Oh Mama! You look just like a clown!) Then I asked some "friends." You would think that if someone was truly your friend they would not want you to look any worse than possible and you would think that they might be intuitive enough to know, to understand, that you really had no idea what to do. Apparently the vast majority of the people I know are sensitive souls and are not brave enough to risk hurting somebodyís feelings. Even when somebody is begging them to just please answer honestly. Only I was just begging with my eyes, because while I care very, very deeply about not looking like a total idiot, I do not necessarily want people to know that I care. I would like them to think I had a broader focus and more important things on my mind than my stupid hairstyle. Even though I really donít.

Something wonderful happened to me on Tues. I met my ideal woman. Iíve known her for a while actually, but I didnít realize who she could be to me. I do not know if she is just naturally brave and honest and forthright, or if she has some medical condition. Perhaps one involving her frontal lobe. But I donít care. She saw me on Tuesday and burst right out, "OH HONEY! You have got to cut that hair!"

"Yes!" I cried out. Yes, yes, yes! "I have an appointment tomorrow! Just tell me, please, how? How should I cut it?" I leaned forward tensely. I did not care at that moment whether she thought I was small minded and self centered and vain and stupid and a clod. I did not care, I only wanted an answer. I held my breath. "Short," she pronounced confidently, "the shorter the better."

So I did. I had a moment of doubt, based on years of always choosing the wrong thing. But I buckled down and got it cut very, very short. We are not friends, my ideal woman and I. We have a professional relationship. I wonder though if I would be pushing the boundaries or breaking any rules if I asked her if she wanted to go shopping some time. Because what I really, really need is someone to holler, "OH HONEY!" at me now and then.

© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
September 15, 2007 Column

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