One thing I love to do to relax is sneak away to a candlelit bubble bath with a good book. I adore soaking in all those glorious scented bubbles while indulging myself in a sexy romance or high-spirited romcom. I even enjoy action/adventure. And if I can’t have a bath, I enjoy curling onto a cushy sofa with a thick throw and warm cup of hot chocolate—unless, of course, it’s summer in which the throw must be ditched and the hot chocolate replaced with a cool Mimosa. Or if I’m feeling exceptionally frisky, I may substitute the mimosa for a cosmopolitan or a good ol’ Southern Hurricane. However, a winddown I recently rediscovered is makeup. Yep, cosmetics. To explain this, I have to recap briefly my high school days.
Like many little girls, I dabbled with glitter makeup and my mother’s lipstick when I was in grammar school. I didn’t try to apply it in any meaningful way until junior high—which actually was the beginning of high school. See, the school I attended consisted of an elementary school from kindergarten to sixth grade and high school from seventh grade to twelfth grade. No distinctions were made for middle school or junior high school. Although to an untrained visitor, the elementary school may have appeared as five buildings, it was actually one structure that expanded one city block and connected in a series of internal and external stairways and underground passages. That may sound bizarre or like an uncanny version of Hogwarts School of Magic, but the explanation is actually unremarkable. The school was built in the 1800s and run by an order of nuns. A section of the school (the convent) housed the nuns. To move around in inclement weather, the nuns used the tunnels to travel from the convent to the main areas of the school. Since the nuns spent much time in meditation and prayer, the tunnels, as well as the inner stairs, allowed for privacy from the public. More importantly, at its inception, the elementary school wasn’t “elementary”. It was an all-girls school for students in kindergarten to twelfth grade.
As you’ve probably guessed, this meant that the high school was the original all-boys school. It was several miles away and not as large, as it did not have a monastery. It was run by priests. When the schools were made coed, they were split into what is now designated the elementary and high schools—well, sort of. The original high school burned and was rebuilt on a different parcel of land, and the original elementary school was sold to the city as a cultural art building when the order nuns moved from the convent. Instead of being a three-story half-block, the new high school was one-story and a quarter of the size of the original. But I digress. (You know how us southerners are.)
My point is, as a tweenie, I was exposed to and traveled in a circle with the high schoolers. We shared the same hallways, bathrooms, classrooms, locker rooms, and teachers. Naturally, I wanted to emulate some of the more popular upperclassmen, who in my preteen mind were gorgeous. I remember when the homecoming queen, who lived up the street from me, visited a neighborhood playground. She never did this, and I don’t know why she did that day. It was a usual humid southern day, and I was seated on the merry-go-round and covered in dust. (Actually, I think the technical term for the equipment was roundabout, but we called it a merry-go-round.) There was a “baseball” game happening at the time. (They called it baseball but they were using both metal and wooden bats with a softball but pitching it like a baseball—playground shenanigans and kids who didn’t know any better.) I was too little (and lousy) to play, and the other kids shooed me away from the game. Honestly, I didn’t blame them, and my feelings weren’t hurt. I’d rather swing or teeter on a todder than embarrass myself striking out or being belittled for not being able to field a ground ball. I’d never had anyone to teach me to play, let alone play using their janky rules. In any case, I was covered in dirt and dust because it had not rained in weeks, and all the grass around the merry-go-round was worn from foot traffic. Anytime I stopped or started the merry-go-round bolls of dust would formulate and engulf me like a sandstorm. I will never forget that on that day I was wearing white sneakers, white shorts, and a white T-shirt (like an idiot). My nails were ragged and my pigtails windblown out of their scrunchies. Then here comes this goddess in a yellow sundress, French manicured nails, Egyptian lace-up sandals, flawless skin with even more flawless makeup, and perfectly sculpted hair. If there ever was a moment that cussing was appropriate, that was it. Read the rest of this entry »