Letters to a Daughter, Uncategorized

Pretty Dresses

May 1995

The cramped salon is full of excited, talkative teenagers and their overbearing mothers. The chattering sound of gossip fights to be heard over the hair driers, chiming timers and swooshing sink water. Frazzled stylists work quickly, trying to stay calm as they time out the next wash, blow-out and updo in their heads. The hair driers heat up the crowded salon and a cloud of hairspray settles around everyone.

Taylor carefully releases the curling iron, creating a long, brunette spiral. She shifts her stance as she gently takes another section of hair; Taylor has been standing for a few hours and her feet are starting to ache. The teenage girl in the chair moves her head towards the mirror for the millionth time and Taylor has to readjust her grip on the curling iron, taking care not to burn herself or the girl. Another perfect, brunette spiral.

Taylor chats politely as she pins up the girl’s curls, pausing every so often to use a few spritzes of hairspray. More pins and more hairspray. The girl’s long hair is pinned up in delicate, loose curls,  and Taylor begins to make her finishing touches. She adjusts a few pins and re-curls a few pieces. Once the girl shakes her head a few times, to make sure the pins and hairspray will hold, Taylor fine-tunes the girl’s eyeshadow, colors in her lips with lip liner and applies a layer of gloss. The young girl smiles happily.


Dear Isabel,

Today Aunt Nancy babysat you for a few hours. I had to go to work because it was Prom Night. A prom is a big party for high school students. They dress in formal clothes, sometimes rent a limo with a driver and go to a party where they eat and dance. It’s a lot of fun. Your dad went to both my proms with me. Right now I can’t imagine you going to your prom, but it will happen (in about 15 years). Oh boy – that will give Daddy gray hair!

Stay sweet!

I Love You,




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