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Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Wanted to Look Japanese

When I was younger, I wanted to look Japanese. I tried to slant my eyes with my fingers so they maybe would stay in that almond shape. I wanted to wear kimonos and I wrapped old drapes from grandma's attic around me and used my daddy's ties to make a sash.
Sometimes I would want to look very Lebanese~half my heritage~the other half is Scot Irish. My hair had turned dark by the second grade so I felt I was part way there and I tanned well so that, I felt, was the ethnic appearance. I spent the summer between 7th and 8th grade in Maine with my Lebanese relatives and bought big round black glasses that were the "hit" on the East Coast...I'm from the Midwest. I thought they looked smashing especially with my braces on my teeth. Kids on the bus teased about them but when they broke they said they really liked the glasses and missed them! Who knew?
When I began high school I wanted to look Swedish and with the help of my dad and the drugstore we colored my hair with Nestle's Henna. I thought my hair would instantly turn blonde. Daddy helped me wash it in and comb it through~he always encouraged the girlie girl in us 3 girls~Mother was a tomboy, haha. My hair came out with reddish highlights~I didn't realize you had to strip your hair with peroxide first to remove the natural color! I was disappointed but I didn't tell daddy..he told me it looked beautiful and blonde...what a sweetie!
It appears that at some point or points in our lives we all long to look differently than we do. We want more character, less character, long straight hair~remember ironing our hair on the ironing board with the clothes iron? Those with the straight hair wanted curl or body. We didn't wash our hair every day..heaven's no...we washed it once a week and put Dippity Doo on it and taped our bangs flat and rolled our hair with juice cans and then we sat under the portable hair dryer (a real modern convenience) with the bonnet attached to a tube and the bonnet made crimpy marks on your forehead and cheeks! If your boyfriend called you actually couldn't go on a date because you had just washed your hair and it took hours to dry. On the days you didn't wash your hair we carried baby powder in our purses and dusted our hair in the bathrooms at school and brushed the oil and the white talc out of our freshly bouffanted and ironed coiffures. We didn't have panty hose back in the day either. We wore panty girdles or garter belts under our mini skirts. How did we do that?? If the clasps on the garter belts or girdles broke, we used a penny to secure the hose top to the garter. Actually the boys said they enjoyed those days~sometimes the girls would forget to sit ladylike. This I heard at our 4oth high school reunion. The things those guys remembered.....they had trouble remembering their old friends' faces now.
So now that I am much older, do I long to look like something else...well, I would like to be the same weight I was 16 years ago, of course, I would like my hair to be all the rich brown it used to be without these "highlights" and sometimes, yes, it's true, I do wish my eyes were that beautiful slanted almond shape. I still don't have a real kimono either.


Sherry Shove said...

Oh my gosh!!! I have the same childhood memories of looking in a mirror and changing my looks. I loved to dress in old vintage clothes and jewerly and pretend I was drinking coffee with someone elegant!!!
Mini skirts were the best!!! I wore them in my first year of teaching. Older teachers were NOT happy so I made sure they were abit longer to suit them!!! haha
You are truly a gifted, imaginative writer. I love it.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh Kim how very true!!! I remember slanting my eyes...tried the henna...straightening the hair...using the powder...the hairdryer with the tube...garter belts!!! Great post...Dzintra♥x