All the way to France. I’ve looked up the definitions of both pride and vanity. I don’t think I fit either to the letter of the definition, but I have always cared about my appearance. I admitted in my last post that I can spot a flaw at ten paces. I don’t have to be that far away to find one in myself. All I have to do is look in the mirror.
So, when I went on my pilgrimage, I took my usual cache of beauty products. Once, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with my mascara, blush, and hairspray. I never regretted it. (We also took a bottle of bourbon and a six-pack of Cokes, but that is another story for another time.) In my zeal to pack light for the trip to the Saint Places, I brought travel sizes of the usual…shampoo, mousse, face creams, and hairspray. Hair and hairspray is what this post is really about. Oh. And friendship and pride.
I have flat, straight hair. It is a struggle. I am a thick, curly-haired woman inside my head. Go figure. It is another example of God’s sense of humor. Anyway, two days into the trip, my travel-size hairspray spritzed its last pouf. Oh, dear. Vowing to buy a can first chance, I plowed through the day. Little did I know that it would be four full days before my “first chance,” and would cost me 11.7 euro for not that good of a product.
Tennessee Williams said, “There comes a time when you look into a mirror and realize that what you see is all you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or kill yourself. Or stop looking in mirrors.” I took option three. It was totally lost on my flaw-spotting-radar that we were in torrential downpours most of those four days. Everyone looked either flat-haired or like they had stuck their finger into an electrical socket. I was just plain dissatisfied about my appearance, and it didn’t help that the one hairdresser in the group came right out and told me my hair was flat.
One of my very generous traveling companions had brought two full-sized cans of hairspray, and to shut me up from moaning over my lack of this essential hair product, she offered to loan me one. Here was a like-minded person, and a new friend for life. Appropriately armed, I was able to make myself presentable according to my own standards.
I came away from this character building opportunity with new resolve. I learned a few things about myself. After all, this was a pilgrimage. 1. Don’t settle for any of Tennessee Williams’ options. 2. Some space is better used than saved. 3. Always travel with a full-sized can of hairspray, and it wouldn’t hurt to bring an extra to share. Oh. And pride. I am still working out what that lesson is.