Monday, January 9, 2012

When love stories and hair removal go hand-in-hand

I was blessed with naturally full, voluminous eyebrows.

This is a polite way of saying that if I didn't wax them, there's a good chance I'd have a stylish monobrow. I've tried tending them myself, but rarely with positive results. I once waxed off the entire middle of one eyebrow and then tried to draw it back with eyeliner. 

Green eyeliner.

A detail I didn't catch until I got to work and a co-worker asked if I'd been drinking.

So you see, it's in everyone's best interest if I pay someone else to groom me. Since I'm a cheapskate, the someone else generally ends up being a student at my local beauty college.

Friday afternoon, I found myself being tended by a sweet young pupil who couldn't have been more than 19 or 20. Since she'd never used hard wax before, her teacher coached her on the process while I snickered like a middle-schooler over instructions like, "make sure it's nice and hard before you start tugging on it."

When that was over, I complimented the student on both her waxing skills and the lovely french braid in her hair.

She beamed at me. "I did it myself. I could do one for you, if you like."

There are few things I enjoy more than having someone fuss with my hair, so I agreed and we headed to another room where she got to work brushing and braiding. Feeling the need to make small talk now that she was no longer smearing hot wax near my eyeballs, the student began to chatter.

"So do you have a husband or boyfriend or anything?" she inquired.

I hesitated for a moment before answering. "I'm dating someone, yes, but the word boyfriend sort of annoys me, so I tend to refer to him as my gentleman friend, unless I'm drinking with close girlfriends, in which case I opt for something more risque like–"

I stopped myself, realizing a simple yes would have sufficed.

She anchored a bobby pin in place and continued her line of questioning. "So you guys have probably been together a long time, huh?"

I tried not to laugh at the unasked question, which was something like, Geez, lady, isn't 37 kind of old to be dating?

"We've been seeing each other for about nine months," I began, "but we actually worked together five or six years ago, though we hardly knew each other at all then, and probably would have lost all contact when we both moved on to other jobs, except that he became best friends with one of my girlfriends and then he went through a divorce a few years ago, so when I went through something similar last spring, I contacted him out of the blue to be my mentor and–"

I stopped myself again, realizing I'd missed another opportunity to stick with the simple answer.

But the student seemed unfazed. "Do you ever think he's the one?"

I couldn't keep from laughing this time, though I'm not entirely sure why. Was it the sweet simplicity of the question? The strange personal nature of it? The fact that this is what a 19-year-old's version of a love story boils down to? The fact that she likely asked it because I'd told her I'm a romance author, and isn't that what romance authors write about?

In the end, I opted for the simple answer. "Of course."

That seemed to satisfy her, and I managed to steer the conversation from my personal life to hers.

It gave me plenty to think about though. In my experience, love stories are seldom very simple. Thank God, or all my books would be five pages long.

I'm in the early stages of a brand new book, which means the questions are swirling in my head. What are her issues? What are his? How did she she develop her hangup about money in relationships, and how will his status as a millionaire cause problems? Does she like to be tied up in bed, and if so, will she be turned off when he can't find a silk scarf and settles for anchoring her to the bedpost with her dog's leash?

These are all things I'll be mulling over the course of the next few months, which is something I find quite exciting. Starting from "boy meets girl" and finding ways to complicate things from there is one of the most thrilling parts of writing romance.

Do you find yourself drawn to the complex details of romantic relationships? Are you intrigued by strangers' love stories? Please share!

Oh, and if you have any tips for learning to french braid my own hair, I'd sure love to know how to do this.


Nan said...

Right off, love the braid--I'm just growing my hair out and I'm intrigued with the idea of doing different stuff with it.(Besides just letting it hang there.)

Yes, I'm always interested in other people's love stories, actually their stories in general. My favorite place to eavesdrop is the nail salon. Sitting it the pedi chair, you can absorb all kinds of fascinating stories going on around you. One or two situations have made it into one of my books...real life is always the best source for fiction don't you think?

Geoffrey Cubbage said...

What -- a millionaire wouldn't buy his dogs their own silk scarves to use as leashes? Or if he's businessy, he'd always have neckties handy. Or...not actually what we were supposed to be brainstorming in the comments here. Sorry.

Unknown said...

Here's a link to a girl (Torrin Paige) on youtube who posts how-to videos for braiding your own hair =

My hair is about 2 inches so I haven't tried it but a long haired friend of mine says they're fantastic.

And I'm not going to ask you to tell me more about new WIP because I know you probably aren't allowed to tell more. I can't hear enough about people talking about their books though... or talking about my own attempts (>.<)

Though I'm usually too shy to ask, I like hearing people talking about how they found their partner. My grandmother found her husband at an "old" age as they were both at the same marina (he was a sea captain and she has grown up in the archipelago) and they started talking (I wish I knew about what). I didn't find that out until last year.

Patty Blount said...

Yeah, when you get those French braiding tips, forward them to me. I never mastered that, either.

I LOVE the beginning of a new project and getting to know characters. I am at that same point with the second contracted book in my deal... trying to learn why one character loves every guy that looks at her and the other flees in horror.

It's something of a honeymoon phase, I suppose :)

Claire Dawn said...

Have no idea how to explain french braiding in a comment :)

I love people's complexities, so I'm all about depth. *snicker* I can not comment on this page without my brain jumping the gutter.

Laura Maylene said...

I love that braid and I second your request for tips on how to do it yourself. (I said "do it yourself.") I have always been astoundingly useless at trying to do anything with my own hair. Seriously, a ponytail is practically a challenge.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Your hair looks great; I wish I knew how to do French braids, but I have so little patience for my own hair maintenance that I don't even brush my hair most of the time.
I think that question about whether or not he's the one often comes from movies and songs; I often hear characters in movies saying stuff about how the object of their affection is the one.

Laina said...

I can't french braid to save my life, to my hair or anyone else's, but I hear ya on the eyebrow thing. I pluck half mine out because I'm cheap/broke.

jill said...

I learned to french braid on horse's tails. In high school, I got more practice when my basketball team would braid each other's hair before games.

For some weird reason, I could never do a single french braid in my own hair. Two braids (pigtail-style), I could do with my eyes closed.

Um, did I have braiding advice in there? Maybe, find a cooperative horse and someone to help?

CKHB said...

I have always wanted to be able to French braid my hair. That looks fabulous, and I want someone to braid MY hair now...

Skye said...

I know how to do regular french braids, but that's just fancy-pants there, way more advanced than I've ever done! I say, go with the videos. Then show us results. I love braids so much, it's the reason I've grown my hair out every few years for the past two decades. I think I'm finally over that "if I grow it out this time, I'm sure I'll like it better". That's what I thought last time and the only thing that kept me from whacking it off (oops!) was that I was growing it for one of those hair charities. Now I just need to develop friendships with folks who will let me braid their hair for them!


Nan, I agree, nail salons are fabulous for eavesdropping. The dog park is pretty good, too!

Geoffrey, LOL, this particular millionaire doesn't own a tie. For that matter, he doesn't own a pair of shoes without duct tape on them. He's a little....different :)

Malin, oooh, thanks for the link! I'll have to check that out.

Patty, honeymoon phase, I love that! That's exactly what it's like!

Claire Dawn, depth is most definitely important! :)

Laura, I really want to believe I'll learn to french braid, but I fear I'm way too lazy.

Neurotic Workaholic, I don't know why the phrase "he's the one" struck me as so funny. I suppose it's my age, and what's transpired in my life over the course of the last 16 months. Such a funny way to look at things.

Laina, have you tried the waxing wands from Nads? Those aren't too bad.

Jill, I remember sorta knowing how to french braid a friend's hair when I was in high school, but I'm not sure I'd know how to do it now.

CKHB, the best part of the whole thing is that she didn't even charge me for the braid. I tipped her well :)

Skye, you can braid my hair anytime!!

Thanks for reading, guys!

kamagra said...

I tried braiding my own hair several times. It takes time to perfect it with your own hair.