She came to the door wearing eye shadow
the colour of anti-freeze, applied with the subtlety of drywall compound. Her
cheeks looked permanently embarrassed and her lips could’ve supplied adhesive
for a nation’s worth of glueless stamps.
She was wearing something that would be
called a t-shirt if the amount of material didn’t make that seem overly
generous. Her pants were widely flared, à la
mode, and what was on her feet would’ve made it dangerous for her to enter most
underground parking garages without ducking.
She was holding a stupidly smiling
stuffed toy monkey–not, however, a kinky sex toy as might be suggested by the
maturity of her outfit and the density of her make-up. Rather, it’s a sewing
project she’s completing for her grade seven Life Sciences class. She is, after
all, only twelve years old.
She’s not my daughter but, like my
daughter, she is at the tender plateau of adolescence, haphazardly exploring
the decorations of femininity with no decorated femme to guide her. She is in
the perilous position of wanting intensely to look something like Britney
Spears while having an unskirted, unlipsticked lesbian after which to model
herself. Talk about eating soup with a fork.
Way back in the age of the Spice Girls
it didn’t matter how often we passed for their dads as long as we knew the
words to “Spice Up Your Life”, could tolerate the movie and threw some money
towards the un-limited edition t-shirts and pencil cases. But they know the
difference now. Anybody who buzzes their own hair and then uses an eyeshadow
brush to clean the clippers can in no way be considered the slightest authority
on any aspect of personal grooming, including how much toothpaste is enough.
My daughter used to let me paint her
nails. In fact she used to prefer me for the task and I assured myself that my
fine motor skills and attention to detail would keep us bonded through the
inevitable four-hours-in-front-of-the-mirror phase. She used to let me do her
hair too until it dawned on her that anyone whose own hair is shorter than the
bristles on the hairbrush couldn’t know anything about ponytails or braiding. I
can’t even part straight–or so I’ve been told with some disdain.
Locked out of the bathroom, myself and
moms like me cringe on behalf of our girls striding into the world as if on
their way to a Cirque du Soleil audition. Oh sure, loads of adolescent girls
make the same mistake, even if they’ve got someone like Isabella Rosalini for a
mom. But most moms don’t want such glaring (bright, psychedelic, neon) faux pas
to be directly because of us and, like everything else we’re doing wrong at
this time in their lives, we want to do what we can to help.
As gay moms, I think we’re particularly
fortunate. We parent in the midst of the most ravishing, image-savvy queens,
queers, gay girls and trannies–we need only tap into the wealth of resources
around us. Surely someone with a full tackle box and a three-way light up
mirror could come to the rescue?
If she must have one, I want my
daughter’s beauty consultant to be not just good but glam. She has, after all,
such memorable occasions to prepare for as the upcoming elementary school
graduation and her first “real” date (assuming that last year’s signing out of
class to meet at the water fountain doesn’t count). What budding straight girl
wouldn’t love to sashay out on her first date preened by an experienced queen?
She’d even have photographs that couldn’t be used against her later.
So get your high-heeled, tight-skirted,
polished butts over here. Adolescent girls are waiting for your mercy and your
mastery. They need you. Their glamour-challenged moms need you. The school
portrait people need you. Their first dates (boy or girl) need you. Their
bathroom mirrors need you.
And together we could raise the most sophisticated,
glam-hip, 2-die-4, down with, beeUtiful crop of teeny boppers this town has
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