24 May 2012

A Silky Masterpiece, in 34C

‘If you’re going to do a good job, you need the right tools'

This was something I learned back in junior high when I, for some reason, found myself in a woodshop class. Since then, this sentiment has been reiterated by all those I love and trust. My father, Julia Childs, Mike Holmes, and the Make-Up ladies heading the workshop at Mount Sinai Hotel and Spa. Good tools, they all said, can turn something average into a masterpiece.

The project I’m currently working on is my body, especially my breasts. For the last eight months, everything has revolved around them. They’ve been squished, prodded,  and investigated by legions of experts and state-of-the-art machinery. Currently they’re red and rashy, and one of them is lopsided. My quest is to keep them healthy, and my job is to make them look good. Since they need a little help from the outside world, my tool of choice is the perfect bra, and my experts are the ladies at Sophia’s.

 Sophia’s is a lingerie store in Greektown. I’d walked by it a million times before I ever went in and discovered that it catered to every occasion, from slut-wear to post-mastectomy. This is the second time I’d been there so they had already created a file. My previous purchases were two lovely underwire works-of-art with just the right about of support and a pleasing touch of lace. Unfortunately I can’t wear them anymore, cus underwire is a no-no.

Lookin' Good Ladies!
Sophia was sitting in the corner, quietly reading a book. Her associate came to greet me and asked what I wanted. I told her that I was tender and lopsided, and gave her the reason. She glanced over at Sophia, had a brief discussion, then ran around the store returning with twelve options in her hand. I told her that I didn’t want anything that resembled a bandage. She put down four bras. ‘And it’s got to be pretty,’ I said. Sophia mumbled something and the salesgirl put down all but two bras, which she handed to me.

I headed to the change room to try on my new tools. There was a soft knock on the door and it was Sophia, gently asking if she could take a look. Opening the door two inches, I told her I was embarrassed about my chest-al area and would prefer privacy. Undeterred, she swatted her hand in the air in a way only a European Mistress-of-Her-Empire can get away with; a universal signal to cut through all the bulls*it. ‘I’ve seen everything,’ she told me.

So I let her in and she spun me around gently. She murmured,nodded, adjusted the straps, and repositioned some flesh. The bra felt pretty good, and I was ready to make a purchase but Sophia cocked her head, and murmured, ‘No’.

Then she was off, reappearing moments later with a single bra in her hand. In stillness she watched as I put it on. It had soft straps, a front closure, cotton inset, and a delicate trim of slutty lace.

It was the perfect tool, and fit like soft glove. Another job well done. In fact, thanks to a wise Greek woman – a masterpiece.

22 May 2012

Lighten up, Ken.

Today I dyed my hair.

As I drove to my salon this morning, I second-guessed my decision to go back to my preferred non-natural colour. It would have been brave, and kind of classy, to embrace my real hair. Some of my friends have resolved to grow out their roots, and I admire their commitment to authenticity. I could have followed their lead, and now that I’d ditched the wig, used this as an opportunity to forego the expensive salons and allow gray into my life. A fresh start, with the real me.

But the real me is quite shallow. And the real me doesn’t want to look like an extra from Cocoon, which is why the real me hides under hats. The real me wants brown hair! But - the real me also wants to avoid toxins, so I looked around until I found a stylist who uses the ‘greenest’ products; those that don’t burn your scalp and make your eyes water. (Her products come from Europe, where unlike Canada, they have banned certain chemicals found in colours, bleaches and tints).

 But one of the challenges of a new stylist is they have to figure out how well your hair will ‘take’ to the color. Miranda, my new ‘green’ gal, slapped on a bunch of dye and wrapped my head in clear plastic for twenty minutes. I was concerned that my 4-month-old hair would resist the dye, but I needn’t have worried, as it absorbed every iota of the colour. In fact it was freakishly dark. After it was rinsed, and sculpted, I looked like a Ken Doll.

It struck me as rather unfair that my hair has been such an issue. First I looked like grandpa, and then I looked I had my hair painted on by one of the talented artists at the Mattel corporation in 1958.  My new stylist smiled down at me reassuringly. ‘Don’t worry,’ she said, ‘It will lighten up’.

I think she was talking about my hair, but it’s possible she may have been talking about life.  So in the spirit of lightening & brightening, and with nothing on my head but a pair of sunglasses, the new real me into my Big Jim Sports Camper, and sped away.