Alexis writes party-time

Overwhelmed with preparations for my son’s American wedding ceremony, I sat back and allowed my daughter-in-love, Alexis, to write my column for me this week. Joan

The women in the movie “Steele Magnolias” charmed audiences with their charismatic blend of friendship, work and play at the beauty salon. Don’t we all wish we could have a little piece of that magical world of southern love and friendliness? I know I always did, and I found it last week in El Dorado, behind two, heavy, steel, mesh-covered doors, beside the magnolia lined road.
I would have never discovered this salon on my own – I don’t live here and I would have paid dearly at a more expensive salon rather than allow students to experiment with my hair and nails. I don’t want ANYONE experimenting with my hair and nails. But, thank goodness I have a smart, sensible mother-in-love who wanted to treat her daughters-in-love to the full beauty treatment – CHEAP!
I smiled and decided to humor her. I entered the school with lots of misgivings and fears of mutilated hair. I politely declined offers of a manicure and pedicure, subjecting myself only to a haircut.
“Just a trim,” I said, thinking, surely they can’t mess that up. I sat and suffered in fear.
The motherly hairstylist gave my hair an under-cut; now, that’s something I only had done once at an expensive salon. Students watched the work done to me, another instructor stepped in to finish the work, and the salon hummed with conversations and laughter as the work progressed along. An older man had the best time of all — attesting to the fact that men also like to be pampered. I relaxed and insisted that the front part of my hair be tapered and styled.So far my hair looked great.
Next, I moved to the pedicure/manicure station with my sisters-in-law. We chatted with the manicurists as we soaked our feet and laughed. I laughed at the craziness of women ambling by and sashaying around, their southern accents tickled my ears with hilarious stories about Uptown Amish, using Crisco as a homespun salve for cracked heels, and your shoes hurting your toes or was it your toenails hurting your shoes?
I guess you had to be there to understand that one.
The manicurist used my feet to try out a freezing salve she had found on sale.
“Ohhh, it is freezes my hand.”
“Maybe that’s why it’s on sale!” someone said.
We hardily knew each other, but we as huddled together over four pairs of wet feet; we laughed like old friends and passed around a riddle, “How can a woman be married three times to the same man without being divorced.”
Our bodies were groomed while our souls found kindred spirits in conversation and laughter with a spectrum of sisterhood. We shared life stories, beliefs, life-lessons, and encouragement – there is nothing more encouraging for a woman who has just turned 30 than being told she looks younger than 20. These women have the spirit, hilarity, youth, sass and stuff that make small town fun into national legends.
In the three hours we were pampered, students learned by practicing on our bodies and we learned how to care for our feet: scrub, scrub, scrub your feet daily with a pumice stone. Note to self: visit local beauty supply shop to get pumice stone
The students became friends who livened up an unplanned birthday party for two women, a bride-to-be and a hesitant mother-in-law swept by the excitement and fun at my “Steele Magnolia” salon enough to join the party.
Call it “The Party House.” It is a secret, well, hidden beauty salon on a back-road past the railroad tracks. A place for the fun at heart to get beautiful, be young, and find joyous company – The Party House rocks!