EDITOR'S LETTER: How to become high-maintenance without even trying

2013-09-17T16:56:00Z EDITOR'S LETTER: How to become high-maintenance without even tryingBy Pat Colander
September 17, 2013 4:56 pm  • 

In the pre-high maintenance world everyone's Mom got her hair done once a week. Kind of the standard perq for washing the dishes by hand, peeling potatoes three or four times a week, ironing men's dress shirts and keeping the household budget on track, the checkbook balanced. Sounds grim, but on the bright side the format was simple and undramatic.

Professional services, like everything else, became complicated. Baby Boomers are predominantly blonde today for one reason: When we were 12 years old we could easily get the money to buy hydrogen peroxide, or if we were really industrious Summer Blonde by Clairol, and start lightening. Children dyeing their hair was a much bigger deal in those days. If you asked your parents if it was OK, they were going to say no. But mothers wouldn't notice right away. And by the third or fourth week, when your hair was bright orange and black at the roots, it was too late for home remedies.

That's when a professional had to be called. Or not.

Most of us went through a period of wanting to look like a freak ---piercings, tatoos, bizarre hairdos, black eye makeup---never truly getting over ourselves until we needed a job. That would buy us a good haircut by a professional stylist. My first Michigan Avenue makeover was done by Paul Glick. After that there were dozens more costly makeovers that never stuck I just couldn't do it anymore. Starting a family meant establishing a monthly hair routine that fit into a reasonable schedule.

So that part was settled, for good. But there were the add-ons: teeth whitening, lightening, covering with porcelian, capping and re-filling. Facial flaw removing, restoring, lasering, tanning, collagen-plumping, lifting, suctioning, sewing, waxing and repeating. Feet parrafins, glue-on nails, stick-on eyelashes,extensions, removal, renewal, rejuvenation, rebuilding and finally, in the end required. These services go way beyond what my mother would have considered reasonable or even sensible options.

Because the work I have done now keeps me looking (hopefully) basically the same as I looked yesterday, last month and last year. Though I never supposed I would visit a salon once a week in more indirect ways, I am trying to achieve what my mother has been going for her whole life. The goal of never-ending perfection---sameness. By now the illusion of maintenance is better than enhancement and what was once convenience is now an investment.

I am officially beyond high-maintenance.

This month's life edit is a collection of special interests---fishing, watching television, running a restaurant, designing a home, researching Disney princess dolls---that have gone way over the top.

This is what we do.

I rest my case.

Pat Colander

Associate Publisher and Editor

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