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by: Jennifer Poure

Get my hair done.

Sometimes I envy when men go to the barber shop.  A process that is time and cost effective involving only 30 minutes and $20 for  service and tip.

As for me, a trip to the hair salon involves days of planning, weeks of waiting, and months of savings.

I don’t bring my offspring.  To make sure this happens, I check schedules – make sure the DH is off, my parents could be available, my sibling is a possible backup, ask friends that owe me a favor, and see if the girl down the street is still a drug-free, sex-free, church going, God-fearing teenager who loves to babysit.  Once I can confirm with one of the aforementioned, I schedule an appointment, reconfirm with a caretaker and Step 1 is complete. I fuel up the car and $42.53 later I am on my way.

A woman’s hair salon is so different from a man’s barber shop.  At the hair salon, different people do different jobs which means more individual tipping.

When I am done and the stylist turns me around, I look flipping fantastic!   She tells me the products that were used so I can try them at home (although no matter how hard I try, it never comes out the same way).  She makes me a care package and will meet me up front with my bill.  My bill that does not include the following: tipping the shampoo girl, the assistant, the stylist, paying the sitter (because no one was available for free), and the fuel to get there (see $42.53 above).

A trip to the salon is a special event for me in which I save and savor every moment.  With the days, weeks, and months of planning, waiting, and saving, I refer to this event as my Summer Olympics for it only takes place once every four years.

Deborah Dephicit responds:

Sometimes I envy the Amish and not just because they make a mean chicken pot pie. A bowl cut and a little lace bonnet on the head may look a little odd but it beats showing roots!


Ms. Poure:
My offspring gets invited to a birthday party for a 3 year old. Excitement is in the air and we all feel it! They are excited because what kid does not want to attend a birthday party? The games, the fun, the free candy, the cake, but most important the goody bag! I am excited because it is semi-free pseudo-babysitting. Pseudo-babysitting, that is. That’s when you attend a playdate or a party and may have a conversation with other adults but not have to give the kids 100% attention because there are other adults (mostly moms) that will share (not by choice because they don’t trust anyone) the responsibility. Semi-free because you must bring a gift or risk the humiliation of not being asked to another birthday party because everyone will know that you the cheap one that should not be invited.

As a mother, you never want your child hear this from another parent:

“Listen, kids! It is not that Birthday Kid doesn’t like you, we all love you but your mother is one cheap woman. And it’s not like she’s broke because we all know that she gets her unemployment check every two weeks.”

Moving on, I asked my friend (let’s say her name is Cupkeiks) what does Birthday Kid like. She said she loves Tinkerbell and monkeys. I thought, “No problem. How hard can this be?”

It turns out to be harder than I thought. The first dilemma is how much should I spend? Everyone knows you cannot spend too much because it will look like you’re bragging. If you spend too little then you will be labeled as the “cheap blank chicken plucker.” I decide I will set that price when I get to the store because the items I see will determine what I should buy.

Time for the second dilemma. I now face the hard decision of what to get.

I go to Target with the intention of picking up one Tinkerbell item and when I get there, there is a crapload of Tinkerbell stuff. I remember back in the last century when I was a kid there were only 4 items for the character I liked: a lunchbox (did not use because my mom was not Martha Stewart), a pencil, a notebook, and the actual doll. Now there are books, pens, pencils, all types of stationary, dolls, puzzles, you name it. It was like Tinkerbell threw up in there and it reeked of her stuff.

Should I get a book? Maybe she can’t read, next item. Should I get a coloring book? Then I wonder can she draw? No forget it, I will get a costume. What kid does not love to dress up? The question of size pops into my head, followed by what if she has it? What if she doesn’t like this particular costume? Ok, forget that. I will get her a doll. OMG! What if she has all the Tinkerbell dolls? Every freaking item that I pick up, I am riddled with the anxiety of what if she already has this? I CAN’T TAKE THIS PRESSURE! What do I do? I am breaking into a sweat. This is supposed to be easy. This should be easy. SHE IS THREE! She is not a man or my mother. WHAT THE FREAK DO I GET HER?

After agonizing for days (I know what you are thinking, ‘WTF? Days? For a three year-old? SERIOUSLY!’) I finally just go back to old faithful and settled on my gift with a price. A VISA Gift card. Let it be her mother’s problem!

Ms. Dephicit:
Number 1: This is why Ms. Dephicit does not have children and only buys gifts for the people who love her or who share her bloodline. (Sometimes the two are mutually exclusive!)

Number 2: When buying gift for a man the same rules apply as when buying for a three-year-old. Get them something new and shiny that makes some kind of noise and they will be happy. Neither one is that bothered about gift wrap.

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Ms Poure:

When your friend comes up to you and shrieks in a high pitched tone that only hyenas can understand, you generally want to cover your ears. When, however, this kind of reaction is followed by her showing her you a new ring on her left hand and you start shrieking just as loud as her: WE (the ‘we’ in this picture is her and all of her close friends) are having a wedding! Yes, she and the fiance are getting married but WE GIRLS are having a wedding!

After the excitement and the yelling, the bride then pops the question, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” Let the shrieking begin all over again!

I love weddings but better yet I love wedding receptions. The food, the decor, the music, the dancing, and to many THE OPEN BAR! Going to wedding receptions are fun but being part of the wedding party, that is a whole another level! A whole another level that is going to leave you BROKE!

There are bridesmaids that complain about how much money they have to shell out for this type of event. But when you are asked, remember your role is already stated in your job’s name. You will be a BRIDESMAID, as in “maid of the bride.” So expect to be told what to do, what to wear, where to go, what to eat for months before, right through the day of the event. Then, after you have safely walked your boss, I mean the bride, down the aisle your will be told bluntly, “Thank you for all your hard work. Your services will no longer be needed.” If you feel you can’t hack it – or afford it – you should bow out now because you know the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a Bridezilla scorned.”

I have been a bridesmaid three times. Whenever I am asked the procedure is always the same. I start making mental calculations as to how much I am going to spend. The dress, the bachelorette party, the bridal shower gift, the hair, the makeup, the accessories, the wedding gift. Break out the hives! How am I going to pay for all of this?

I know what I must do. I run over to the mall and fill out an application for a part time job! When asked, “Why do I want to work at such and such?”

“Because I just became a bridesmaid!”

I do know that on my friend’s wedding day, the look on her face and how beautiful she will be in her wedding attire will be worth the sacrifices I will make. Even the lime green suede shoes I am forced to buy/wear/keep in a closet for the rest of my life because no one on Ebay wants to buy them and the Goodwill refuses to accept them as donations.

Ms Dephicit:

Weddings are scary. Brides and mother-of-the brides even scarier. The cost of being in a wedding: priceless (as in so high there is no numerical number to represent its cost.)

But still its fun and we do love our friends and family and the open bars they provide!