Viva la Follicle

by Simone on December 6, 2011

Each year on this date I think of all the celebration and all the tequila that goes with it.Much is celebrated on this day. Cinco de Mayo in Mexico and Tengo no Sekku in Japan (boys day, which has become politically correct and been renamed children’s day Kodomo no Hi),

May 5th is also the day Maurice arrived at my home as a tiny little puppy.
perfect timing, since he was a boy, though french.

baby mo

Most dear it to me on May 5th is Miss Karen’s Birthday. Miss Karen has been my pal since junior highshcool. We wore matching clothes, matching pony tails and tried out to be cheer leaders together.

I spent days at her house. Her family was close, all her sisters and her mother could sew. All things GIRL were celebrated. Miss Karen’s dad was an engineer, and believed that capability was the key to life. She often said it was the worst thing he ever taught her. It’s hard to snag a man, when  are more capable, and better with tools than they are.


Miss Karen did eventually snag a man who is Hispanic. Was this in the cards even as she was coming down the birth canal?

You can imagine that the 5th of may must be a big deal at their house between Cinco de Mayo and the day of miss Karen’s entry to the planet.

koi fish flying for the boys

We were roommates in the 80’s and somehow developed an affinity for all things fish (but not the SAKE 🙂 it was directly related to a popular saying amongst gay men in those days having to do with fish, and we embraced it. Our apartment became ‘the grotto’ and we were the fish living in it. Eventually we moved to the top floor in our apartment building and then we were living in ‘the top of the grotto’. Our apartment building was in the ghetto, so we were at the grotto in the ghetto. Such clever girls we were. When you have a long history together, all inside jokes are woven together to become not just a new language but another way of life. Many years later we lived and worked in Japan together and were able to experience the 5th of May (in those days known as ‘boys day’) right there in the belly of the beast. There were lots of Koi flags flying (again, the fish theme, are you connecting the dots?). Even though we were, and still are girls, we celebrated the day like it meant something.
If you are lucky you have at least one of these types of friend still in your life. We’re not as close as we once were, we live just an hour or so apart. Our lives went in very different directions. She is, no surprise…mom extraordinaire and still can sew up a storm. Each year, to celebrate our birthdays, we send each other some god-awful gift, new or not, having to do with the long standing fish theme. It has been anything from fish cocktail napkins to a life size rainbow trout that’s a lunch cooler , (which I think she forced her son to carry to school)
to a size 18 dashiki with a fish pattern. Really cool and useful stuff. We do our very best to make the gifts hideous.

Miss Karen and I also went to beauty school. Separately, not together. We worked in the same salon together, we commuted together, we probably dated the same guys too. Sunday nights we would catch up on life. She would sew, and drink white wine and I would iron. We carried on this tradition for many years even when I moved to New York. I still iron, and often drink white wine and when I do, it reminds me of miss Karen.

It is a true miracle really, that we are both still alive. We survived some very crazy times together, far crazier than being two white kids living in a ghetto. We survived cutting and perming each other’s hair while stoned. The follicle bonded us together, not just then, but for our lifetime.

cant we all just get along?

Miss Karen, if you are reading this, know that today’s blog is my fish gift to you. (tanjobi o medito, watashi no tomodachi)

Happy Birthday, happy Cinco de Mayo, happy kodomo no hi- and VIVA LA FOLLICLE!

Do you have a story about doing hair or having your hair done? 
If so, i want to hear from you for my Book Project. Please leave your comment and we’ll ‘Tawk”.
If you have a friend who could use a lift today, I hope you’ll pass this on.




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