4/23/09

The Preschool Teacher Got A Tattoo

For my sister's birthday last week, I took her to get a facial at TigerLilly Salon in SLO on the recommendation of a friend. Having never been there before, I went in with my sis to check it out before she started her treatment. The place is great, funky, purple, mod, with a good soundtrack and big windows.
And the uniform those hairdressers wore, well, I'll share with you my version of the employe handbook I envision would be written for "TigerLilly Salon's Dress Code": Fiery colored hair, any shade of a Reece's Pieces, followed by various metal accessories, preferably puncturing the face. Be sure to wear something that Mrs. Cleaver wore on that hit 1950s TV show, complete with apron. Any bare skin should be covered with brightly colored ink tattoos, bigger the better. Do not allow bare skin to be uncovered. Feet should be forced into exceptionally high heels, recommend a platform wedge but will allow stilletos.
After a few minutes of observation I walked out the door and into another world, Earth, I believe they call it. When did unique become the protocol?
Okay, okay, wait a second, I might be misleading you to think that I am a right winged conservative. That I own a pair of penny loafers hidden back there in my closet and I like wearing cotton briefs to bed. That I don't believe in tofu. You've got me all wrong! I can appreciate a good tattoo, and I've had a few facial piercings in my lifetime. And just to show you I'm a good sport, I can even name three tattoo parlors within miles of my home.
So, when I walked into the preschool today after a week of spring break, I was greeted by Shelby's teacher and her Giant Purple Iris. That's right, her Giant Purple Iris was staring right at me. How can you have a conversation with someone without mentioning their Giant Purple Iris? If I had an Iris like that I would expect someone to point it out and admire it. So, I pointed it out, and I admired it. And the teacher thanked me, and then added apologetically, "I wasn't sure how parents would take this," she said, "and it IS a little bigger than I had wanted." Yep. I could see that.
"Did you have it done in here in town?" I asked, because as I mentioned, I can name ALL THREE parlors here in town, which is trivia I was dying to share with someone...anyone.
"Oh, no. I've been to some of the places here with my son and his friends and I prefer a place over in San Luis. There's an artist there who's really talented."
That's when I pictured the preschool teacher in her starched white blouse and pressed denim slacks perched on a low bar stool in the back room of some seedy, smoke filled tattoo place with a group of sweaty college boys and an Ink artist name Bubba. I watched her take a long drag from her cigarette and throw her leg up on the bar, carefully rolling up her pant leg so it wouldn't wrinkle. Then she slipped off her Birkenstock, the room went silent. Through clenched teeth she said, as she smoothly blew a perfect circle of smoke, "Put her right there, Bubba, big n' pretty."
ZAP!
Okay, I'm pretty sure that's not how it happened. But, pairing this teacher together with a tattoo, for me, was like trying to picture Martha Stewart doing an episode titled "Home Tattooing: Get Your Ink With Style". I mean, after her stint in the pen I suppose Martha is pretty much an expert. With that I turned the image of the preschool teacher in the tattoo parlor over in my head a few times while words of support and encouragement spilled from my mouth, and just as quickly as the words came out my heart soon followed. Good for her, I concluded. There's no harm in a tattoo. It doesn't effect her ability to teach my child (well, unless of course The Purple Iris stares at Shelby the way it did me, in which case it could be terribly distracting...), and it certainly doesn't make her a better or worse person. Well, actually, it does make her a better person, because she's one iota happier. And if that's what it takes, life's too short to stick to the program. Unique or employee dress code, life is utterly too short to live without your Iris.

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