– LA, the land of the beautiful, clear skies, eccentric dressers, high heels, mixology cocktails, gourmet coffee and toffee. Brendan drops us at the Grove, a trendy outdoor market selling everything from cheap, costume jewelry to Nordstrom’s latest. I’m drawn to the clearance section at the back of the Athleta store and snag a running top for half off – such a deal at $29.99. I’ve lost my common Marshall’s sense and am wrapped up in rhythms of smooth jazz and the water fountain. It’s been a long winter in Chicagoland, and the sunshine seduces me. At an upstairs outdoor lounge, I order a “Spicy Fifty”, a martini with my name on it. Tim, Kevin, and I split a mountain of nachos as I scan for movie stars. We pay the bill, descend the stairs, and a woman touches my elbow and asks me in earnest what kind of product I use in my hair. Flattered to be singled out in this crowd with Jennifer Aniston somewhere, I respond, “Aveda.” The tall, dark, meticulously groomed woman gently nudges me into a high back chair by her sidewalk booth and begins combing. I’m immediately lulled into compliance, but I tell myself Do not buy anything. “Nice cut,” she compliments. I’ll have to tell Nicole at Vanis. “Clip, lift, and smooth,” the lady coos as she eases a flat iron through my hair. “See how shiny your hair is now?” Five minutes later, I hand over my Visa and am given my game changer. I turn to see Tim’s frown. He silently takes the clear bag and walks ahead of me. I duck into Crate and Barrel, and when I meet Tim again, he says, “Two women saw me carrying this bag and asked me to buy perfume. They figured I’d buy anything.” I say, “That’s very funny , Tim,” and scoff off. Just say you love my hair. What’s wrong with you?
The Flat Iron