It was my youngest daughter's wedding this month and I don't need to state that she looked glowing, radiant, and wonderful. Of course she did!
Even I underwent the - for me - doubtful pleasures of make-up and hair-do. I usually prefer the good fresh air on my skin, unimpeded by cosmetics. But it was a wedding and so I sat obediently in the make-up artist's chair and watched while she took years off me (I have since got them back and that's fine!) She was tactful, gentle, and very good at her job and while I was sitting there I remembered another Artiste in the world of female glamour who had been equally gentle and good at his craft.
For he was a man, in Malaysia, in Penang in fact; he was what the Malays called a Lady Boy. They're a very special kind of transvestite with wiles and ways that truly out-feminine the feminine. This one was so delicate in his touch; he had immaculately manicured hands with long fingers and exquisite pink nails; and at these elegant and gentle hands I had the best haircut ever, and also the best hairdressing experience of my life. He did not begin with washing my hair, but rather by soaping it with shampoo and then applying massage to the scalp and also - interestingly - to the ears. I had no idea the ears were such a sensory zone but after a short time of his stroking the outer shell and then cleaning daintily with his nail the inner channel I was ready to fall apart I was so relaxed.
I've never known a hairdresser in the UK do this but it's brilliant. In fact this was a far better way of taking years off a person than make-up! I came out of that shop looking good and feeling good.
So much so that when my daughter and I returned to our modest hotel, by taxi, because I had a severely damaged foot from falling off a ferry, the staff rushed to help carry my shopping for me. You might think that was on account of my terrible limp but I think not since we'd been staying there already three nights and been thoroughly ignored.
Ah well, unlike Frank Churchill in Jane Austen's "Emma" who goes flying off to London for a - supposed -haircut I cannot expect to fly off to Penang for mine so memory will have to suffice!
And finally, needless to say, the wedding was wonderful, the best and most relaxed wedding I've ever attended and I was not alone in saying that. I have "fallen apart" since in the best posible way - crumbling into a soft heap of fragmented meringue with no intention of putting myself together again just yet. I am quite enjoying myself as a collapsed meringue on the floor....