Way too much way too soon

I never expect to see supermodels in Target, but there she was: hair carefully arranged to look 10 percent tousled — 15 would have been overdoing it — eyes expertly lined and shadowed, hemline positioned exactly where it should have been.

She was maybe four feet, four inches tall, and almost certainly no older than ten or eleven.

This sort of thing has been bothering me since before she was born:

She might have been ten, she might have been twelve; it would never have occurred to me to ask. And she’d chosen the middle swing from the row of three, because there was much more room to swing, not only to and fro and up and down, but also side to side. I smiled at her as I stumbled down the hill towards the “cluster boxes” that the Postal Service finds so endearing and the postal patrons find so annoying.

“Whatever happened to my youthful exuberance?” I muttered to no one in particular while I pulled bill after bill out of its dingy receptacle. I mean, I don’t have the urge to clamber onto a swing and get myself airborne or anything; the cruelty of gravity is something I’d just as soon not face. But here she was, a pretty girl on her way to becoming a beautiful woman, seemingly paying no attention whatsoever to the unending pressures from a culture she barely knows. “Grow up! Find romance! Spend money!” Who needs this sort of foolishness? Let her fly while she can, and let her grow up when she’s ready.

Besides, heavy makeup is a serious drain on one’s allowance, even at Target prices.


  1. fillyjonk »

    13 March 2013 · 3:39 pm

    Sometimes I look at children like the one you described (from 2001) and think, “I was NEVER that carefree.”

    But I probably was.

    I’ve just forgotten what it felt like.

    I did the eye makeup/attempted perfect hair thing for a grand total of about three weeks freshman year in college. Then I said, “forget that noise” because it just took so long and it never looked as good on me as it did on the girl in the magazine.

  2. sya »

    13 March 2013 · 7:22 pm

    I’m not particularly surprised girls that age wear makeup. When I was ten/eleven, I definitely experienced the pressure to conform to some sort of feminine ideal. But I guess I’m inherently lazy because I never bothered to even try to conform.

  3. Jeffro »

    13 March 2013 · 7:26 pm

    I remember that when I was that age, girls weren’t allowed to wear makeup.

  4. XRay »

    13 March 2013 · 10:10 pm

    I remember when most women didn’t wear that make-up.

  5. fillyjonk »

    14 March 2013 · 7:15 am

    Yeah, Jeffro, I wasn’t allowed to wear make up until I was in high school….

    I wasn’t allowed to date until then, either.

    When I was ten and eleven, I was more concerned with climbing trees and not getting my clothes so muddy that I’d get in trouble. I would have said eye makeup was something for grownups.

  6. Tatyana »

    14 March 2013 · 7:08 pm

    FJ: I wasn’t allowed to date even when I was a sophomore in college. Did I comply with it is a completely different story. Oh, and my father still thinks a woman who uses mascara has “easy morals”.

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