We see it with monkeys who pick lice from each other’s heads. We see it with mothers who carefully bathe their newborns. And we even see it with friends. There is something very intimate and bonding about making others look good.
There are many analyses of the beauty salon, including our own, that reveal the communal power of beautification. But what I’m referring to is different. I’m not talking about how we feel when we are among others who, like ourselves, are taking care of their beauty. I’m talking about the impact of grooming one another.
When one person gets so physically close that she can see the other’s pores, feel her breath and smell her hairspray, there is bound to be some bonding. And when you add the selflessness shown by the “groomer,” the connection gets that much stronger.
I experienced this first hand hours before I was due to go on stage at SXSW. Remember my DIY situation? Well, I was able to do my hair and make-up. But fake lashes are a whole other story! So one of my colleagues who also traveled to the conference offered to help. She gently and meticulously placed lash after lash (with glue I might add) on to my eyelashes. Another of my friends watched and photographed it. See the photo above. See how close and loving it appears?
Unfortunately the lashes didn’t stay. But don’t fret, I still managed to look pretty good for the show :).
More importantly, though, I gained something deeper that morning. I clearly knew I had the support of my friends — the one who placed the lashes and the ones who observed. After all, they helped me look pretty. But something else happened. I felt even closer and more intimate with my friend. She could have just verbally cheered me on. But what she did was far more intense. The physical intimacy comforted me. It meant she really, really cared. And I will be forever grateful for it.
In the end the talk went great!
What’s even better? I feel that much closer to my work-sisters. With this kind of support and friendship, I know we can achieve anything!