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The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

The Canada Adventures of Arielle Gabriel

Mom: "Wear Red Lipstick"

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I think about the sort of advice our parents gave to us on men and women, love and sex, in Canada, of several decades ago.

Of course, you think, but we are all different in our families. Of course, but some places overlap, and are amusing to me, as no one thought to watch what they were saying.  There was no Political Correctness, an ominous phrase, that cshould never entered our language.

My mother was fond of giving advice to me, though my dad kept his mouth shut on feminine matters.

"Men like women who smile a lot."
"Men like red lipstick on a woman."
"V neck sweaters look cheap - wear a shirt underneath."
"Mend your underwear right away."
"Too much eye make up looks cheap."

So we were supposed to smile a lot, and apply tons of red lilpstick, yet watch for Cheap Behaviour in other matters?
In fact, cheapness was a metaphore for being too sexy.  Being too sexy could lead to a great deal of trouble in that time period.

In fact, total social ruination.

Pretty clothes were definitely encouraged. These pretty clothes emphasized the feminine figure shape, and my mother started me off well, a little girl, with beautiful outfits.
I did not have too many, yet they are all memorable, especially the dresses.

I stood in my bedroom with my mother yanking the sashes on my dresses tighter, to the flounce of my petticoats and crinolines would flounce out even further, my non existent waistline defined by feminine artifice.

Humourously my first brassiere was called a Trainer Bra, as though breasts were small leafy plants that needed commercial encouragement.  I was happy to have an adult object of clothing, yet no encouragements from my mother could defer my plans to look like a high fashion model, tall and dangerously thin.

Any girl who read fashion magazines knew that looking like a mature woman was to be avoided. Boyish figures were the elegant choice of anyone with good taste.  I liked my flat chest, though my shoulders seemed too wide.

So wearing out pretty dresses, smiling a lot at boys and men, we were in need of training as to when put the brakes on, with these males we encouraged greatly to take an interest in us.

As for our fear of looking too cheap?  Not at all, we carried ouot cosmetics in our purses to high school, and reapplied more foundation and blusher away from our mothers' watchful eyes.  Even walking down the driveway from our house at 160 Beaconsfield Boulevard, I rolled up the waistline of my dreary grey flannel school skirt to make it much shorter.

I am listening to Classic Rock and Roll as I write this, smiling with warmth and affection, for my own crazy relatives, my own crazy cultural heritage.

Lamma Island * Lantau Island * Cheung Chau Island
Hong Kong * Mui Wo * Peng Chau Island
Tung Chung * Shenzhen * Nanning * Hunan Province
Bobcaygeon * Pointe Claire * Montreal
Peterborough * Lake Sturgeon * Ontario
Vancouver * Richmond * British Columbia

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The China Adventures Of Arielle Gabriel

Bobcaygeon, Mui Wo, Lantau, Tung Chung
Big Buddha, Arielle Gabriel, free paper dolls, 
Pui O, Chep Lap Kok, Tai O, Quan Yin5,
Cheung Chau, Lamma, Peng Chau,
Yung Shue Wan, Montreal, Vancouver,
Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China,
caul, veil, born with a caul