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Sunday, January 7, 2001
Article

Marriages can be saved by beauty parlours

Marital "malnutrition of the ego" is at the root of infidelity. The husband or the wife who strays almost always does so because the third party admires him or her more than the spouse does. Things that nourishes the ego of the marriage partners are thus a step toward a secure relationship. An image makeover can rejuvenate a marriage, says I.M. Soni

THERE was a ring of resentment tinged with resignation in the husbandís voice. "My wife spends half her life in beauty parlours, but it does not do me any good at all. Of course, she looks great."

Many a husband either voices this complaint with distressing frequency or thinks it. It is one aspect of the husbandsí reaction to beauty shops, where women are now spending fortunes.

Some husbands however, feel the opposite ó they are all for beauty shops, not merely because of what it does for their wivesí looks but for the way it gives a lift to their personalities as well.

"My wifeís disposition changed when she changed the style of her hair," one husband says. "It had become gray, and so had her outlook on life. Now she is as much fun as when she was a natural black 20 years ago."

 


Some years ago, there was not a single beauty parlour in the city. Now the beauty parlour war rages in all its jury. What is it about beauty shops that bugs so many husbands?

It is neither the money nor the time spent that is resented by the men who grumble. Rather, it is the realisation that their wives care about how they look to others but not a bit about how they look to husbands at home.

When asked Mrs Kapoor (name changed) says, "When Iwalk out of a beauty parlour, I am a different woman from the one who had gone in. I have the self-confidence to compete with any young woman or any of the smart-looking career women my husband mixes with daily at the office."

"It makes me aware of being a woman and not only a housewife. It seems as if being a woman is the greatest thing in the world", she feels.

"My husband wants me to have my hair done. He admires anything I can do to become more attractive," feels another woman.

It is indicative of the fact that it is more difficult to stay married today, hence efforts to renew the attractiveness of the partners.

Is this feverish search for youth and beauty, merely a reminder of the superficiality of our times.

I see the boom in beauty saloons more as a force which has the potential to improve the man-woman relationship. They emphasise the fact that in marriage nothing that is personal can be considered superficial. It is the personal touch between the husband and wife ó such as a manís noticing his wifeís new make-up ó that help keep a marriage alive and may even save it.

Marital "malnutrition of the ego" is at the root of infidelity. The husband or the wife who strays almost always does so because the third party admires him or her more than the spouse does. Things that nourishes the ego of the marriage partners are thus a step toward a secure relationship. For example, "re-done" looks desirable, and amorous. The husband responds to this eve with a fresh and positive attitude. He finds her sexy. How does a wife react when her once-lazy-lover begins to take an active, amorous interest in her looks? In most cases she is pleased and flattered and reciprocates with a greater ardour for him.

While it is important for both sexes to respond to this newly-voiced interest in their looks, it falls to the wife, to carry a concern for physical attractiveness one step further.

How can a woman possible look as lovely for her private audience of one as she does for the public? It takes extra effort but it can be done.

When a film actress was once asked, "In your private life, does your husbandís opinion affect the way you wear your hair?", she answered: "His opinion affects all phases of my life. My husbandís ideas about my hair very definitely affect its style."

She encapsulated a marriage manual in a few words. She seemed to know instinctively that husbands and wives who are close collaborators regarding their outer appearance are apt to be equally close in all the matters that concern them.

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