In-Flight Beauty Lessons I Learned From My 12-Year-Old Seatmate

She was gorgeous, while I clearly looked a mess.
Publish date:
February 4, 2014
airplanes, flying, teenagers

Have you ever been slut-shamed by a 12 year old? Well I haven’t either -- not exactly anyway. But after my walk of shame onto a flight awhile back, I sure felt some type of way.

The morning before leaving San Francisco, not only did I wake up late, but I had to take an additional shower not just to cleanse myself from the previous night’s activities, but to try to coerce what was left of my hair gel to spring back to life. This, of course, caused me to come dangerously close to missing my flight.

As a result, it also forced me to publicly sport an unfortunate disheveled look.

Anyone who knows me understands that this is wildly inappropriate in my world. Not that I’m usually in full-on glam at the airport, however now that I’m officially an adult by most standards, I do my best to look decent in public places. Since we’re all basically sandwiched together in such close quarters, I feel it’s only right to at least shower and make one’s hair and face look presentable.

No one wants to sit next to the girl whose weave smells like stale corn chips or the guy with the sauerkraut breath who keeps pestering you with small talk. So while I might’ve looked like a hurried mess, I took some comfort and pride in knowing that, at the least, I smelled daisy fresh.

Once I cleared security, I sprinted to my gate with a mere two minutes to spare. In fact, the agents had already given up hope that I’d show and taken my name off of the list. Panting and lugging my carry on down the jetway, I attempted to compose myself. I made it to my row and to my surprise (and annoyance) in the seat next to mine was the cutest little brown teenybopper with thick, jet-black hair, flawless pre-pubescent skin, long legs and big brown eyes.

She was gorgeous, while I clearly looked a mess. I wanted to kick myself for showing up looking all homely, like a strumpet from last night. I felt shamed, like my face belonged on a poster whose tagline read, “See what happens to fast girls?”

So, even though it was seven in the morning, I did what any self-respecting floozy would do: ordered a double vodka and OJ, curled up in a ball and slept the whole four-hour flight. Just kidding… although I wished for a mimosa at the least, but I think it was too early for alcohol service. Plus after only getting about three hours of sleep, I passed out from exhaustion before they could even hand out one peanut.

When I finally woke up and wiped my drool we were preparing to land and miss thing next to me was in full on primp mode. Her little routine was so darned cute; I couldn’t help but watch her out the corner of my eye.

First she whipped out her iPhone, flipped it in selfie mode and proceeded to check her pearly whites, which obviously hadn’t seen their first sip of coffee or red wine. As she smoothed her perfectly imperfect unwaxed eyebrows and glided a fruity lip balm on her pouted

lips, I was tickled by a flashback to my own my cherry Chapstick and Kissing Kooler wearing days.

Next, she pulled what I decidedly named the Flip-n-Fluff. It’s like the teenybopper version of Elle Wood’s bend and snap. Instead of commanding the attention of leering young boys, in her version of the Flip-n-Fluff she tossed her hair forward, gave it a shake, then flipped it back and fluffed her roots with her fingers. The end result was hair that looked tousled and effortlessly awesome -- not at all like she’d been on a long nonstop flight across the country. I’ll admit, I’ve tried it a number of times since then on my own curly hair and I’ll tell you that it’s very useful when trying to create a killer "I woke up like diiiisss" bedhead look.

Lastly, she whipped out a mini bottle of vanilla-scented lotion and proceeded to slather it all over her dainty little hands and cellulite-free limbs.

She took me back the careless days of my own youth when I never wore sunscreen and drank soda like it was water. I didn’t give a damn about vegetables, wrinkles, working out or cellulite. My beauty routine basically consisted of feathering my hair, lotioning my hands and painting my toes. Like her I’d whip out a heart-shaped compact, wide-tooth comb and lip gloss and shamelessly preen anywhere.

Although at my age it seems to take significantly more grooming to look as beautifully plain as little Miss America next to me on that flight, she really helped me to see the beauty of plain confidence. And although I light-heartedly scoffed at her carrying on, a huge part of me was wildly, inwardly proud of her poise and audacity.

I certainly picked up -- or recalled rather, a few good primping tips from my 12-year old seatmate. However, if I could have imparted any useful advice I’d have said to her beautiful face, more than anything else, self-love and respect looks good on you baby girl, remember that.