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Meghan threw her notebook down on her bed in disgust. "I'll never finish this assignment. What do I know about Cosmetics and Beautification of Man in early civilizations?"
Her sister laughed, "Oh, it's not really that difficult. It's an interesting subject. Ms. Thorton is so different from Mrs. Stettler. High school is different. It's a greater challenge. At least she is willing to discuss things and comes up with novel ideas. Who'd have thought of treating history from the perspective of Cosmetics and Men's and Women's attempts to make themselves more attractive? But just look at our society today: every magazine for women shows the most beautiful models giving women tips on how to attract a man, how to enhance their eyes, enlarge their busts and wear the most dazzling dresses. What a strange world we live in. It's as if we have become so shallow that we see attractiveness on a higher level than intelligence."
Georgina was the same age as Meghan, fifteen, and people thought they were identical twins. But even though they looked the same they had different abilities. Georgina was more the applied student. She liked math and solving problems, while Meghan was more inquisitive and often discovered mysteries, which others just ignored. Together, and often with the help of their two brothers, they uncovered ancient mysteries and had already established a reputation of being sleuths.
"Well, I guess it's a thought provoking subject. I've found several good examples. In some of the African tribes the women wear gold rings around their necks. The more rings the more beautiful the woman is. It's strange, but I'd swear that theones with 15 or more rings have longer necks. It must be a real weight to wear that much gold and be that elevated."
Georgina looked at the picture that Meghan had found in the National Geographic. "I feel sorry for those women. I must admit some are very elegant, but look at the cost. They wear those rings all their lives. But I guess it's not as bad as lip elongation and earlobes with huge wooden discs inserted in them. I'm not sure that I find a fat lip that attractive."
The girls were trying to get their assignment ready for Tuesday. And for most of Sunday afternoon they had been putting together what they retrieved from the library or the Internet.
Meghan picked up her notebook. "You've just given me an idea. I'm going to title my paper 'The Pain of Beauty'. She started to write out her thoughts and in 20 minutes she had roughed in four pages.
"Can you believe what some people do to attain beauty? It takes a lot more than dieting and having your tummy tucked. Women have been trying to make themselves more beautiful for generations. Can you imagine having a finger removed to show the men you are so beautiful that you can afford to have fewer fingers? Look at some of the tattoos. Some are so numerous that a woman's or a man's face and body are totally covered with designs and discoloration. I don't think it's beautiful. The worst thing is having teeth filed to sharp points. I just cringe when I think of that. I hate going to the dentist. Just think how awful it would be to have your teeth sharpened like a tiger's."
The girls kept busy and by suppertime each had nearly completed the assignment.
Meghan read what Georgina had written, and it was much different that her own approach. "I never thought that men were the first users of cosmetics. You've got some very interesting facts here."
"You know, if a Mr. Right comes around, I'd like it better if he found me attractive not only because I may fit the mold of what a woman should look like. I'd rather he could see a person and value what's attractive inside and not just outside," Meghan said.
Her sister laughed. "Well if that's the case, why did you spend hours in front of the mirror when Bill Markum asked you to the graduation year end dance last spring?"
"That's different. What is the saying, "there are millions of fish in the sea! A girl's got to improve the odds whenever she can."
Georgina nodded. She too had discovered that just because she was at the top of her class didn't necessarily mean that it attracted boys, except to help them with their homework. Boys were a different species as far as she was concerned. Even her older brothers were unpredictable. Michael was three years older and Andrew was now in first year university. They seemed to enjoy teasing, but when things got difficult and their sisters needed help she had to admit they did come through. But she still hadn't figured out what made them tick. All that bravado! Well, maybe that was the difference between girls and boys. At least girls could share their feelings; boys seemed to keep everything inside. One guy she had been helping was Lars Petersen. He was a nice looking boy and was smart, but for some reason he hated math. She had been tutoring him for two weeks now at lunch breaks at school and found she liked being with him. He had started to relax. At first it was as if because she was so good in mathematics that it intimidated him. Then he discovered that they shared many things in common. In fact he had invited her to go riding with him next Saturday. Riding had always been a passion with her and Meghan.
"Well girls, what are you up to?" Dorothy Small asked.
"Nothing very much; we've been working on our Social Science project. I'm glad it's over with. Tomorrow we are going to Twin Forks to sing in the Anniversary celebration of their High School. Thursday is a P.T. day and Friday I'm going to the dentist. So other than that, nothing interesting is happening," Georgina said.
Meghan watched her sister as she teased her mother. "She is also, going over to tutor Lars Petersen on Saturday. Sounds like it could be the beginning of a big date."
If looks could kill, Meghan would have been struck down.
"I know Anna Petersen, she's in my quilting bee," her mother said, ignoring Meghan's teasing. "She's a nice lady. The family came from Norway and finally bought a farm east of the drumlin. Her husband is a big strapping man. A real Viking!"
"What are you helping Lars with?"
"Oh, he's having difficulty with math. I don't know why. He's smart and has nearly caught up to me in Science. But for some reason he doesn't like math."
"Well for once I can agree, I don't see what you find so interesting in math."
"What is this boy like?" their mother asked.
Copyright © 2006 George W.J. Laidlaw