#3. The Cosmetology School Class of 2006 Collectively Lights Up


It was January 24, 2006, only the second day of my new job in central Iowa. On my lunch break, I decided to take a little walk in the chilly Midwestern winter air to see if there were any sightings hotspots in close proximity. I was walking down a sidewalk alongside the major street where my workplace is located, and looked to my right to see a large building with a circus of people congregated on the front steps. This was interesting, I thought to myself, immediately reversing course and crossing the street. As I got closer to the huddle, I could see that nearly everyone in the cluster was a young college-age female….and as I got closer still, I noticed that about three-quarters of these girls were smoking.

What the heck was going here, I thought to myself as I approached the building’s front entrance to see scores of youthful girls exhaling clouds of cigarette smoke into the winter air. It wasn’t until I got right in front of them that I noticed some of the girls were wearing smocks for a cosmetology school.  And of course cosmetology is a profession that seems to be dominated by female smokers. The stereotype was clearly panning out here as the nonsmokers in this group were the definite exception. “Could I possibly be so lucky as to work across the street from a cosmetology school and share a lunch hour every day with these girls”, I thought to myself with near-breathless giddyness. I paced the sidewalk in front of this building and made a second swing the opposite direction, amazed by the quantity of female smokers, but not necessarily blown away by the specific beauty of any single one of them. Still, nothing to sneeze at here.

I kept walking to the side entrance of the building and saw three more college-age girls exiting. Two of them were mediocre, but the third girl dominated by attention. She was a slender and beautiful dark blond with her long hair running well past her shoulders and resting upon a black leather jacket that was an absolute perfect fit for her. A stunning beauty with an awesome body. The three girls observed the no smoking sign near this entrance of the building and all crossed the street, where packs of cigarettes were produced from all of their purses. The first to light up her Marlboro Light was my leather-draped nicotine girl who then proceeded to light up her friends amidst the fierce and cold wind. There was no good place to spy on them in the parking lot, but I watched for a minute or so from the inhospitable location where I was forced to stand, watching with delight as the blond beauty generated a steady stream of exhaust along with her below-the-radar friends. Suffice it to say I found that elusive “hot chick” of this bunch that I didn’t catch on the first tour.

I walked away expecting a daily allowance of sightings from these girls from that day forward, but this sighting has an unhappy ending. I discovered the next day when I walked to that building that it’s a state building and there was no cosmetology school inside. My only conclusion is that the class took a field trip to this state building. It doesn’t make much sense for a cosmetology school to send its students on field trips to the random state buildings, but perhaps they had their reasons, maybe relating to certification of their cosmetology licenses. But for that one day in January 2006, I saw a virtually limitless parade of college girl smokers who stood to be courted by a gainfully employed young male….preferably one from Minnesota who worked across the street.  And it will always be that feeling that warms my heart whenever I recall that smoky day.

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