author photo Sadie’s Doin’ a Little Bit
of Fancy Talkin’ This Week

by Leanne E. Smith

Set-n-Style, perm and highlights in your hair, money in my pocketbook (or in my bra, depending on where I want to keep it). My sin (there’s so much gossipin’ goin’ on here), my soul (we gossip about church, too). Set-n-Style: my tongue tip trips on the “t” in “Set,” then pauses for “n” before resuming motion in “Style” that lets the lips form a tiny smile. Set. N. Style.

I am Sadie — no, not Saddy, but Sadie — in my shop, formerly 5’6” always standing in two-or-more inch heels and some snazzy hosiery, now 5’4” still wearing snazzy hosiery, but standing in red leather orthopedic clogs with a swivel back-strap. Osteoporosis can really be a bit of a downer. I don’t usually wear slacks because they’d hide my luxury hosiery. My current favorite is my pair of nude Lycra fishnets because they remind me of the stockings my mother used to wear, except that these are much more supple than those. I was Dee back then. I had to spell it D-E-E instead of D-I-E, like the last part of my name, because, of course, that would have made me the subject of trauma-inducing ridicule from teachers and classmates who wouldn’t understand that D-I-E could have the same auditory value as D-E-E because D, I, and E are the last three letters of my name, Sadie, and are pronounced, as part of the whole, as “dee.” For anything legal, I’m Sadie Jean. But in my shop, I’m always Sadie.

Ah, the Set-n-Style. Was there a precursor? There was, indeed, there was. Matter-of-factly, there might not have ever been a Set-n-Style at all if I had not sold hosiery one summer, door-to-door, to help pay for beauty school. In this town, not too far from the sea. All the women who bought my hosiery wanted hairstyles like mine. Now, when was this? About as many years ago as twice the age I was then. (I’m 75 now, if that helps.) Mmhmm, you can always count on a hosiery-salesgirl-turned-hairdresser for a fancy hose style.

My shop is vintage, but not out-dated (and my legs are still fairly exhibition-worthy from pumping the chairs for so many years). The misinformed do not come here, and those who do are envied. They are the ones who bought hosiery from me so many years ago and begged me to open a hair shop. Myrtle, Pearle, Agnes, and others come to be prettied on Fridays and leave to be envied on Sundays. I was so busy yesterday, I haven’t had time to sweep the floor until right now. Oh, but look at this tangle of hair.

Leanne E. Smith is an English graduate student from Greenville, NC, She enjoys numerous artsy activities including folk dancing, folk music, photography, and Web design. Leanne is president/Webmistress of the English Graduate Student Organization, the ECU Poetry Forum, and the ECU Folk & Country Dancers. About her parody of the first chapter of Nabokov’s Lolita she says, “Well, I didn’t know what I wanted to write for my fancy style piece, but Humbert Humbert’s line ‘You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style’ echoed in my head as I was falling asleep two nights before class. In my somnolence, my wandering thoughts morphed ‘prose’ into ‘hose,’ and since I love fishnets and have a rainbow of them, I started imagining how to mix hose style and prose style — To evade forgetfulness, I fished my stuff-I-need-to-write-down-before-I-forget-in-case-I-don’t-ever-have-anymore-thoughts notebook from under my bed and jotted down a roughroughrough draft of Sadie’s ‘Lolitian’ narration.”

Copyright 2005 by Leanne E. Smith.