The Association of College and Research Libraries Association conference was held in Baltimore and began on Thursday. It’s a lovely conference center. On Friday, a group of women arrived to hold their conference. They were all dressed in black skirts, black jackets, though some had red jackets, panty hose and black high heels with pointy toes. They all had black tote bags piped in pink. Yes, Mary Kay had arrived. So college librarians rubbed shoulders with perfectly coifed and made up (as in make up, not fictionized) women. Despite the stereotype, college librarians dress runs the gamut from jeans to business suits to Birkenstocks. More colorful than earlier in my career. Be sure to look at the Mary Kay link. It’s come a long way from the pink cadillac, pink suit days, though their corporate offices are pink.
Wait, it gets better!! The next day the cheerleaders arrived. Girls from aged five to fifteen or so, all dressed up in perfectly coifed hair, precisely tied ribbons. The girls were made up in heavy eyeliner, mascara and thick, glittery eyeshadow, shaded to match their cheerleading outfit. And they had a huge star stenciled next to their eye. The star was glittery and the color of their uniform. I was shocked to discover glitter abuse right before my very eyes. I was challenged to expand my limits and open my heart in compassion…..
It was surreal and fun to watch. The girls’ parents were all decked out in Cheerleader All-Stars gear; and were actively and enthusiastically speaking of their teams’ chance at winning. At one point I saw this tall parent with long, thick, wavy black hair wearing jeans and an All-Stars shirt. When the parent turned around, it was a dad with a thick moustache and coupla days worth of beard stubble lighting a cigarette. You could almost hear him rasp out, “I always wanted to cheer and now my daughter has a chance to be a winner!!” I thought it was strange that they were cheering for cheering sake, rather than for the team. It reminded me of one of those cheer movies I didn’t watch all the way through, quoting perkily, “This isn’t a democracy–it’s a cheer-ocracy.”
The hotel was overrun with very active girls and tired conference goers, sensible shoes or not. It was part circus, part Stepford and part just part of the bustle of a diverse world with all kinds of interests.