I was still 17 when I graduated from high school in Germany. Dad was a retired Army officer, still working for the Department of the Army, as a civilian. I spent my Junior and senior years, at an American high school for military and State Department dependents. In the summer between my junior and senior years, I worked in the first Dairy Queen, ever established in Germany. The owners were two guys from Minnesota. They specifically requested kids from the local American high school to come and work for them, to give the place a more authentic American presence. Well....as authentic as a Dairy Queen that sells beer, can be. ;)
Yes, beer! At the time, you would be hard pressed to find a restaurant in Germany, that did not sell beer. In fact, the local brewery even help set the two Minnesotans up in business, if they would agree to sell their beer. Now, take a bunch of American teenagers, working at night in a place that sold hamburgers, soft serve ice cream, and beer, and imagine what you would get. In a flourish of creativity one night, I created, at least what I thought, was the world's first beer float! Needless to say, it was pretty disgusting.
As I walked to that job each day, I remember passing a beauty salon, and thinking how wonderful it would be, to just be able to walk in and get a shampoo and set and manicure . Of course it was only fantasy at the time. Little did I know, that within a couple of years back in the States, I would be doing just that. I was always fascinated by those bastions of femaleness, and one day while living back in northern Virginia, I succumbed to my long held desires, and walked into a local beauty shop. I was in boy mode, still to freightened to dress up. I even had a boy haircut, albeit a modishly long Beatle cut. (Yes dammit, I'm that old!;)) I was so afraid when I pushed that door open, and was instantly overwhelmed by the buzz of female convertion, and the smell of hair spray. I thought for sure they would all think I was some kind of a weirdo, but instead the owner was just as kind as she could be, and wlecomed me with open arms. She shampooed my hair, set it in rollers, then put me under a dryer for about a half an hour, before combing out my set. Nothing elaborate, just a more poufy version of what I already had, but it still gave me the chance to to experience the joy of a toatally female enviroment. It also gave me the courage to go back. No, not right away to that particuar salon, but later on, to many others, eventually gaining the courage to go full femme. Turns out the women in all of those salons were my angels. They were all so accepting, so encouraging, and non-judgemental, compared to everyone else I knew. God love them!