GlamourGals and Guys
A question we often get asked at GG National is, "What happens if there are men at our makeover?" Today's blog, written by GG Volunteer Cristina, is all about how to include senior men in your GlamourGals visits.
Something amazing about GlamourGals that not many people know is that women are not the only residents to come to our makeovers. GlamourGals is about companionship and connections with all senior citizens. However, due to the fact that we do nails and makeovers, some assume that we only have ladies show up to makeover events. However, this is quite the contrary.
Throughout my 3 years as public relations officer and currently as president of a New Jersey chapter of GlamourGals, many men have attended my makeovers. Yet, it may be stressful or scary for some. Some may wonder: what do I do? What do I say? Do I do their nails? Well here is the answer:
Say hi! Welcome them to your makeover and invite them to sit down.
What do you say? Your name! Introduce yourself and get to know him. GlamourGals is all about connections.
Do you do their nails? It doesn’t hurt to ask! I have filed and even painted nails for men! We have one man who comes in for each makeover and gets one nail painted a sparkly color - he says it’s a conversation starter! Some men might not want a service, they may just want to chat. Its extremely important to create a welcoming environment for everybody. GlamourGals makeover events are social events, therefore everyone should feel comfortable to talk and get to know each other.
Throughout these years, I have formed many bonds with the Glamour Guys of my makeovers. Being part of the GlamourGals Foundation allows me to meet the most fascinating and wise people. However, one man in particular really stands out to me. During one recent makeover, a man that I did not recognize with a slight French accent strolled in. After welcoming him and introducing myself, I asked where he was from. I learned that he was born in Belgium, moved to Brooklyn and ended up in our senior home. Continuing the conversation, I questioned if he came to America for work and his response shocked me. He emigrated to escape Nazi oppression in Belgium.
His sad story evoked such strong emotions in me. I have studied the Holocaust, explored the New York museum, and listened to numerous survivors speak. However, I had never sat face-to-face with a survivor brimming with knowledge and conversed with them. He explained that he was in the midst of writing his memoir and wanted to share it with me. When he sent it to me, I learned that he was a Jewish child during World War II while the Gestapo were sending families from his town to concentration camps. His entire family was murdered in Auschwitz yet he escaped at three years old and stumbled across a woman who took him in, raised him, and sent him to America.
Now, I am not a history connoisseur, but I embrace every educational opportunity I am presented with. Reading his memoir and later discussing it with him may have been an obscure experience, yet it added depth to my knowledge and sympathy complex. Unexpected educational experiences are everywhere. It just depends on how far we are willing to look.
Maybe as a new member of GlamourGals, I would have been a little scared to go up to this man and talk to him, but my story proves why we should not fear it at all! GlamourGals is not solely about the Gals, it's about the Guys too.
I challenge you all to spread the word and encourage the men of your communities and nursing homes to attend your makeovers. I challenge you all to make unforgettable connection and be fearless in the pursuit of learning. I challenge you all to have fun and never be afraid to talk to your residents, because you never know what stories they have until you talk to them!
By Cristina Czochanski