By D. E. Finley
Today, I went upstairs to find our domestic engineer (maid or housekeeper, whichever is more politically correct), Dialinda, looking at her hair in the mirror, her face creased with concern. Dialinda showed me how since she’d been dieting to loose weight for her check-up, her hair had been getting brittle and falling out.

Sensing the urgency, I grabbed my beautician hat. At last, I someone else to share my expertise with. I combed through my alphabetized inventory of hair care products in the bathroom to see what was in stock. I poured from the quart, wholesale, beauty store quantities that I’d bought on eBay, into smaller bottles:

– Bad Hair Day Emergency 911: reviving mist (with complimentary CPR manual).
– Gilligan’s Island: the professor’s coconut milk shampoo for split ends and frizzies – storm damage relief with vitamin-H (hair) and banana leaf extract.
– Stalker: 24-7, clinging protein conditioner provides hair with obsessive staying power, body, and shine.
– Rabid Dog: aggressive, frothing, leave-in detangler de force.
– Horse Sense: organic oat bran, hay bale, beta-carotene, and sugar cube scalp massage lotion for any 3-day event or show.
– Vell Hung: long hair straightening lotion with Barvarian conditioning.
– The Shining: detailing mist for a hauntingly intense light and shine.
– Floor Tile Hairdo Style: sanitizing hair gloss and polish – chemically enhanced for a lustrous, anti-bacterial shine and finish – also recommended for floors.
– UFO Hair Stay: hair spray with extraterrestrial protein for supernatural hold. (I gave Dialinda one of my warehouse club bottles of this.)

The next challenge was explaining the steps and cycles for all the hair care products, written in English on the containers. Fortunately, together, Dialinda and I managed to communicate. As I acted out the product descriptions, Dialinda patiently taught me the pronunciations and words in Portuguese, regarding shampooing, conditioning, brushing, blow drying, curling, styling, cutting, etc. Excitedly, I telephoned my hairdresser, Humberto, to make an appointment by myself in Portuguese, for the very first time, without my translator’s or Portuguese teacher’s help! Dialinda, being happy for me, (and noticing how proud I was of myself) gave me a big hug, a wide smile, and a thumbs up.

I figured that Dialinda’s hair complaints would also give me the perfect opportunity to give her dieting recommendations, and nutrition tips. Next, I reached for my nutritionist cap, that I’ve had since I joined Weight Watchers for two weeks. The only thing that has changed is the type of diet. And, depending on which diets that I reviewed with Dialinda, I’d have to modify them a little had a nutritionist for Brazil:

– Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution (first, I’d need to see it work for Dr. Phil)
– Zone diet (Brazilian Time Zone diet)
– Atlkins Diet (Churrascaria diet minus the carb.s)
– South Beach Diet (Copacabana Beach Diet)
– Rice Diet (Rice and Beans Diet)
– Mediterranean Diet (Brazilian, São Paulo, or Campinas Diet)
– My Big Fat Greek Diet (My Big Fat South American, São Paulo, or Campinas Diet)
– Waterfall Diet (Iguassu Falls Diet on the Brazilian side)
– Martini Diet (Caipirinha Diet)
– L.A. Shape Diet (Rio Shape Diet)
– No Fad diet
– Duct tape diet
– Look Great Naked Diet (Rio or São Paulo Plastic Surgery Clinic Diet)

As I showed Dialinda the dieting information and food items, she was very receptive and appreciative. Kindly and patiently, she corrected me with my Portuguese translations. She also gave me new terms for foods that I’d never heard before. Dialinda helped me to repeat each word or sentence twenty or thirty times until I got it right. She congratulated in a way that made me feel more special than when I won the best archery trophy at Camp Kids-Bee-Gawn. It suddenly occurred to me, that with all the advice I still had to share with Dialinda, I’d no longer need my Portuguese classes or my translator.

Copyright D. E. Finley 2005.

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil: Feijoada Anyone?

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at

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