Dallas is Dallas is Dallas. Big D. My husband was born there, my oldest daughter just moved there, and we lived there before she was born. Finding myself in Dallas more often (I was there earlier this month), I must say some things don't change, including the flash of D.
While the rest of the country might be tightening belts, 45,000 people a day go through the Ikea store in far North Dallas. Get that. A day! That many people don't even come to Santa Fe in one day. Ever. Scandanavian-esque spartan furniture doesn't have flash, so you wouldn't think it would fit in Dallas, but this just goes to show you that people are flocking to that city, and shellin' out bucks, just like they always have, thinking it has all the potential to make one big on the ladder of life. Texas has more Fortune 500s than any other state.
The Barnett Shale natural gas field has things just humming in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. A shopping story, typical of Dallas, is women who drop $45,000 on Jimmy Choo shoes in one fell swoop in Highland Park Village. Women dude up in Dallas. That is like what happens on Fifth Avenue in NYC with the low dollar and the oil rich Middle Easterners who come to buy, buy, buy and get sold and make yerself shine. Only those women do it under the cover, or at least the Saudi women do. They just flash to other women and cover up for the rest of the world. The Burka tease.
Dallas loves sizzle, Dallas loves to shop, and Dallas is out-there-Alpha. Big blonde hair gives heads more of a presence and better frames the face. I keep telling my hairdresser who came here to Santa Fe from Dallas, to downsize my locks a bit before he sends me out into the city that only flashes silver and turquoise. But maybe the economy is impacting some things, though. The Big Pink Dallas House, left, that formerly belonged to the late Dallas Cosmetic Maven (blonde) Mary Kay Ash has dropped in price over time. Now it is listed for nearly $5 million and in March/April 2007 it was listed for close to $6 million. So so so Dallas: 12,300 square feet, a great room with three grand opera balconies, pink marble floors, counters and toilets. Mary Kay is legendary for becoming a dynamo on her own with make-up, like Estee Lauder, only sales are done one-to-one and everything is pink, pink, pink.
I've known women who worked so hard to get that pink cadillac, the top prize for top saleswomen. But I didn't see any pink cadillacs in Dallas. In Houston I head to the book store by the Galleria and see a pink cadillac take the open place by the door. Inside, on the newly released books table is Mary Kay Ash's book, The Mary Kay Way. How can a women who died in 2001 author a book in 2008? Fresh as pink, I think, is a Mary Kay tv ad running (hmmm. that's new - I've never seen a Mary Kay tv ad) that urges women (to oops, was it to be consultants, or seek one to buy the pink packaged cosmetics. oh well.) to whatever. Urging women, that's the point, to better themselves. Thinking pink used to mean Mary Kay, at least in these parts until Nancy Brinker, who started her career in (where else?) Dallas, at Neiman's, no less, realized how to harness the power of women and now we think pink for breast cancer. I'm wondering.... hmmm. Pink is feminine. Pink is fresh. Pink is young and new. Pink is power, hon. Who is the Ronald Lauder rising behind these ashes? Scroll down the Amazon book listing for this new book (an updated release of her 1984 book) and realize that ashes to ashes is not the way this Dallas woman blazed her arching life. It is ashes-to-shining-star. It is ashes to sizzle and razzle and dazzle and glitter ever after, amen, pass the lipstick. Her three best-selling books are still out there. Her principles of business book has been part of the business class curriculum at Harvard.
Her ultra-successful pyramid-sales structure primed Texas-born W. Bush and his Big Texas compadres to think yes! yes! yes! let's. We can win this thing with the Amway man showing us the way. No duh, no brainer. Person-to-person urging. So Dallas, where southern charm and relational-style manners become the subtle veneering charm for the westward-ho make-a-difference, go-get-em-saddle-up dahlin, way. Pioneers, W. called them, those top money-ropers who made everyone pony up big time, while Mary Kay just inspired her Alpha girls to get-behind-the-wheel and take charge of their lives. You, too, can kick up the dust with your pink cadillac.
Bush bestowed titles; Mary Kay bestowed flash. Bush's DNA wasn't really a pioneer but that family had enough smarts to move to Texas to launch themselves. Had Bush been a little more pink with his power, it would have softenend his bristle. Now, Texas Monthly's lead article has a cowboy on the cover this month laments that he just has tarnished the image of the hallowed cowboy, shame him, shame him. Politicians have made cowboy a perjorative term. Bush adopted the spurry swagger as his mythic persona and Texas is rather mad about it. So the upstart Netrooters went to Austin last weekend and Howard Dean started to make his way there starting at...where else? Crawford, Texas. Netroots Nation. How symbolic to do it big in Texas where the buzz is now stampeding with power online, the way the democrats have busted out of the chute on this.
You'd better watch that hot air coming out of Texas. It seems to do more than bluster. I just wonder about the welcome mat, though. Last week a methodist leadership group approved the Bush presidential library center at SMU, thus squashing the two-year opposition. Let's not beat around this Bush. Look-out, world. Just like Mary Kay's new book, the dead can still rise and shine.
Sort of like "Where is Waldo?" is the Dallas buzz: Where Will Bush Buy? Rumors abound about where G.W. and Laura will settle. Is it here, there, or here, they all wonder as the academics at SMU protest the Bush Library. Shape-shifting anathema. A Houston friend from Fort Worth pulled out her FW Social Register to recall something as we chat over coffee. FW is probably the only city I know of that still has a social register. Climbing isn't done so fast there where the cowboys and cowgirls have always, and still are, real stuff and they, those in FW, know that cowboys represent noble values of hard work and honesty. Dallas is where the blemish can be covered up and anything is eligible for being remade, re-enhanced.
Ah. Dallas. Where style flashes. Big blinding time. And Houston is hot. (I forget just how hot it is and was those 11 years I lived there, now that I'm here visiting). In Houston women don't drip caked on makeup. You see a little less veneer, a little more warts and hodge-podge and that is why Houston mixes it up. River Oaks doesn't define Houston like the Park Cities center Dallas to draw the line of who is in, who is out. You can move in and out without having to flash the shaping of the stuff, the self.
But remember, it is true: myths are made and remade in Texas. So. What else is new. Nothing. It is all in the packaging.