Your Four-Year-Old Daughter Clearly Needs a Makeover

What are you waiting for? Did you breed a supermodel or not?

Of the 120 emails I received last weekend, one shouted out to me, and it wasn’t the one that said, “Score a homerun every night with your big fat baseball bat.” The email I really noticed came from Living Social, and it was an offer for a “child’s makeover.” This piqued my curiosity like a car accident would: How can a child have a makeover when he or she is barely made?

Turns out it was an advertisement for Sweet and Sassy, the salon and spa that caters to “toddlers to tweens.” Among other things, the special would make over your girl a la a princess or pop star, with “age-appropriate makeup,” which has to be the funniest part of the ad. The only age-appropriate makeup for toddlers to tweens is none.

I had seen enough and went back to deleting my overnight spam. “Make her scream every night.” “Guaranteed growth of 3 to 5 inches.” And wait, what is this? “One Week of Summer Modeling Camp.”

Younger girls, starting at age four, can take part in themed sessions like “Rocking the Runway” and “Princess Charming.” Girls aged 12 to 17, will concentrate on runway, modeling and makeup. Rather than rowboat races, this camp offers fashion-design challenges. Rather than arts and crafts hour, this camp offers personal grooming lessons.

I kept the email and thought about my daughters, now past the age of the camp. I remembered taking a carload of Hayley’s friends to a middle-school dance, and how when I went to the house where they were all waiting to be picked up, Hayley was outside playing basketball and ran to my car in her rec league t-shirt, slightly sweaty, hair tangled, makeup-free, and sporting Keds. I was so proud. I don’t know what I would have done if either of my daughters asked to go to modeling camp, other than work very hard to change their minds.

I went back to the email purge. So, yes, 80 percent of my spam mail is for penis size and penis endurance, even though the name Kathleen might be a clue that I don’t have a penis. The constant solicitation for problematic penis products further strengthens my lack of penis envy, though I will admit, I would have a dick for a day, just out of curiosity.

I love Groupons—that’s what I call them, though I am on the list for daily messages from them all—Living Social, Philly Deal-yo, Eversave, Deal Chicken, etc. The messages come in for tooth-whitening, massages, pole dancing, facials, and just today, “Subversion Fitness” special on classes that merge ballet and boot camp. Basically, and this reveals all about me, I systematically delete all of the ones that say “cellulite wrap,” “diet consultation” and anything with fitness it, while I peruse the ones about restaurants we haven’t tried and family adventures. (In fact, we are going to the New Jersey Renaissance Festival this weekend, for half price, thank you very much.)

I will occasionally buy a coupon for a mani/pedi, nail polish being one of my weaknesses, and my older daughter does too. And of course I bought them lip gloss and mascara and the like and I enjoy(ed) sharing those things with them. All I can do is hope they feel these self-improvement activities are self-satisfying, fun and a choice, not a necessity.

The spam comes in overnight, and like 50 percent of all Americans, I check my email while I am still in bed. Yes, I am as insecure as the next person, but I am pretty sure that neither green tea nor coffee, nor any of the cellulite wraps, will truly change my life, and if I DID have a penis, I doubt the 100 percent-guaranteed herbal powder would work either.

I hope the fact that these grooming-for-(young)-girls companies are offering discounts means they’re not doing so well.