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FW Weekly Beauty Shop Talk

By Vicki Charmaine Bunch

JULY 6, 1998:  I have never been a vengeful person. I was brought up to turn the other cheek. But the latest episode involving my sister is the last straw.

It's not enough that for years I've caught her kissing Sonny on the back porch. (She claims to mistake Sonny for her husband, Floyd, even though you could fit two of Sonny in Floyd's overalls.) It's not enough she took credit for the trampoline I picked out for Daddy last Father's Day. It's not enough she stretched out my pink pants.

It's not enough she in-formed the Woman's Club about my liposuction when I had told them it was a hernia operation (after they brought dinner for a week.) Not enough she said I remind her of Linda Tripp. Those things would turn a normal person into a frenzied psychopath, hurling hexes, spewing spells. But I am by nature a peaceful, loving person, given to careful thought and meditation.

Everybody has a breaking point, however, a point of no return. Maybe I'm vain. Maybe I'm overly sensitive. Maybe I'm insane. But I will never be able to forgive my sister for the ultimate insult. Nominating me - a licensed cosmetologist - for one of Oprah's makeovers. You've seen them. View-ers nominate their pathetic friend or homely mother - some woman who wears the same ratty bathrobe day in and day out - for a beauty re-do, complete with makeup, hairstyle and a flattering outfit.

The idea is you nominate the person out of love - to help them realize their cuteness potential, as I so often do here in the beauty shop. But my sister nominated me out of spite - because Mama always said I was the cute one. Kathy was supposed to be the deep one. When all somebody ever does is lie on the sofa reading True Confessions, you figure she's the deep one. The literary one. Moody, brooding, with both grass and fungal allergies. Like Camille - confined and overly theatrical.

Perhaps it was my sister's knack for melodrama that persuaded Oprah to select me out of thousands of en-tries.

"Ever since her hysterectomy," she wrote, "Vicki Charmaine has looked like hell. Like many women with low hormones, she's gotten as fat as a neutered cat. She's always asking me to go to the mall or someplace, but it's embarrassing. Please help my sister, Oprah. Love, Kathy. P.S. I [heart] your hair."

She sent a picture of me taken the day I got out of the hospital from having Des-tinee. You know how they roll you out in a wheelchair? With a flower arrangement on your lap, thongs and no lipstick? The lady who called said I was the first one Oprah picked. My gut reaction was to turn down the show. To send a different snapshot taken Easter Sunday three years ago when I was doing Richard Simmons. I had on a size 6 skirt with an elasticized waist, a long-line bra and a Zsa Zsa Gabor wig. I would write, "Does this look like somebody who could use a makeover?"

But then I had a better idea. What if I actually showed up ALREADY looking drop-dead gorgeous? Then what would they do? Struggle in vain to make me EVEN CUTER? Kathy would look like such an idiot.

A word of explanation. I am about 10 times cuter than the newspaper picture that accompanies this column. It was shot right after Thanks-giving and I was still pretty bloated. To get an idea how darling I really am, look at one of the women in the ads for topless clubs and imagine her slightly distorted - wider, for example, and sort of wavy - like if you saw her in a funhouse mirror. That's how cute I actually am.

Meanwhile, my sister is nothing to write home about, unless a charging rhino is your idea of cute. Mrs. Hard Body and a Half. There's not a soft spot anywhere on her. No place for a man to pat and watch it jiggle. That's what happens when you drive a backhoe six days a week. Not to mention having lipo three times and the steroids.

Come to think of it, Kathy could use a makeover herself.

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