In the fifties, I was a receptionist at The Coiffure Shop, a popular upscale beauty salon in downtown Flint. We were a close bunch on the job, as well as friends outside of work. One of our endeavors was learning the cha cha cha, which was then the current dance rage. We took lessons from a cute Italian guy named Leonard, which may have been short for Leonardo. When we felt we were the equivalent of Fred and Ginger, we arranged to meet on a Saturday night at the Town Club in the lower level of the Durant Hotel. The Town Club catered to the young hip crowd as opposed to the stuffy, members only City Club located somewhere in the upper floors of the Durant. We often joked that if you didn’t know C.S. Mott you couldn’t belong to the City Club, but members — minus their wives — often drifted down to the Town Club. But that’s another story.
I was excited about the big night and went to Betty Richards, my favorite dress shop, to buy a cocktail dress. Betty was great fun and always interested in where you were going and what you were doing. I told her we were all going to the Town Club to show off our dancing skills and that I wanted to look sexy. I was looking at low cut, tight fitting dresses when she taught me an important fashion lesson, which I have never forgotten: “Sexy is not showing it all but covering it up.”
She held up a pale yellow organdy dress with long sleeves and a full skirt. “You’ll look beautiful in this dress,” she said.
She was right. When I walked down the steps leading to the Town Club, I owned the night.
Cha Cha Cha!