There IS one place on earth where I feel humbled, humiliated and inferior. My usual self-confidence goes for a toss and I feel not a day older than an errant five year old. It’s the local beauty saloon. From the minute I enter, I look around me nervously. An immaculately groomed lady smiles and asks if I have an appointment. Obviously I don’t. She asks me what I would like done and I state my required objective. She sighs. It’s a very sad sigh, if sighs can be made to sound sadder than they are supposed to be. She comes out from behind her desk and smiles. “Your hair is too dry and there are split ends.. yes,yes, for you a shampoo and a hair spa would be good, pamper yourself and then we can give you a trim.” “Bu…but I shampooed in the morning, I stammer,” “Yes, yes,” she waves an immaculately manicured finger at me, “but see how your hair looks dry and lack luster, your shampoo must not be suiting your hair ….and, she looks at my hands in horror, “your nails!” she picks up my stubbly digits and disapprovingly looks at my toes which I am trying to hide under the top of the sandals. “A manicure. And a pedicure too. Don’t worry, they’ll do it all,” she peers into my face, “and are those blackheads? We have this amazing facial to remove blackheads and tans and it’ll leave your face fresh and glowing with health. Shall I schedule one of those too?”
“No, no,” I finally find my voice, “I have to go, only a trim.”
“Come on,” she puts her arm around me and draws me aside, ‘you are so busy, I know you don’t have time, but one needs pampering. Give me an hour, everything will be done.”
I look at my watch, “okay an hour.” After all, who does not want to look nice? I am whisked away upstairs. Within moments a lady is dipping my hands in soapy water and my cracked heels have been dipped in another vibrating bowl of luke warm water. I decide to settle down and enjoy it.
Only the guy at my feet has determined otherwise, after viciously scrubbing my feet he takes to scraping it, yes, SCRAPING it with a knife blade. Oh horrors, it tickles and I have to squeeze my eyes shut and use all of my will power to stop myself from squirming. The ladies (there are two, I’m in a rush, you see!) in the meantime are pulling at my fingers and have contorted them to impossible shapes, soapy water trickles around and basically I feel cloistered. Is this pampering I wonder, is this what Cleopatra felt like, when she had her milk bath? Then just when I feel like I’m getting used to all this snip, moisturize, knead business, it stops. Just like that. The bright faced attendant shoves peculiar nail paint in my face and looks most disappointed when I want a transparent colorless lacquer. She does not know that no matter what, it will not last me even one round of dish washing!
I do not bother to explain, I am busy looking at my watch and having kittens. In the meantime the phone has vibrated silently against my thigh a half dozen times and you cannot explain to an irate husband that you could not take the call because your hands were dipped in soapy suds!! I insist I have no time for a haircut, not any more, and run before I am sold yet another salon treatment which costs the earth and promises to make my hair sleek and shiny and straight. The receptionist looks disappointed as I make my clever escape after tipping the ladies and having paid through my nose for a manicure and pedicure I did not need! Back in the car, I settle into the driver’s seat, turn on the AC, chip a nail trying to pay the parking attendant without ruining the fresh nail paint and realize I still have not done what I came here to do in the first place: have a haircut!