Ed Note: The first of the beauty rants written in Jul/05 – forerunner to this. Recycling this since I am unwell(shameless sympathy fishing here) and am not supposed to be up and about..
There are three things in the world that I am afraid of - dentists, lizards and superior-young-women-at-beauty-parlours. Today's post is dedicated to the third.
A typical scene from a beauty parlour goes thus
I walk in (usually without an appointment - somehow this thing about taking appointments for parlours has never cut any ice with me - I don’t take appointments for doctors and I’ll be damned if I will take one for a parlour)
Usually two or three extremely superior young women will be standing there looking well, extremely supercilious. The minute I walk in they will turn around and look at me with a slightly contemptuous sneer on their face (I promptly feel that my hair is all wrong or my clothes are inside out or there is a zit on my face or SOMETHING!)
After about three minutes of looking helplessly around one will condescend to come upto me to ask what is it that I want to do. (Usually something very basic - a hair trim perhaps)
She will seat me on the chair (ah, that’s the reason I don’t like beauty parlours’ - the chairs are the same as those they have in a dentists consulting room!).
She stares at my face and asks me "what is your skin care programme"
Me: "Uhm skin care programme?"
She: “Yes skin programme - what all do you do to take care of your skin?”
Me: (Half defiantly, half sheepishly) “Nothing much really - just wash it and keep it clean and don’t experiment with my face wash/soap/cream”
She (rolling her eyes heavenward - one can almost hear her begging God to deliver her from these half-baked-skin-programme less-morons). “You should have a skin regimen - you need to take care of your skin - if you don’t you will end up with wrinkles and marks and look something like that” pointing in the general direction of the picture of an 87 year old woman with a pockmarked face.
She continues: “Look at this - you already have a blackhead here if you don’t take care they will go on multiplying”
I much shaken, peer into the mirror and see zilch: “Uhm where?”
She: “There on your nose! Can’t you see it???”
I peer more intently and manage to locate one solitary blackhead.
She: "You need to take care of your skin - you should have a proper facial and get your skin cleansed and toned - should I do it now?"
Me (feebly): “No- not today I am going for a movie in an hour or so - I just need a hair trim right now”
She (sniffing disapprovingly): “Ok. But I suggest you get some scrubs for your face”
(I have but a nebulous idea what a scrub is - I used to always think it is that thingummy one washes ones clothes with which they beat the dirt out- I have recently discovered it’s a walnut based or apricot based paste, which one is to apply. I haven’t seen it yet but I have just heard all these fancy descriptions from my cousins.)
She (looking at my hair from all angles): “Your hair - it’s so DRY”.
Last time I went there they told me my hair was too OILY - you never win do you?
She lifts my hair up and tells her colleagues “Look at her hair it’s so DRY”
I am ready to sink through the floor, for shamelessly walking around the world with DRY hair.
Then she starts to measure and cut and meanwhile continues her rant.
She: “What shampoo do you use?”
Me: “Head and Shoulders or Pantene”
She (aghast): “Those? Those are very strong! They will ruin your hair - it will eventually all fall off”
Me: (Quaking at the thought of my suddenly going bald):"Uh..what about Sunsilk? Which one should I use?”
She: “Tetra hydrox something something" (I don’t get the last part of the name but it sounds like a washing machine)
She continues: "You should colour your hair - that will automatically condition it and stop it from becoming dry"
Me: "Er no I don’t want to colour it - everyone I know who has coloured complains that it ruins the texture of the hair"
She: "Bah! They do lots of research and testing before they out it on hair - of course nothing will happen to your hair"
Turns to her assistant: "Get the catalogue of hair colour"
I flip through the catalogue - somehow my imagination balks at the thought of me as a peroxide blonde.
I tell the lady the same.
She: "Don't get a global hair colour get it highlighted - that will look nice"
Me:"Uhm but the texture - have been told that it completely ruins it"
She: (In an obvious effort to explain things to a cosmetically-challenged half wit ) : "If you are so afraid of it you should go in for the ammonia free hair colour"
Ammonia? They use ammonia to colour hair? ...Eeeks! I thought ammonia was used for disinfectants.
Me: "Er no ..I think Ill pass the hair colour for now- I just need to trim it you know"
She: "At least come for a conditioning treatment"
Me: "What is that?"
She:"You have to come here and we condition your hair"
Me (suspiciously): "How many times?"
She: "At least five times - you'll need to come every 10 days to sit here for sessions of 45 minutes"
Yeah right - here I barely manage to go to the damn place once in 5 months and she expects me to go there 5 times.
Me: "Isn’t there anything I can do at home?"
She (firmly): “Hmm...at home isn’t good enough you will have to come here"
Me (looking at her piteously):"Nothing whatsoever?"
She: “You can try this new L'Oreal shampoo-conditioner"
Me: "Where does one get it?"
She turns to her assistant who promptly gets it and puts it in front of me.
She continues:"You must use it - you really need to take care of your skin and hair you know"
Me: (meekly): “This is good is it?"
She: "Yes not as good as a treatment here but if you insist this is decent"
By this time my spirit is utterly broken.
Me: “Okay I guess I will buy this”
All the while knowing I am being conned - hell I work in advertising I know how to con consumers into buying things they don’t need or want and I still fall for this!
By this time, the haircut is also done and I walk out the reluctant owner of a very expensive shampoo and conditioner