Monday, March 1, 2010

I enjoy being a girl, I guess

I picked a hell of a morning to pay attention to shit. I don't know if I'm coming down with something or yesterday's yoga kicked my ass waaaay more than it should have, but all of my muscles are sore and achy, and combined with a very restless night, this resulted in a very difficult morning. I had planned to get up about ten minutes earlier than usual to allot time for hair-doing, but instead got up ten minutes late. I still managed to get it all done -- even ironed my sweater and skirt -- but it was harried and I ran late a few minutes, which meant I ran late a few minutes waking Hannah up, which meant we ran a few minutes late getting out the door, so I was late to work. The price of relative beauty? I dunno.

After work, I stopped at my usual place to get my eyebrows and ::cough:: moustache threaded. Figured I may as well go whole hog, right? And it needed doing anyway. The girl who I get 80% of the time was available, so I hopped right in the chair. This place, Mario's, is staffed mainly by people of Middle Eastern descent, which I find comforting because let's face it: Middle Easterners know themselves some facial hair, know what I'm saying? The Vietnamese ladies at the nail salon like to offer their eyebrow waxing services all the time, but when it comes to handling the Dukakises and the Pancho Villa, well, I want to go with someone who understands my particular high-follicular-density situation. I mean, Asian people are not exactly known for their hairiness, now, are they? Anyway, as she was hacking away at my eyebrows I thought about how much getting my eyebrows done by this particular lady is like going to a strip club. Besides the shame inherent in walking into such an establishment for embarrassing procedures, she also ends every sentence she speaks to me with "honey". I'm fine with her not knowing my name -- I can't remember hers either -- and I guess there's some intimacy in having breasts pressed against your cheek while a job is getting done, but being told, "Take a look, honey -- you like that, honey?" makes me think I should be stuffing her tip into her pants. A point in her favor, though: when I walked in and sat down, she said, "You look nice today, honey!" So thank you, eyebrow lady, for noticing!

From there I headed down to the nail salon. I get my nails done maybe three times a year, so while it's not like I'm walking into Cheers or anything, I also should not feel awkward getting them done. But I do, I always do. It's such a weird procedure, having someone cluck over your feet while cleaning and decorating them. I selected my nail color and sat down in the spa chair next to a little girl, maybe five years old, who was propped up in her spa chair, which was miniaturized and had a creepy pink bear head where the headrest should be. She looked way more comfortable with the whole process than I did -- she pecked at a pink PSP covered in Tinkerbell stickers on her lap as her tiny, airbrushed hot-pink toenails dried. Once in a while she'd glance up at her mom, who was having her acrylic nails filed down with a Dremel rotary tool. I don't know how I never noticed before that that's the tool manicurists use to do acrylic nails, but it is. When power tools are involved with cosmetic procedures, maybe we've taken things a step too far?  It also makes me think maybe I could take a belt sander to my heels between visits.

But I digress. I had some serious winter toe action going on, I must admit. When they're going to be cooped up in boots and closed-toe shoes all winter, why bother spending the money to make them pretty? So what if the peeling skin catches in your athletic socks when you take them off and your toenails look like what's left at the bottom of a Fritos bag? No one but my family sees my feet these days, and I see their underwear in the laundry, so they better not start in on my feet if they know what's good for them. The Vietnamese lady who looks a lot like my mom started the foot bath going, and I realized that this salon is running WAY low on crappy magazines. Um, I would like to learn about Fergie's bikini waxing preferences, please, while you minister to my feet? And because I had left my book in the car in anticipation of delightfully trashy magazine consumption, I was screwed. I had to entertain myself by watching two male employees try to install a DirecTV box. It actually wound up being pretty entertaining because they insisted on reading every screen aloud in thick Vietnamese accents. When said screen is "Almost there...please wait a few seconds" it's a stereotyper's dream up in there.

My Vietnamese mom came back to the chair a few minutes later hauling what looked like a tool kit for replacing the carburetor in an '84 Camaro. This bucket was full of cleaning implements, saws, drills, scrapers, razors, Bunsen burners, you name it. Then we began the little pedicure polka, where you take one foot out, she scrapes or scrubs or gouges or clips or files for a minute, then she puts it back in and scrapes or scrubs the other foot, and then she pulls some other gadget and accompanying ointment out and does it again in a slightly different way. Or maybe they just do it for me and my hillbilly feet. Either way my feet were as clean as a whistle by the end of it. When she started scraping off the calloused skin at the heel and under my big toes, though, I had to concentrate really hard on this weird poster promoting body waxing so I wouldn't squirm. I have very ticklish feet.

Actually, let me describe this poster, because I...don't get it. Imagine the backyard of your standard Midwestern suburban ranch home, full of greenery and brick paths. The presumable owner of this home appears engaged in getting things out of the back of his black SUV, which is parked in the driveway to his garage. But unbeknownst to him, there is a possibly Asian, definitely naked woman watching him from the back hedge. We see her from the back -- she is glistening with moisture of indeterminate origin, and her hair is shiny wet and hanging down in a clump between her shoulder blades. Her right foot, clad in a red, strappy, patent-leather pump, rests Captain Morgan-style on a large boulder. Her posture is upright so that at first glance she appears to be merely observing Bob Smith there unloading his Costco purchases, but there is something about the tension in her body that suggests she is ready to pounce on her prey. To the right of her head in graffiti-style lettering reads: BODY WAXING. In my experience most of the body waxing women engage in involves the front, not the back of the body, so unless this woman is actually a Yeti, it doesn't really display the establishment's waxing prowess. So I can only assume that there is some cultural reference to guerilla warfare that involves body waxing, and I'm just not familiar with it.

Anyway, two hours later I am cleaned up pretty decently, although I took a pass on their offer of eyelash extensions, since I like to make my own out of dog hair anyway. My fingernails and toenails are a deep shade of wine -- I figured it's the last time for a while that I can wear a nice dark winter color, which I like because they hide dirt better. And my heels no longer make a scraping sound on our hardwood floors. I'll call this day a win, even if it did cost me all that time. We'll see how I feel about it tomorrow.


  1. I think it sounds like a giant win. I love doing girly things, even if it is for no one or event or occasion than simply making me look presentable.

    The poster, I cannot explain, but I don't think anyone can.

    Great post (and really, isn't that the validation you want from us, when you dig deep down?)

  2. Ha! This was hilarious! I totally agree that going to the salon is like going to a strip club. The only difference is that I don't like my strippers to talk too much, whereas I talk my stylist's ear off. And I always curl my toes and squirm when they use a scrub brush on the bottoms of my feet.

  3. Thanks! That is exactly the validation I am craving. Now tell me I'm ever so pretty!