Left to myself, I am not much of a beauty parlour person, going only for the necessary haircuts. I indulge in their other services only when:
1) There is a major event in the family, and going to the parlour before that is the done thing.
2) When I have too much time to spare - I don't remember the last time when this was the case.
3) When I have too much money to spare - This was just when I started earning.
A visit to a parlour is hardly something to look forward to. You need guts, nerves of steel, and you have to leave your sense of pain at home.
Facial: The best way that parlours get to fleece you. They offer you a range of facials with fancy names containing the keywords "Shehnaz, Herbal, Fruit, Pearl, Gold, Bridal" and so on - the more exotic the name, the more ludicrous the price.
S~ and I have various arguments on facials, and cosmetics in general. Sample this.
Me: I am going to get a facial done today along with my haircut.
S~: Hmph. Chemicals on your face. It will burn your skin. Sodium monoethyl Krypto laureate, ethanococcal stearate... (rattles off some more alarming-sounding names). Not good, avoid it.
Me: Easy for you to say... blessed with flawless skin...
S~: Eat healthy, drink lots of water, keep your face clean and exercise a bit each day, and then you will see who has the flawless skin.
Me: I hope Puttachi has inherited your skin.
Never ending argument. Well, I get a facial done like, once a year, so my argument is that it will hardly affect me.
Anyway, this is what a facial entails:
1) A variety of sweet-smelling lotions are applied successively on your face, and expert hands massage and knead your face like dough. Sometimes the massage includes the neck and the back - and the whole thing is really soothing.
2) Your face is thrust into a steam-pot, where seemingly superheated steam burns your skin down - I think that what a facial does is just rips off your outer skin, so that the young inner layer shows through. Ouch.
3) Blackheads are removed by poking a needle into your skin repeatedly. This terrifies me. God knows whether they sterilize those needles. I always ask to skip this part.
4) A vibrating massager is run around your face which makes it seem like a roadroller is dancing the tango on your face.
5) A soothing, cool face pack is applied on to your face, your eyes covered with cotton, and you are left to lie down and dream, or think up this blog post. This is the part where you start shivering with cold, and you remember that your aunt visited a certain parlour just because teh beautician thought to cover you with a blanket when she left you lying with a face pack.
6) The pack is wiped off, and ice is rubbed over your face.
7) Some more stuff is applied on to your face, and you are released.
Waxing: The idea must have been picked up from a medieval torture technique. What else do you call pouring burning wax over your skin and ripping off the hair from the roots? The less said about it, the better.
Pedicure: My personal favourite. You get to soak your feet in hot water, and then the beautician cleans your feet, gives them a nice foot rub, and then you get to put your feet in a nice foot massage vibrating thingy, and at the end of it all, your feet actually come out looking soft and beautiful. After every pedicure, for a few days I behave like someone told me "Aapke pair bahut khubsurat hai, inhe zameen pe mat utaariyega." (Your feet are beautiful, don't place them on the ground - a classic dialogue from the movie Pakeezah)
There are other minor thingies like shaping your eyebrows, and other major things like bleaching and hair colouring and such areas where I have never ventured into.
Anyway, after a couple of hours at the parlour, and after coughing up an insane amount of money, I go home, hoping to elicit some compliments from S~. I ring the doorbell.
He opens the door, takes a look at me, and asks, "What happened? Was the parlour closed?"