Going to the beauty parlour is high on my list of most-hated activities. I keep putting it off for as long as I can, and finally, I call the parlour and quickly make an appointment before I change my mind. Since I'm wired to honour appointments, I know I'll stop conjuring up reasons not to go, and I'll go.
The major reason I don't like parlours is that no matter which parlour I go to, they all treat me as fair game to heap me with advice. Firstly, I am that specimen who doesn't straighten my hair (horrors!) nor colour my hair (double horrors!) Besides, I apparently have a face that is a great example for the "before" in a "seven signs of aging" cream commercial and I get a whole lot of advice on what I need to do to my face to become presentable, and that usually includes the most expensive facial available at their parlour. They put me in front of the mirror and map out my face, telling me what is wrong with what part, and all I can see wrong with my face is the frown of anger and annoyance.
Anyway, to avoid getting commented upon, I had started taking special pains to appear my best before going to a parlour. Know that old joke about the woman who frantically straightened out her home before the cleaning-lady came in, saying, "I can't let her see my house like this?" I'm like that when it comes to parlours. I take more efforts to make myself "presentable" to go to a parlour than to go to a party. At a party, nobody comments on my looks directly!
And yes, I knew I was being silly, but I couldn't get myself to stop being affected. And since I don't like to slather myself with chemicals that will keep my hair and face conforming to the prevalent standards of beauty, and since I am too lazy to research and sustain the use of natural products that are supposed to do the same, it is a kind of status quo for me.
And then, yesterday, something happened. I was at the parlour (a new one, because the lady in the old one commented a little too much about my looks) and this girl who was attending to me said the same things - the usual litany of how terrible my face and hair is and what I should do about it. But - it was perhaps the way she said it, or maybe it was just time for an epiphany - I didn't get angry. I just stood back and thought, "Shruthi, she's just doing her job." Just like I cannot bear looking at a badly-written book or a poorly-crafted resume without an urge to edit it. Just like an architect might look at an ugly building and think, "Oh I would have done it another way." Just like a tailor sees a dress that doesn't fit well and feels the urge to set it right. Just like that, this poor girl feels the need to turn my face and hair into that category which current societal standards calls beautiful. It is not her fault at all. She has been conditioned by society about what beauty is. She is just doing her job.
And then, I relaxed. I smiled and nodded at everything she told me, and said, "No thanks" to the most expensive facial and hair spa available at their parlour, and asked her to get on with whatever I had gone there to get done in the first place.
I feel liberated! :)