Thursday, August 01, 2013

Beauty parlour epiphany

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! :)


hAAthi said...

OMG I have a half written post about how much I hate going to the parlour. I should post it.. so many overlaps in thought.

I hate the unwanted advice. Mostly because I dont give a crap about how I look. My zit-ridden face has been the way it has since I turned 14. My hair is frizzy and I dont care.

But most of all I hate going to the parlour because its a sheer waste of time. It hurts me to waste 2 hours every 4-5 weeks, in such a mindless activity!

parijata said...

It is an evil, and we have made it necessary :(
Mostly I go to the parlor to get my brows trimmed (they are almost straight and some - only some of them have a propensity to outgrow the others - My Mom fondly calls me kroor singh ) or when my hair start looking more like they belong at a rat's coccyx rather than a human head.

Yeah, I get a lot of advice on how I should apply castor oil to my eyebrows and hair to make them grow better, one lady was even suggesting that I might be anemic, which was why I was losing so much hair.

Reading this post was good for me. They are only doing their job!

Shruthi said...

hAAthi, you should post it! And I totally agree with you about it being such a waste of time. Thankfully, the mind can wander and think up nice things during that time :)

Parijata, totally agree with your first sentence :( LOL at kroor singh and rat's coccyx :D

Writing this post was good for me.. feels good that I'm not alone!

KA said...

Hi Shruthi, I dont quite agree. The girl is NOT doing her job, she is over stepping her boundaries.Like you explained, you have the "urge" to correct the grammar or edit the resume - you dont go about actually doing it, or even suggesting it to the author/person , do you? And you clearly have more faith in the milk of human kindness than I do.I usually smell "very bad marketing ploy" in such circumstances. Especially if I hear Oxygen/Gold/Ozone or some such thing in the same sentence as hair, skin or nails:)).

Anonymous said...

This just does not happen only with women..I hope someone writes about this for men too.The barbers in Bangalore are very well known for their salesmanship.Here is how they take you down..

You saunter into the shop and take your seat.He gives you your reverse superman cape and then examines your hair and then asks you "Eshtu sir age u". You answer..His next question will be "Madve aagidya" now you think why he is asking you this question. You say "illa". His next comment will be "Koodhlu thalege kireeta idda haage saar, Saryag nodkollilla andre Kale ne iralla saar" You wince and grimace and then he brings his USP "Hosa mehandi/sugandhi mix dye idhe hachla sir". By this moment you are beaten down and can't come up with anything else but "Sari haakappa"...
The same routine repeats every time you go wherever you go..


Brinda said...

I always feel how I wish I could dismantle my head, keep it In front of me and cut my hair the way I want ! When I firmly say NO to her offer to dye my hair, she sheepishly says, 'you look graceful with grey hairs ma'm'. she once even asked me,'can't you afford 500 Rs. Per month for facials? I said NO!!!! I don't want it and she doesn't understand. She knows I sing and she starts singing in her high pitched piercing voice and asks, 'kaise alga'? I go their because She stays close by and i can get my hair style spoiled for lesser amount, because she charges less ! :)

Shruthi said...

KA, I used to think so too. But that is her job description. It is the parlour that is overstepping. But then I have realized that people expect "beauty advice" when they go to parlours.
We just have to let them know that we'll ask for it if we need it.

N, ha ha! Come on, you can be stronger!

Shruthi said...

Amma, ha ha, you can write a whole article on your parlour woes.

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