Thursday, October 11, 2012

Waxing Poetic

I go to the salon infrequently enough that when I do go I feel like an awkward, dirty creature with big flippers and dirty fingernails. I try, but I've never gotten the hang of it. Still, it's nice to sit in a chair and get primped and fussed over; feel like a queen. A few days ago I went to get my eyebrows waxed and was just settling in the waiting area when this guy came up to me, said Waxing? and pointed his thumb for me to follow him to the back. I did have a moment's thought sail through my head, "A guy?" but I shrugged and kept walking. Most salons are like the back rooms of old west whore houses, all women, quiet, peaceful; there are boundaries, silent codes. Most don't include male workers wearing backwards baseball caps and sets of keys buckled on their pants, but I thought maybe it's a cultural thing, maybe in his country it's the norm.

I sat in the chair and laid my head back, let him have a look. He said "You get lip too?"

I said No, just eyebrows.

"You have hair there. A lot."

Okay freeze that frame for a second. Do you see how he's looking at me right now? Kind of wincing and tilting his head in vast dismay. This is the only thing I can see. I know I should have laughed and said "Stop playin. I do not have hair on my upper lip. My brothers don't even have hair on their upper lips. I come from a very long line of hairless people" but from his expression, all I can see is that my upper lip looks exactly the same as Tom Sellack's, and so I say, Jesus yes, take it off!

He nods happily and says, "I make you look like a real woman"

I laugh and think it's a good thing I don't have real feelings.

He turns and gets the wax ready.

I may not have real feelings but I do have a real imagination and I start looking at this guy and wondering if maybe he's the owner's drug crazed son who was shunned and shamed and renounced, and now periodically sneaks into his mother's work and waxes the eyebrows off some of the non-regulars.

I start to get up.

Lie down.


(I say okay!)

He slaps some wax on my upper lip (actually, to be honest, he's gentle, he even asks me if it's too hot) and then rips. "See?" He holds up the cloth for my inspection.

"Gimme that thing", I say sitting up. There's nothing! Not even a long stray whisker. "I don't see anything".

"You must need glasses!"

Can you believe this guy? Has he never spoken to a woman before? (even one that's not real?) Has he never spoken to a customer ? ...But again, I laugh. It's true, I do need glasses. I can't help it but I start to like him. He's honest! He's direct! Then I realize my upper lip is burning. I wave my hand in front of my face to soothe it.

Here, you need some cream, he says and slathers a big heap of greasy cream across my mouth.

Wait...don't you know that...please don't....big whiteheads...sensitive...."mmm coconut, thank you". I ask for the mirror and my whole lip area is so red (and now shiny) that it looks like I did actually have a big bushy stache only seconds ago.

He motions his hand for me to lay my head back down. I am fully aware that he is about to take off both of my eyebrows, completely, with one press and pull of the wax, but I do as I'm told. Whatever, it'll be fine. They'll grow back.

Once he's done I grab the mirror again. I want to be the first to see. I need to prepare myself for the jeers, but I look... and it's okay. They look nice. They're not even red. Wow! I say, actually grateful that he hasn't turned me into an alien. He shrugs, of course they look fantastic, I'm an artist, that's how I do. He hands me a check and says "You go up front" and pushes me out the door. If he had given me a swift kick it wouldn't have surprised me.

"Thank you," I say, even though as I'm saying it I don't know why, "See you next year".

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