Fishing for compliments at the beauty salon
‘Tis the season for beauty treatments – at least it is for someone like me who doesn’t bother with too much in the way of regular salon treatments unless there’s a holiday looming.
And there’s nothing like looking down the barrel of a day at a waterpark followed by a night away followed by five weeks in the beauty wasteland that is the UK to make me book a bit of pre-trip threading, waxing, shaping and polishing.
But, for me, beauty treatments, unless they involve foot or back massage, are more about endurance than pleasure. Endurance because they’re down-time that can’t be used for anything more productive than making small-talk with a therapist who’s heard it all before. How many times a day, seriously, does she listen to housewives pretending to care where she’s from and how long she’s been here?
Anyway, I digress. So, given the amount of primping and preening that needs to take place this week, I’ve divided it into a couple of manageable appointments that won’t send me screaming into the desert. One for waxing and eyebrows (in and out in 12 mins), and one for pedicure (with an in-chair back massage thrown in – how else can I bear it? In and out in 30 mins).
And today was the waxing appointment. So, there I am, lying on the table, flabby 43-year-old legs bare to the electric light, and the therapist barks ‘Backside’ and gives me that little slap that we all know means, ‘roll over, fattie’. I do, and then I remember that the salon I’m using used to offer cellulite treatments. Thinking about my return from England, where I will be drinking my body weight in red wine, mainlining farm-made Victoria sponge cake, celebrating beer o’clock at 11.30am and gorging on all sorts of pub food, I ask if they still offer it.
‘Nooo, madam,’ she says in that terribly apologetic Filipina way that suggests she may break into tears at the thought of disappointing me, ‘but…’
She pauses and I hold my breath. She’s staring at my backside and thighs as she speaks and, for an insane minute, I wonder if she going to say: ‘But you don’t need it, ma’am!’ We’d both know it wasn’t true – goodness, I’ve seen my butt in the mirror – but the lie would be a kindness that I’d appreciate.
So I wait… and then she continues: ‘But… we offer it in our Barsha salon,’ she says. ‘Very near. I give you the number.’