Have you ever been to a salon and felt inadequate? You know, the kind of salon (or maybe even a spa) that intimidates you to simply step in the door even? I confess I have this morbid fear of such places, wherein just behind the glass fronted door is seated the hostess? receptionist? some fancy name that I don't even pretend to know? with the perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect face... in short, pretty much Perfect Everything. Huh.
Even if you do - albeit hesitantly - step in, you're greeted by a whiff of perfume, dazzling teeth, and a casual toss of the perfectly coiffed mane, all the while enquiring in dulcet tones as to how-may-we-help-you. Swallowing over the lump in my throat (all the while pretending to ignore aforesaid perfect-ness), I struggle to croak out the word "haircut", all the while unsure whether 'haircut' is even accepted parlance. Should that have been "Oh, I need to see your stylist, please?", or, "Whom do I speak with for getting myself perfect hair that I didn't even know I had?". Anyway.
By now, I'm ushered to a seat (accompanied by another whiff of perfume, after The Perfect Nails have clacked their way across a keyboard to see whether I could be "fit in") and offered "something cool to drink, perhaps?". Almost scared to speak, I nod, and struggle to get upright in the soft, squishy sofa that has had my self-esteem sink low into its plush depths by this time. A tall glass of something later, Perfect Perfume has asked me to follow her high heels to where "Sandra, our senior stylist" is waiting, plastic smile in place and plastic cape in hand.
With a flourish worthy of the best superheroes, I'm now cape-clad, and wait with bated breath for Sandra to speak. Enquiring just how I would want my hair cut (Now if I knew that, would I honestly sell my kidney to be there? Really, now.), she picks up a few limp (thanks to being generously doused with water) strands of hair, pores over it (presumably she has to get her PhD degree in the Deplorable Condition of My Hair) and exclaims - softly, but loudly enough for the guy in the next suburb to hear, I'm sure - oh, but your hair is so weak! your scalp is so dry! And there goes whatever little self-esteem I had managed to salvage from the sofa depths. Bah.
I make a few weak protests, offer garbled explanations when she solicitously asks me what shampoo do I use? do I even condition?, and come off sounding as someone who has just recently been introduced to the chemical joy that is the aforesaid cleaning agent. Could've just as well told her I use dish washing liquid on my hair; her facial expression wouldn't have changed an iota. I swear. Of course, the brand I use is (obviously) inadequate, quite incorrect for my hair type, and don't I know about the glorious product that is This One? Obviously sold exclusively at said salon. Another weak smile, while I sit through the process.
That done, hair coiffed to perfection, cape whisked off, I'm muttering profuse thanks, and am waved towards the billing counter. I fork out my credit card, watch fascinated as The Nails work their magic, hand me the charge slip (together with my bill, in a lovely handmade paper folder) and the little paper bag which contains The Products.
Definitely can't quit the job just yet; the card statement hasn't come in yet.