Monday, October 17, 2011


This past Saturday was my first full day in the salon. No classroom, no theory, no demos. In the hoose. all. day. Saturday. The busiest day in the industry.

Heaven. I'd forgotten how much I adore the salon environment. It smells nice. There are hundreds of products. Beauty products. Implements. Tools for making you priddy. Words like "up-do", "wavy curls" and "facial". Feel good words.

Oh, of COURSE there are less than perfect things about it too. It's not all mai tais and yahtzee. Nothing's perfect. I choose to ignore them and enjoy. I did have to listen to customers' medical problems, home problems, marriage problems, and so on. I guess having your hair worked on is relaxing and personal enough to make some folks lose their inhibitions regarding personal issues. Maybe it's not altogether unlike having a drink or two and unloading on the bartender. If you think, however, that listening to that kind of talk is a downer, you are oh so mistaken. I listened to a customer tell me about her digestive issues and I was able to say things like "Tsk, I'm so sorry you're having trouble." I listened to another one tell me about her teenagers' antics and I was able to say "I know" in a low, sympathetic tone. Over and o-v-e-r again. "I know." Listened to yet another one lament about family issues, spouse issues and in-laws and how helpless she was in her own home, and I was able to shake my head empathetically and say things like "ohh dear. Ohhhh, dear," and "I am just so SO sorry," and "That's TERRible!"

Think listening to that stuff is negative? Ohhhhh ho ho ho nnnnnew. Nnew nnnnnew nneww. I wasn't responsible for fixing ANY of those issues. In fact I'm not allowed to dispense advice or diagnose medical problems. I wasn't responsible for calling Tummy Problems' doctor and scheduling a doctor appointment and driving her to it and talking to the doctor and paying the bill, then getting her to agree to stop by the pharmacy on the way home to buy her prescription. Nnnnnewp.

I wasn't responsible for Mom of Teenagers kids - for coming up with a suitable discipline for their antics, worrying whether they have a conscience or will develop one or remain sociopathic teenagers. Nnnnnewp.

I wasn't responsible for Family Relationships Chick, for her husband who largely ignored and took advantage and took for granted, her in-laws where he obviously learned that behavior, her mother who, through judgmental comments and complaints or backhanded compliments gave her a huge inferiority complex even into her adulthood, or her whiny, powerless attitude which allowed her situation to continue.

I had an entirely different role. The sympathizer. Surprising how saying "I know" while patting someone on the shoulder endears you to them. Remarkable how sucking your teeth, shaking your head and muttering "Ohhhhh my." engages and pleases a person. It's hard for me to take on that role but I liked it. At home I want to fix things when they go wrong. I want to help with solutions. In this environment I am not allowed to do that. It's forcing my hand, making me become a sympathizer, and I LIKE it.

I shook my head with them and Mmmm'd and Ohhhh'd with them and agreed with them. Then at 4:37pm when I walked out that door I smiled and looked forward to heading home. To my children who are healthy. To a hunky husband who took care of his children in my absence and welcomed me home with big open arms and a smile. To a home where I give myself the power to be strong and in charge.

I enjoy my life - being in charge and responsible for a family. Fixing things. Swooping in and helping clean up messes, real or perceived. It's what I wanted, what I chose and I'm grateful and oh so blessed.

There is, however, an undeniable lift to the spirit when you spend the day in a spa atmosphere. Regardless of whether you are the receiver or the giver of the service you're surrounded by good smells, lightweight tenuous issues such as whether to polish with orange-red or pinky-red or whether to do highlights just around the face or all over. Straight or curly, up-do or down.

Yes it's a fanciful, frivolous environment. To my mind it's the perfect balance to real life.


Doodles said...

Makes me think of Steel Magnolias ;)

Allie and Pattie said...

Perfect! :)