A lesbian in a beauty salon
Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
147Trip End Ongoing
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What I did
South Birmingham College
Despite it being a college beauty salon where the customers receive very cheap sessions, I can imagine most people wondering what I would be doing in a beauty salon. A sentiment that the student therapist at the college must have had. The young lady was most perplexed by some of my answers to her initial assessment. Questions such as, "What products do you use on your face/body?" were answered simply with "soap". I couldn't bear to explain that I was cutting down on my use of soap to find a minimum amount for acceptable cleaning, nor could I share with her that I haven't used shampoo in years and that conditioner seems to be needed to replace the oils that the shampoo takes out.
Trying very hard to remain professional, the lady, with immaculate makeup, hair and manicured nails asked strange questions about my beauty regime. Fortunately I was able to cite my one experience with makeup and that I was allergic to some of them. I found this out just before Laura and I had our civil partnership. I decided that I wanted to use something to cover the red patches or marks (or one could say spots) because these photos were going to be particularly special for us. So one week before the event, I went along to a major high street pharmacy and browsed their selections. I went around many of the affiliated counters and I was ignored by every sales assistant, who appeared to be in competition with each other to be able to carry the thickest volume of slap without their faces sliding off. Finally the lady at one of the counters asked if I needed help. Yes! Most certainly! What on earth would a rugby shirt wearing, short haired woman in sensible shoes know about anything on display? I understood nothing of the products and the lady kindly showed me what I needed to achieve a very natural look with only a couple of items and "did" my face. Unfortunately, I started to itch and then 3 days later, or more importantly 4 days before our wedding, I broke out in an enormous red swollen rash all over my face. Although it was gone by the big day, I haven't tried makeup since.
So it was quite easy to enhance this story and explain in my assessment that I didn't really do chemicals. I avoided lecturing on my opinions around cultural pressures enforced by large companies who'd make and sell anything in any way to make a profit. Sorry to all those who get hit with my occasional, or not so occasional, rants. But in this setting, it would be a bit confrontational to give a monologue to a lady who had chosen a career within the industry. So she understood why I was wearing no makeup and readily ticked the relevant boxes on the form.
But when she asked me what my "facial targets" were, we came almost to an impasse. "None" was not an acceptable answer, no matching tick box. Other answers came to mind but these probably wouldn't have been understood either. I started worrying that maybe I'd been listed for a chemical peel rather than a massage, and one of my facial targets became "to keep my face". I peeked at the upside down form and found that wasn't an expected response. Prompted by my scanning of the possible answers, I volunteered that I'd like "to have a healthy appearance". This was happily recorded but did then open up another series of enquiries about my skin, redness, susceptibility to blushing (why?) and sun protection. I was somewhat bemused, because this was a full body massage but, for ease, I provided responses that were available on the form. It was easier to play along.
I did query why some of these questions were included in the assessment. It was because, well I can't tell you why, I didn't understand. I also didn't understand why she needed to know my marital status but I told her I had a partner and when pressed I said I was married rather than in a civil partnership. In my lumberjack shirt and ill-fitting jeans I was already sufficiently supporting the stereotype. And my shoes? Practical just happens to be sensible! I didn't want to scare her any further, I felt I was already rather different to the usual customers of the salon. I figured she'd have more than enough of a shock when she realised that I don't buy disposable razors.