Thursday, May 1, 2008
It's Not Over Til the Fat Girl Says It's Over
I went to get my hair cut and colored Wednesday evening. And a mani/pedi and, relief of all relief, eyebrows (and some menopausal hairy spots) waxed. I hate when I get too un-plucked looking – it’s so vulgar!
My appointment was for an entirely different time that my usual appointment – thanks to two jobs I must be clock/calendar flexible and creative.
My heart fell the moment I pulled my 14 year old Jetta into the salon’s parking lot. Poor old girl, and the car too, was surrounded by Lexus SUVs and Hummers and Road Rangers or Road Runners or Lone Rangers – whatever the giant ugly gas guzzling monstrosities are called. Snooty town was having a spa day.
I love my salon – back in December I posted all about the Steel Magnolia quality of the place.
I entered the salon through the back door, as I always do, so that my first stop could be to give Italian pastries from Brooklyn to the women who shampoo and sweep and mix color – any time I have an appointment I always make sure a shipment from the Motherland is arranged so I can have it in time. Normally I’m greeted by a buzz of conversation and laughter. This time I was greeted by tension and the sound of just one grating voice bitching about hair color on her shoes. I placed the pastries in the kitchen and made my way to the reception area. I later learned that the hair color on her shoes incident was a case of a silly woman, pre-occupied with her cell phone, stepping into a miniscule puddle of hair color water. The spot was on the bottom of her shoe! Apparently she is normally carried everywhere thereby rendering the bottoms of her shoes pristine.
The reception area was full of “social x-rays” as Tom Wolfe called them in ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’. They surrounded the receptionist like vultures wearing Prada, all babbling at once about their appointment times and what “girl” does their nails. “Please pay attention” the loudest x-ray tells the receptionist. I snort laugh and discover my power. I can make them stop talking. “Do you work here?” asks the x-ray, her well preserved skin (as my Nana would have called it) sucking in even more. I could almost see the Botox oozing out of her pores. “She is a client” says the receptionist, taking advantage of the quiet to regain control of the desk. I smile at the receptionist, tell her I know my own appointment time and I know which woman is doing my nails so I’ll just make my way, on my own two feet, upstairs.
The salon is really an old one family home. The first floor is for the haircutters, the second floor is for everything else – manicures, pedicures, facials …
It was so nice and quiet upstairs and my manicurist was glad to see me. It’s been a while since I did any beauty stuff. It was just so nice to feel like I was taking care of myself and to be with friends. I’ve never understood the “servant” mentality of many people – just because someone is in the position of doing something for me doesn’t make them less and doesn’t give me the right to misbehave. I expect good service and if I don’t get it I’ll say something. I do not expect to be treated like Cleopatra.
I was feeling so relaxed when the x-ray flotilla came upstairs. They are so important and lead such busy lives that they must be “multi-served” – their hair color must be put in, their body wave must be rolled and then they must have their nails started. This of course causes staff to run up and down the stairs while timers go off.
They were all sharing one of my Brooklyn Italian pastries. The leader of the pack was holding it and her minions were pecking at it, exclaiming how “bad” they were to be eating it but it was just so “delish”. Yes – grown women saying “delish”. Maybe because they’re wearing the clothes of their teen-aged daughters?
“Where do these come from?” asks the head x-ray. My manicurist was about to tell them but I shush her with my eyes. “One of the clients brings them in for the women in the shampoo area” I answer. “They’re all from Brooklyn and miss the pastries and pizza”. “That’s sweet” says the tiniest of the minions; I imagine she might be a halfway decent person on her own. Peer pressure this late in her life, how sad. Again – I blame the clothes or perhaps the long term effects of tanning beds. Then again – she could be demented from lack of food.
“Brooklyn” says the pack leader, the way one would say Cancer or Herpes. “Yes, Brooklyn” I respond, my back is to them so I’m having a wonderful time communicating with my manicurist through the use of outlandish facial expressions. At one point I think I rolled my eyes outside of my head. “They have the most amazing bakeries in Brooklyn” I continue, controlling my voice. “A lot of people say it’s NY’s water – it just makes the dough different”. “I’ve heard that” says tiny one and again I feel a surge of humanity. I want so much to rescue her from herself. “Well considering how so many of them live here now” says pack leader, “it’s a wonder they just don’t open up bakeries here”. I ponder this for a moment, while letting the way she said them slide, and innocently ask. “But how would they get the NY water here?” Tiny one literally snorts while sucking down some cannoli cream. My rhetorical question is never answered but it is blessedly quiet again and we all settle back in for nail polishing and foot scrubbing.
“Have you been watching Dancing With the Stars?” pack leader asks the room. At least 15 minutes of quiet one on one conversation has passed and the sound of her voice is startling. I’m even more startled when I turn around and see that they’re all still grazing on one freakin’ pastry. A calorie is a calorie – no matter how slowly you ingest it. Eat it and enjoy it. No one answers her so I say that I do. She barely looks at me but I plod on. I talk about how funny the judges are, how silly it is that some fans take the competition so seriously. I enjoy the dancing, the costumes and the faux drama. Tiny one smiles and says she really likes the football player. One by one we all start mentioning our favorites, laughing over how much we miss Maxism, exclaiming how amazing Marlee Matlin is. Just a nice, casual conversation about silliness and tabloid stuff – how old is Shannon Elizabeth and is she sleeping with her partner? And how old is he? And isn’t he gay? No – he’s a Mormon someone says and I mention that they’re not mutually exclusive and there’s more laughter.
“I can’t believe the fat one is still there” says the pack leader. Since I’m not of the x-ray persuasion and considering that the woman who is exfoliating the monster’s hooves is also rather round I found this comment terribly rude. I would have found it rude even if I was an x-ray, the way I find all derogatory labels rude. My Norma Rae is on full alert now. “Which one is the fat one?” I ask yet another question that needs no answer. The silent middle one of the terrible trio tells me they’re referring to the Broadway star. “Yes, her” says pack leader. “She’s as wide as she is tall and I can’t believe the costumes they stuff her into”. I remark that her dancing is very good, she’s very fit and she won a Tony for Hairspray. “All she could do is Hairspray” pack leader tells me, “what other roles could there be for such a fat girl?” I decide that too is a question that needs no answer and turn to gaze out the window. Let it slide I tell the adult me as I watch the birds fly around the parking lot – just let it slide. Tiny one mentions that there are rumors that the Broadway star is involved with her dance partner. I smile at this – Tony and Marissa – how lovely they are. She is so lively and genuine, so loving toward her co-stars, so generous with her praise and just so damn sweet. He clearly thinks she’s wonderful. I loved how he convinced her that she could dance in a sexy manner. Watching them makes me happy.
“Tony and the fat one!” comes flying out of the tight, ugly mouth of the pack leader. “For God’s sake you believe any crap you read”. Tiny one is so pathetic that I truly do feel sorry for her but she has to take responsibility for joining this dangerous gang. I don’t have the energy for an intervention. “Just picturing them together is even more disturbing than having to watch her dance, but they always need their token fat girl”. By this time I was done and flip-flopping around on my (not so) little paper sandals in order to make the nails on my big fat feet dry faster. The whole grain trio was now seated in a row at the drying machines. Pack leader was bitching that her French wasn’t perfect and asking thin air (how ironic) where “that girl went”. I assume she wanted to beat her with her Louie Vuitton before she had her claws re-done. I collected my belongings to make my way downstairs to be cut and colored and to eat a whole pastry. As I passed anorexia row my body took over for my mind – I swear I have no idea how it happened – and I smashed full force into pack leader’s chair. I toppled her diet ice tea onto her bad French hands and then proceeded to step on her foot as I clamored to make sure none of the tea leaked onto her smart trousers. “I am soooooooooooo sorry; I can’t believe I did that!!! You’re so fucking thin that I didn’t even see you. And this bag I bought the last time I went back home to Brooklyn is just so huge that it smashes into everything”. I mop up the ice tea with wads of paper towel which I then leave on her Vuitton. “I’d offer to pay for having your French re-done” I say in my most apologetic sincere voice, “but you said it was ruined anyway so that seems pointless”. “Oh well”
I caught pack leader’s manicurist at the top of the stairs and whispered to her what had happened. She almost fell down the stairs laughing. I paid her for re-doing the manicure, she tried to refuse the money but business is business.
Downstairs in the shampoo area my friends from Brooklyn were all relaxing by the bay window; munching on pastries and laughing at the parking lot. I joined the group and was delighted to see that there was bird crap all over each and every one of the fancy cars. “Did they get your car?” one of the women asked. “How could I tell” I laughed, “it’s damn near impossible to see crap on crap!”
I always suspected that Mother Nature was a fat girl.