I have no one else to blame for the level of “success” I am enduring now. No, I am not “enjoying” life as a successful author, I am enduring life as a virtually unknown author and I have no one to blame for that but myself. The beautician at my neighborhood wax, nail and hair shop demonstrated why I am so lacking in any sort of real accomplishment as an author. The stunt she pulled is something I would NEVER have the balls to attempt, even if it meant exponential book sales.
I’ve told you all before that ever since I carried and gave birth to Stone, I have had an increase in testosterone production. My OB/GYN told me that this was a perfectly normal phenomenon and that once I delivered my baby boy, the testosterone levels in my body would decrease and the small, black beard that I had steadily been growing would disappear. That was a lie. 5 years later, I still have to was my chin every two weeks. This vicious cycle of growth and waxing, growth and waxing again costs me $40 a month. That’s $480 a year or $2,400 over the last 5 years. That’s a lot of money that could have been put towards other more important things, like a college savings plan!
Still, what am I to do? Just let my face grow hair and risk public ridicule? For two months I tried either tackling my offending chin hairs myself with a pair of tweezers, but tweezing is nowhere near as effective as waxing or threading. Plucking each hair individually is utter torcher, and the process had to be repeated every few days because chin hair grows in daily cycles.
Last week I’d had enough. Enough, I say! I drove up to Smart Hair in Roswell, signed in, and waited to be attended to. An older beautician with bronzed skin and auburn whom I had never seen before met me at the desk. How old was this woman? Asians, like Blacks, are hard to date. She could have been 40, she could have been 60, I didn’t know. All I know is that she was what I call a “clicking lady”. Her heels clicked when she walked, her expensive, structured hand bag closed with a click and her tasteful, carefully chosen jewelry clicked ever-so-gently with a series of clicks with every move she made.
“You wan’ eye-bwow wakh?” she asked loudly, but pleasantly. The other guests in chairs looked up to see who was coming to get served. They looked back into the mirror after her inquiry was made.
“No,” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. “I want to get my chin waxed.”
She looked disappointed. “Oh. I thought you do eye-bwow wakh.”
I informed her that I no longer got my brows waxed and that I only exclusively threaded them now.
“Someone in this shop burned me three times, and I don’t wax by brows anymore. Only my chin.”
She led me to a seat at the front of the store and commanded me to sit.
“Who burn you?” she demanded.
“I don’t know her name,” I admitted. “She was younger. I think her name was Susan, but I can’t really remember.”
“Ahhh…but I not burn you! You let me wakh bwows for you!”
“But you have to give me chance, show you I not burn you,” she said aggressively. “I professional skin care.”
“I do for you today!” she carried on as though I had never spoken. “You see, I not burn you!”
She had been applying wax briskly to my chin as she was talking, pressing and ripping as she negotiated in what manner and locations she was going to liberate my face of hair. She then brought attention to my lip hair or the “Fu Man Chu” as my husband calls it. She wanted to wax that too.
“I usually just pluck that myself. It’s just a few hairs,” I said with what I THOUGHT was finality. The beautician scoffed at me.
“You see? See AAAALLL this hair. I show you!”
As I protested, she slathered wax on my lip and thrust a mirror in my face to reveal the presence of baby hairs on my lip. I explained that the more they were waxed, the more they would grow! She sneered her disregard.
“I told you I didn’t want my lip waxed. You can’t charge me for it!” I laughed nervously.
This was like no other encounter I’d ever had, outside of Accra. In Accra, business women are pushy and aggressive. You out on your armor when you go shopping. In America, sales and business transactions are more cloak and dagger and requires wit and guile of a different sort. I wasn’t ready for this behavior in America!
By this time, the beautician had her hand on my shoulder and was restraining me in my seat. I was powerless…utterly powerless and slightly annoyed at being manhandled in this way. I couldn’t leave because she still had wax remnant on my chin and had yet to clean me up. Her protestations and ministrations had drawn the interest of another patron who came to watch her work on me. With her hand resting gently, but firmly on my shoulder, she ran her hand along my cheek and said:
“I also do you facial. I take away AAAALL bump. Only sixty dollah.”
I’m sensitive about my acne, and thankfully, before I had a chance to respond, the other Asian customer who had come to watch me get waxed (who again could have been 60 years old or 100, I couldn’t say) inquired about said facial. They discussed pricing in broken English as I lay there like a dead black weight.
“And now, I do you eye-bwow,” the woman concluded. “I do whole face for you, fifteen dollah. I show you I not burn you.”
I stopped squirming. That wasn’t a great deal, but it was still a deal.
“Okay,” I agreed.
“That not mean every time you come here I do for fifteen dollah for you!” she warned.
My eyes were trained on her diamond encrusted Channel charm laying against her neck. I was transfixed by its glitter. This was both a tragedy and a comedy! I told her I understood and closed my eyes, waiting for it to be over. She slathered wax, pressed her paper and ripped. There was no burning, but there was a sense of shame when I left Smart Hair that afternoon. Her will had usurped my own, and despite my intent to spend only $7 on a chin wax that day, I had been expertly parted from $15, plus tip. She smiled and waved me good bye, saying she would see me next time.
And that, folks, is why this Vietnamese beautician and others like her all around America are driving new Acuras and own property and putting their kids through college with CASH. Because they refuse to take no for an answer. Because they don’t give a crap about your past experiences, or your fears, or your likes or dislikes. They have one goal, and that is to get the money that’s in your pocket into theirs.
If I had such a mercenary spirit, I’d be far more successful in my sales as an author… but I want people to “like” me. No one likes pushy people, do they? Pushy people have a funny way of getting over that though, don’t they? Rolling up to the home/successful business you own (not rent) bearing your name on the mortgage/marques has a way of inoculating any sense of guilt.
I should consider hiring that woman as my agent.
Have you ever been bamboozled out of money? Better still, have you ever done the bamboozling? How did either experience make you feel? Discuss! ↓