This word conjures for me only the most delightful memories of dusting my son's itty-bitty balls with powder and wrapping them in smothering plastic materials that will never, ever, biodegrade. To others it means having different, more northerly parts, wrapped and massaged (although, thinking of it now, I've heard some wonderful things about Asian ladies with special skills in Los Angeles). I like a hand job as much as the next guy, but I'm skeptical about pampering.
I was once given, as a gift, a "day of beauty", which strikes me as not nearly enough time. A single day of beauty? Downer. Conversely, a whole day of being touched by a stranger, far too much. After my manicure and pedicure I was ready to slough right out of there and be neglected for a few hours, never mind the facial and massage yet to be administered. There is something about mandatory enjoyment that I find daunting and vaguely sinister. You will delight in this, on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
But life can be tiring, and ever since I turned forty, its like the gong of my youth was hit with the big puffy mallet of destiny. Suddenly I'm going blind and my skin is turning to parchment. On the ashen scroll of my face are written the words, so long sucker, in crepey strokes.
When my mother-in-law offered me her winnings from a raffle, in the form of a facial from a local skin care consultant, it was with greedy pores that I accepted. What has my face to lose? Other than its last molecules of moisture which are wrung from its cells daily by the cruel hands of time and singeing winter winds. Also, though I may be a doubter about pampering, one thing I unabashedly adore is freebies. She didn't want the coupon, declaring, "I've given up on my skin." This, from a woman dewy as a summer peach, youthful as a doe. She drew the good genes, and thus can fold on her facial.
For those of you (men) out there who have never experienced a facial, it goes a little something like this: Dim lights, white room, fluffy robe. Dentist-style recline. Fragrant candles, good-smelling woman in lab coat. Steam steam steam. Giant eyeball in illuminated swing arm magnifier. Squeeze, poke, squeeze. Strokes ever upwards from neck to brow with firm, greasy fingers. Cold mask of cucumber-y goo. Rinse, repeat. More stroking and massaging of face with unguents, emollients and salves. Plinky music recordings, played on instruments with only two strings, plucked by the purest souls. More tonics, more steam, more goo, some applied with Popsicle sticks, others left to cook under hot towels. Its basically a rolfing of your pores to music in a reassuringly sterile environment. It ain't half bad.
Because I am disorganized as well as papery, I nearly let the skin voucher expire, and then, in a panic, scheduled my rejuvenation. The consultant has a good address, sandwiched between the fine grocery and the chic boutique in the nice bedroom community. I was deeply optimistic.
I took the stairs two at a time, then slowed to read the shingles on the closed office doors. Weigand Distributors. Slanzic Tax Prep. Phone Systems, Inc. Dimitreus Export --weird company for a salon. I find the right number on an oval placard, but am instantly confused by mixed messages. Sara Skin Care, Sara Basha attorney at law.
Would you eat salami yogurt? Nuts and gum?
My enthusiasm wavered as the complexities of para-legal skin care loomed.
I walked into a grim outer office, with stacking chairs in a tight horseshoe arrangement puntuated by an open door. Nobody home.
"Hellooo?" I implore.
"You're early." A disembodied voice from the inner office, followed by a head, then shoulders, then body.
"Well, three minutes early."
"I thought you were coming at 2:30. I'll get your started, Sara will be here asap."
"How do you know I'm here for skin care and not legal advice?"
"You look really dry."
Stay tuned for Act 2, coming in next post.