To the salon

I, contrary to what you good folk think about me, am very slovenly about my personal upkeep. This translates into parlour visits so rare that every time I visit the local shop, the staff has turned around completely and I pop my head in to find no familiar faces, and am tempted to run out and never to return again. Ah yes, I am also terrified about putting my face into the hands of strange women who have no skin themselves that inspires any confidence in me. And when they start hitting one with suggestions on what treatments one should do to make one radiant and glowing, while simultaneously pointing out that one is looking much like a Wyrd Syster, am tempted to charge out of the doors without looking back.
Nope. Beauty salons aren’t good for the self esteem at all. They’re scary places where women go to get themselves scalped, threaded and tortured in order to look presentable. To the world. Husbands of course, never notice. I could emerge threaded, waxed, buffed and blackhead removed to within an inch of my life and the spouse’s eyes would glaze over without comment or note. Ergo, the last facial I have had I think, was on the day of the brat’s naming ceremony dinner party. Some quick finger counting tells me that this was some almost eight odd years ago. A facial, one presumes, is long overdue. I must have ecosystems and alien life forms proliferating in my pores. The hair cut too is very perfunctory, I drift into the closest open salon, whenever I feel I can’t take the mehness of the hair I have and ask around if anyone can take me on for an immediate, no sitting around and waiting for someone to get free, no frills hair cut and happily submit the hair to their machinations. Long experience has taught me that the fancy stylists with them attitude and page 3 clients and the Chinese aunties at the neighbourhood places with floral curtains and plastic seat covers end up giving me the exact same hair cut. Before and after the wash. Maybe its my hair. It always, no matter what is done to tame it, looks like a bird’s nest with some finishing and detailing to come.
Now that I’ve crossed into middle age, I might start getting finicky about these things, I told myself. I entered into the neighbourhood salon yesterday and asked bravely about a facial. I was led to a couch and asked to wait the arrival of the one who would minister kindly to my face. I sat, I waited. And then I chickened out. Picked up the handbag and charged out, explaining sheepishly about an urgent something that had to be attended right now, this very minute.
I’ve heard of dentist phobia, but anyone around with a similar salonophobia? Or am I the only one around suffering from this. In which case, I probably need to be impaled on a tweezer for my cowardice.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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10 Responses to To the salon

  1. Phoenixritu says:

    My DIL thinks I am lazy, Kiran. But I hate salons, find them claustrophobic and very boring. I’d rather color my hair at home, get a hair cut at any place that looks convenient. I got myself waxed on my wedding and then on senior son’s wedding. Have had one facial – or senior son’s wedding. Hey, you’re not alone


  2. R's Mom says: I am with you..I have never had a facial ever…and trust face looks scary enough without one…I do get the eyebrows done…thats it…my problem is everytime I get into a parlour I have someone commenting on the holes in my face, the pimples on my cheeks, the blackheads on my nose, the dandruff in my hair…you get the drift na?


  3. neha says:

    You don’t require a salon visit just because you think you are mid aged. You are young in your thoughts , posts and life 🙂


  4. abha says:

    once in 3-6 months visitor putting up her hand! :p no eyebrows shybrow! wonly waxing. and occasional pedicure because feet are far too fugly. have had 3 facials in 7 years! and funnily i rarely find them relaxing like everyone claims! and yes i get very scared at salons. like i am some anpadh gawar types! the girls who are to groom me look far more groomed! sigh!


  5. anonymous says:

    Agree, which ever parlor you go all give you the same haircut but charge a bomb as per their location:) I love to go to salons but after being there, i somehow realize, its better to fix yourself athome and that too with the ingredients right on your kitchen shelf. Not only it is pocket friendly it gives amazing results. Just applying malai on the face everyday, can give you a glow and lovely skin..but the problem is roz roz kare kaun???


  6. dips says:

    count me in with the salonophobics . I believe in the DIY kitchen -shelf school of grooming.


  7. Gigi says:

    What bothers me about salons is their relentless selling and add on sales pitch. You came in for a facial? Oh why not get this bleach too?
    I share your discomfort!


  8. Salonophobia?! Wicked, Kiran! I’ve to admit I hate anybody touching my face, especially strangers – perhaps you’ve provided me with a handy tag 🙂 Though I can confirm to the ‘glowing’ benefits of homemade besan-haldi-curd mask.

    However, the country – people and media – seem to be in thrall to the beauty/fashion industry at present. Look at the uproar over the Pak FM’s visit? I blogged about it – in case, you’re interested, you can read it here

    My question: How do you survive in the midst of all this shrill diktat?!


  9. I totally enjoyed the read..


  10. bev says:

    With you soul-sistah! I get an annual haircut and colour; last facial I had was…maybe five years ago or more. Just about get my eyebrows done, and that too was soemthing I began about 18 months ago, for the first tiem in my life, and only becuse the girl comes home. Am not phobic, just bone-lazy!


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