Mind you, I am not a facial type of girl. Neither is my mother. The apple doesn’t fall far, and all of that.
I have had one other facial in my life and my mother has never had one. It’s not that we’re Anti-Pampering or making some kind of political statement against micro-abrasion, we simply don’t like to be touched. And neither one of us is too keen on small talk.
I don’t want to know whose kids those are in the picture taped to the hairdresser’s mirror or what the hairdresser is doing this weekend and I don’t want any questions about my kids or my leisure time activities either. If I wanted to answer all these questions, I’d go on Oprah. Or get a therapist.
Oh, and, just for the record, don’t ask me about my kids’ sporting events while you’re checking my cervix for cancer either.
So, anyway, upon hearing our evidently appalling admissions regarding our lack of facial experience, the facial ladies made faces at us. They made the kind of faces that encourage the kind of wrinkles that these kinds of facials are supposed to lessen the appearance of.
Needless to say, the facial ladies’ faces did little to boost our confidence or our self esteem.
And what is it with the white lab coats? They’re rubbing cream on our faces not testing us for HIV. Why the doctor theme? Everything in the place was white. It was like a Stanley Kubrick movie. I was already a nervous wreck anticipating all the touching and talking, I certainly didn’t need to start imaging big needles. Or Malcolm McDowell.
When I first envisioned this birthday present, I had thought that my mother and I would be getting our facials together. You know side-by-side under a teak awning with an ocean breeze like one of those reward challenges on Survivor or those Cialis commercials with the bathtubs. Not that we would be voting each other off the island or enjoying any long-lasting pharmacological effects, but I had hoped that we’d at least be able to talk to each other and not to the facial lady.
This was not to be.
My mother and I were immediately separated and directed to our own white rooms.
In my room was a kind of dentist chair type looking reclining bed thing, covered with white blankets and sheets. To the left of the bed thing was more dentist inspired decor, the only discernable difference in the machinery being the size of the brushes on the hand-held electric equipment.
I have no idea what was inside my mother’s room because I never saw her again. Well, at least not until after she had been exfoliated.
Facial land is full of words like this: exfoliation, extraction, micro-abrasion. Like washing your face is such a big mystery.
Overall translation: exfoliation and micro-abrasion are in the same family and come from the Latin “washing your face with stuff that is NOT soap and has little bumps in it sometimes using an electric powered spin brush,” and extraction is from the Germanic “popping zits.”
So, I go into my own white room and my facial lady directs me to take my clothes off.
And here I was thinking I was getting a facial.
Oh, sorry, not all of my clothes. Just half of my clothes. I can leave my jeans on.
Well, this is good news.
And I am to put on this kind of tube-top towel dress/nightgown number and crawl into the reclining dentist chair bed.
As I am a rule-follower type of person, I immediately comply.
I decide would make a great prisoner of war.
Upon my facial lady’s return, I confess to her my trepidation on getting a facial. I, of course, do not disclose my aversion to the touching or the talking as I do not wish to offend her while I’m lying half naked in a dentist chair bed and she is but inches away from an electric brush the size of a drywall sander.
She pashaws my concerns and shines the big light in my face. I am overcome with a need to confess everything and then she asks me if I want her to “clean up my eyebrows” for a mere twenty dollars.
Well, in for a penny in for twenty bucks, I always say, so I give her the go ahead.
She explains that she is not using wax and then drips this really hot sticky liquid around my eyebrows and rips it off.
OW! I say.
Oh, you’ve given birth, she says.
Here comes the f’ing small talk, I think, but instead I say: yeah, but they didn’t come out of my eyebrow!
She doesn’t laugh and then she doesn’t wax my other eyebrow and rips some more hair out.
Then she explains how she’s going to trim my eyebrows. Apparently my eyebrows are in pretty rough shape.
“I’ll just trim down some of these Andy Rooneys.”
This is why I don’t pamper myself.
Later, over a shot of whiskey and a cigarette, I inspect my eyebrows. They look the same to me despite the half an hour she spent working on them.
So, from the eyebrows, it’s on to the actual facial.
After further inspecting my face under the big light, the facial lady informs me that I’m a little dehydrated and not particularly hairy.
I am immediately relieved that I will not have to undergo anymore not-waxing and since I’m a semi-fitness professional I equate dehydration with drinking water.
This is not the case in facial land.
I quickly learn that I had been doing it wrong all these years. Instead of drinking water, I should’ve been applying massive amounts of mango chutney to my face and steaming it until it reaches a slow boil.
I swear that facial lady scraped that mango sauce off of my face with tortilla chips, but I’ll never know for sure.
That’s the thing about the facial, you have to keep your eyes closed the whole time. You have no idea what’s coming next. One minute you’re lying there, face to God, and the next you’re on the Kids’ Choice Awards, smothering under pounds of mysterious fruity smelling goo.
I can’t remember what came after the mango chutney, but it was cool and there was lots of it and she rubbed it all around my face like she was Patrick Swayze and my face was the blob of clay on the potter’s wheel.
It was a miracle. I had finally started to relax and actually started to enjoy this whole pampering thing.
And then she started smacking me around.
When I came out later I asked my mom if her facial lady had hit her.
She replied in the negative.
I do not know what I did to so offend the facial lady, but whatever the reason, she smacked me around real good. She smacked me about the chin, round the mouth, and even gave me a couple shots to the throat.
I was Rocky Balboa and she was Clubber Lang. I wanted my mommy. I wanted Burgess Meredith.
What I really wanted to do was get up and smack her back or maybe give her a good Tropical Infusion Treatment, but my hands were secured in some kind of heated oven mitts and I couldn’t move. I just had to lie there and take it.
Never mind that if I had sat up, I would’ve gotten that almond sauce in my eye.
She must’ve knocked me out because the next thing I remember was the sounds of Gregorian chanting.
Gregorian chanting is not relaxing. Gregorian chanting is scary.
Lying there in my white room, all alone (facial lady had stepped out, probably to tape up her wrists and go another round) I kept seeing those creepy masked people in Eyes Wide Shut.
I had worked myself up into quite a little state of panic when facial lady returned cleaned me off and set me free.
But not after trying to sell me some expensive face cleaner that was NOT soap.