Why I feel I can trust someone with eyebrows drawn in with a pencil to apply hot wax to my face and rip my own eyebrows out, I have no idea. But I do, and it always makes me feel better.
While having it done, I always feel like I’m on some sort of hidden camera show where they laugh at naïve Americans in nail salons. The moment I walk in a smattering of Vietnamese carries throughout the salon and She will appear with a disgusted shake of her head and an, “Ugh. You here for eyebrow wax.”
This is not a question, but rather a statement that makes me feel as if I am there to club baby seals instead of simply shape my brows.
We walk past dozens of Buddha sculptures of every shape and size and back to the chair, an American soap opera playing in the background and the smell of strong fumes in the air.
They will continue to talk amongst themselves, and there is usually laughing at some point, causing me to wonder whether I should join in and pretend like I know what they’re saying or give her a “look” like I know what they’re saying (about me) and don’t find it amusing.
Considering she will soon be approaching my eyes with hot wax and sharp objects, I remain silent.
“How you?” she asks, and before waiting for an answer she will follow with, “Why you wait so long?”
I’m not a hairy person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve come to realize that anything less than a daily visit will be met with pursed lips and a raised penciled-in brow.
So while she is applying the hot wax to my brows, her face close enough for me to smell garlic and AquaNet, I tell her I’ve been busy or give some other excuse that will a) not distract her from the job at hand and b) not cause her to talk to me while her face is that close.
She will cluck her tongue and give me a disapproving look. But this look will be replaced by a smile as she happily rip pieces of cloth from my skin, stripping brow hair and a little piece of my soul while continuing the conversation with the others that I’m convinced revolves around my facial hair and lack of bedazzled fingernails.
She follows up with tweezers, a bit of lotion and smug look of satisfaction—an artist admiring her work. A mirror will be placed approximately two inches from my face for approximately two seconds and I am asked, “You like?”
Again, this is not a question, but rather a statement. Given the fact that she’s never given me either the time or reason to dispute that fact, I will nod my head enthusiastically and throw out an overzealous “Always!” or “Looks good!”*
*I blame my giddiness on the chemical cloud hovering over the stations.
We walk past the Buddhas to the front counter, at which point I assume their continuous chatter has now switched over to discussing my tipping habits and how I am about to walk out in public with bright red skin above my eyes.
As I hand her the money, she will tilt her head to the side and point to my hideous nails with a perfectly manicured one of her own. It will be declared that I “need manicure,” a statement only slightly less obvious than the fact that the sky is blue.
I fear if I ever exposed her to my feet she would suggest amputation before a pedicure.
But I will not be guilted into additional spa procedures with “Why you no like?” and the eyes of a dozen plastic enlightened spiritual leaders staring at me. She will cluck her tongue and give me a disapproving look, but shrug and move on to her next client waiting in the lobby.
“Ugh. You here for moustache wax,” I hear her say as I head for the door and the chatter starts up once again.
Feeling lighter in brows and in spirit, I walk out confident that they’re no longer talking about me.