Helen Mirren has come a full circle and I’ll tell you why.
It must’ve been one of those evolutionary things that we began to appreciate those amongst us with qualities that made them stand apart from the others. This evolutionary trait as seen in other animals as also the humans stems mainly to fulfil the need for procreation. And it is this point that steals the show as we find ourselves literally ‘dandy’-ing up to impress someone! And not necessarily to procreate but that was nature’s aim at the outset.
Well! I am not going to launch myself into the whys and wherefores of the mating process but rather my point is about looking good and the ones who are in the business of making us look good. In the good old days, when we used to be a closed society, there was a lot for which we depended upon each other. Cooking, cleaning, arranging fuel etc were activities jointly carried out by all members of the family. Any occasion that demanded looking good automatically enlisted the help of family members to get ready from days before. Stitching a new dress, knitting a new scarf or sweater if it was cold, making an intricate hairdo; or the boys fixing their hair with the help of gel in the likeness of some popular actor made for a family’s elaborate process of preparation for the event to come.
What I am saying is, your looking good was often helped by your own family members or friends as the trend of beauty parlours/salon was unheard of then. These have made steady progress over time in response to the huge public demand to be pampered.
Ever been to a beauty salon? Well of course you have! What a question!!!
Now imagine yourself in there. Yes, the one that’s your favourite and you’d wait even for 20 days to have an appointment with. Feel the soft foot mat sink under your feet as you pedal in one fine bright and sunny day. Now really imagine yourself being in the following situations as scripted.
You reach the premises of the parlour probably wearing Ray-Bans banning any UV rays trying to travel in your line of considerable vision and foresight, a huge hand bag fashionably hanging from your arm, the insides of which may be guiltily holding the telephone, the electricity or the house rent bills. But it’s the sun outside that’s making you perspire not the bills.
The girl in there seats you graciously in a comfy, plush sofa that so ingratiatingly makes you feel tiny (hey! me not fat, yay!) while the AC cools off all heat and worry. You want your hair done perfectly and to your satisfaction and wont allow any newbie touching your crowning glory.
The lady opposite you is having a pedicure done and it’s obvious she is enjoying the massage as the herbal creams are slapped and patted into the skin. There are a few others in various stages of some beauty treatment or the other. A couple of them have left the salon carrying neat jute carry bags having the salon’s name embossed on them.
“You’ve got lovely skin mam.” Says the attendant to the pedicure lady. The lady smiles proudly. “But your heels are drying. Tch tch….”
“Ah…are they…I don’t….”
“See closely mam. It’s the beginning of it. It won’t be long before your feet start to chap and then break into ugly cracks if not attended to immediately.” She warns wiping the feet in question with a towel. The lady herself eyes them warily as if they belonged to someone else.
“They are the farthest part of the body, so generally people don’t give it much thought.” The girl says kindly, now applying the nail paint of the lady’s choice. There’s some thoughtful silence between them and then the lady gingerly queries:
“Ah..What would you suggest?” The girl grabs it.
“You know if you treat it with ……..cream it’ll stop the process. It’s got aloe vera with a gel base. It’ll kill any fungal or bacterial activity about to happen. Or you can take this……….cream with glycerine………”
Spoilt for choices? The lady had her ‘treatment’ for beauty finished and was seen walking out with a salon bag along with her purse.
The hair dresser is free. Your turn next.
“What lovely hair mam!” He starts with a smile as he combs them down. “You’re visiting after a long time mam.”
“Oh you keep your clients waiting. You give late appointments.” You say conversationally in a tone as if you are childhood friends. He throws an indulgent smile and his shoulders back to signify his helplessness. He is busily pulling a clutch of hair sometimes to the left, sometimes right, snip, snip, snip and “……ahh”!
“Tch, tch….your hair is falling mam. Ooohoon!!”
“I oil my hair from time to time.”
“Tch, tch. But mam that is not enough.”
“Why? It’s been done since the olden times…”
You think of words to defend your line.
“Arey..mam…Hairfall begins with lack of nourishment that leads to dryness, that leads to fungal attack, to dandruff, to various scalp diseases that can be severe enough to…………”
You are petrified that you stand on the brink of almost having your head off your shoulders because some brand wasn’t keeping it well in its place and now it’s too late!
Needlessly so, as my man in armour wielding his shining scissors is to my rescue. I need to regularly apply a ‘medicated’ cream that has neem and other herbs to keep my mane healthy apart from a customer voucher to avail a hair therapy for complete treatment for my yet un-diseased scalp to prevent it from having any major tragedies in future.
Anyone sensing a déjà vu here?
So when Helen Mirren says that she feels she can’t handle going to the hairdresser every six weeks and that she cuts her own hair we think we know what she means. She may have her own reasons to add but this is what a salon experience has come to mean now.
A place that is meant to massage and pamper ones body and ego has started to become a task to overcome somehow. Not to talk of a hole in the pockets as well.