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[…This is the fourth in a series of posts on my experiences in “Little India” (view the first one here)]
I was almost thirteen, which in my mother’s eyes meant that I was ready for the “woman stuff”.
Or maybe it was my fifteen year old sister who was ready, with myself brought along for the bumpy ride…
I had barely set foot in a salon by the age of twelve, let alone an Indian one. That was aptly explained by the fact that mother dearest had (forcibly) offered to become my official stylist. Free hair-cuts for my childhood life…hurrah!
But I’d heard of these salon establishments, and the services existing therein. This knowledge was mostly obtained from the times I’d poke my head into the shopping mall salons, and also from the versions that I’d seen inside the good ‘ol television box.
And it was owing to this previous knowledge, that the beauty shop we stood looked a little bit off.
The storefront window was the first warning sign of possible beauty shop weirdness. The window was full of pasted pages ripped from fashion magazines. They were close-up shots of models, which for the purposes of the beauty shop, were modeling their hair (they may have been selling watches in the actual ad). One page screamed out “Ooh, a long wavy hairstyle, we can give you that!” Hmm…
The best part about the pages was the colour, which was almost entirely faded by the sun. They must have been hanging in the window for months. Which meant the “long wavy hair-do” probably wasn’t even current! The audacity!
As we went inside it was a whole other whack of weirdness. The place seemed a lot like a Bollywood Day Care, with toys and Indian children strewn about, and music videos playing in the background. I presumed that the children were part of the owner’s gaggle of screaming offspring, as she herself was planted in an arm chair with a munchkin . The munchkin couldn’t scream because his mouth was busy suckling the woman’s milk tank. Meanwhile another woman waited in a swivel chair, with an old magazine and no one to attend to her.
Once the public feeding finally came to an end, the owner passed the baby to one of its sisters, who proceeded to whisk it up a suddenly apparent staircase.
As for my mom, she continued to sit there waiting for her eight-dollar hair-cut. Meanwhile the owner readied herself for work, while I watched her every move with growing curiosity.
I waited for her to pick up a pair of scissors, but she did not. Instead it was a thread that she put between her hands and teeth. The next thing I knew she was attacking a woman’s bushy eyebrows with the “magic thread”.
She was meticulous, exact, and robotic.
In five minutes time the woman rose up with eyebrows resembling pure perfection in the “drawn in” sense.
It was frightening and impressive all at once. What was even more frightening was observing the following client, as her upper lip AND chin got attacked by the thread.
I couldn’t even place when my mother had received her hair-cut and dragged us out of the salon, but there we stood on the sun-drenched sidewalk in the heart of Little India.
Aside from all the special little traits of this particular salon, I was suddenly aware of all the things that were naturally wrong with the female face. Never had I known that my charmingly bushy eyebrows were a liability. They had always grown in so free, in an amazon sort of way. And what about my upper lip, which was dusted with the fuzz of darkened hair? (which was spread out evenly by the way (and thickly)). That had to go to?
Well crap, becoming a woman was starting to seem like a whole lot of work.
I thought about that woman and her thread, and wondered when I’d see her for my first appointment. But that’s when the gods of “sick little jokes” did their thing:
-My mom said I wasn’t allowed to remove my extra hair
Apparently I was far too young to become a woman, as was my older sister. So we trudged through life with a little extra hair on our faces, and a little less soul in our step (but only until the inevitable time that we stole the needed tools from our mother’s bathroom…)
So I guess I lied…I didn’t become a woman on that day in the beauty shop at all. I simply learned what it means to be one in today’s society, and what a horrid prospect it really is (and eyebrows and upper lips are just the beginning…am I right ladies???)
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to see if my healthcare will cover a sex change…
First off-suckling the woman’s milk tank-my favourite part of your whole story. And ha, I feel like i’ve missed out on so much indian things i should of experienced, but lol, i still was bestowed with a heavy amount of facial hair, i did a post on it a while ago lol. lol, it’s almost cruel to put a hairy little indian in a family with perfectly hairless upper lips! Lol, well you are absolutely stunning in looks now, so no worries!! (lol, for all the hairy indians in need reading this, I use nair!! lol)
I don’t understand. What is this magical thread you speak of? How does thread remove hair? Is said thread, actually a long, flexible, thread like razor blade?
I’m a little curious as to how the whole threading thing works myself.
I for one would hate to see a male Romi…just eww. I’m also extremely curious about this magical Indian thread. Tell me more!
I am so glad the only part of my body I am required to shave is my face (5 days a week anyways).
I too am intrigued by the Amazing Flexible Indian Shaving Thread. I think there is a huge market for that down he in Florida. Lots of exposed hairy parts 9 months of the year…
There is a threading kiosk at the mall in town…it’s conveniently located right by The Limited so I see the magic worked routinely. I’m extremely fascinated by it…yet a little afraid.
Like everyone else here, I’m fascinated by this thread device.
Don’t be fooled. You did become a woman that day. You became the socially constructed ideal of a woman in your mind. You were shown the recipe that was needed in order to become a woman. Society says you have to yank out your “extra” hair and tuck in your fat and make sure your lips are plump and make sure you have make-up on. There is no true definition of a woman. It is just easy to be swayed by society
Magic thread – it sounds like something from a fairytale.
“Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Indian princess with a little extra fuzz on her top lip…”
That whole perfectly smooth skin thing is a Photoshopped dream never to realized…hell, I’m just happy my leg hair is blonde so I can get away with shaving them a little less.
I thank God, on a regular basis, that I was born male. Being seen as oafish and insensitive is, I believe, a small price to pay.
Eww… Mother’s Milk Tank. Gross! I need to draw that ASAP.
I had just heard about the threading thing in my class. I hope they teach us how to do that. It sounds a lot less painful than some of the other treatments for facial hair! 😉 There was an greek girl who lived down the street from me and she had a horrible birthmark on her leg. The birthmark itself wasn’t horrible really – just a big dark shape on her leg but the horrible thing was that it sprouted a ton of hair and her parents wouldn’t let her shave it!! I remember the poor tortured girl had to live with it until she was about 16 or 17. Parents are truly evil sometimes.
Take it from me, Romi: being a dude (aside from peeing standing up, that always rocks) is no walk in the park. I appreciate you in all your feminine glory 🙂
Shweta: hahaha…for all you may have missed out on, it wasn’t so fab, and I’m still sort of effed up as a result, so don’t worry! 😉
PS: thanks for the posting the anti-hair tip…lol..
Kerplar: I haven’t been a beneficiary of the thread myself, I’ve just seen it used; here’s more info, lol..: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threading_(epilation)
Taoist Biker: it’s a curious process indeed, haha, see above 😉
omegaradium: but come on dude…what if a male version of me was like super-hot and stuff? You couldn’t at least appreciate that hottness?? (lmao… 😉 )
Black Coffee & Bourbon: oh dear, nine months a year?!?! I guess that makes sense with the weather..like we should be spending spools and spools of that thread to the more temperate climates 😉
PS: link above with some more info 😉
Allison: yes the fascinated/afraid combo…I feel the exact same way!!!
PS: really? a threading “kiosk”!?!? As a prospective client, I don’t know how I’d feel about being in the middle of a kiosk and showing the world how much maintenance I need….lmao 😉
Anja: dude, this stuff is crazy…and as I was reading up on it, it said that unlike a tweezer, it can get rid of a whole row of hair at once vs. one at a time, and without irritating the skin…coooool… 🙂
Justin: YAY for socially-contructed-ideals!!!! One of these days I’m going to look in the mirror and find myself staring back at someone who is acceptable enough to the outside world and its standards, and therefore worthy of love….YAYYYYYYYYYYY!!! (okay, I’ll stop being a jack-ass now…haha, but I feel your realness 😉 )
rambleicious: hahaha…and isn’t that the fairytale ideal? To have this magical thread that rids you of all your problem hair? But really, if we were REALLY in a fairytale, there would be no awkward hair to begin with…like seriously, Snow White was sleeping all that time and she didn’t even need a razor upon waking up?!?!?…. 😉
B Smith: being oafish and insensitive has a certain alluring charm as well, haha….don’t be fooled (no I did not just say that, haha 😉 )
bronsonfive: okay umm…you know I need to see that pic right? Like right now…or yesterday…get on it.
teeni: WOW…you’ll have to tell me more about it!! If you learn how to be a threader, you will truly be like a magician…like the ladies will line up at your house and never leave you alone!!! 😉
PS: that poor, poor girl! And really, that is needlessly evil right?!?!?!
duffboy: thanks for the appreciation, and as always you really glorify any glory that I may have 😉
Just as being a woman (from a man’s viewpoint) is not as easy as it seems, being a man (from a woman’s viewpoint) is not as easy as it seems.