Saving Face – For Your Eyes Only
Ok, I’ve thought about this long and hard. I think I’ll do it. I’m going to trust you with a secret. But shh… not a word to anyone. Like I just said… It’s a secret. It’s a teeny tiny incident that happened a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t told a soul. And I haven’t told a soul because it’s embarrassing. Oh my god, what am I doing? This is a mistake. I shouldn’t write about this. Let me write about something else… like… errr… cricket. Ya. India scored, like a ton of points… or goals… I mean… bah… who am I kidding? Me writing about cricket is like George Bush writing a book on ethics.
What the hell. I think I can trust you with my secret. But first, you have to swear you won’t tell anyone. No, no one. Absolutely none. Mum’s the word, and no, you’re not telling her either. This can’t be one of those ‘i-swear-i will-never-drink-again‘ or ‘no-new-taxes‘ kind of promise. No. This time, you must mean it. Pinky swear.
Ok. So this happened a couple of weeks back. Whatever hair I had left was growing like African prairie grass. It was time for a haircut. And I knew it was time for my haircut because of my dependable friends and caring family members who chipped in with ever-so-subtle suggestions…
“Dude… Get a haircut”
“Are you trying to disguise yourself, man? Or are you actually trying agriculture on your head?”
“Oh, My God, Hammy. If I see you with frazzled hair one more day, I’m going to personally buy a lawn mower and run it up and down your scalp until I get enough hair to start a bonfire, around which I shall be telling the tale of the disheveled monkey, which shall both scare and amuse little children around camp.”
Despite my stubborn reluctance at parting with the hair in question, I finally decided to relent. I went to the local barber, armed with my wallet and a yawn (well, it was a Sunday. I was sleepy). I was feeling particularly lazy too. I thought, what the hell, let me get a shave as well.
Waiter. A haircut. AND a shave. Step on it. And since I am not particularly concerned with how I look, I didn’t even bother checking the mirror. I think I was awake, but I really can’t be certain. A lot of accidents could have happened. It didn’t. The whole process went on smoothly. Towards the end of my shave, the guy made eye contact and frowned.
Huh? What’s he frowning about?
“Sir, your eyes. the skin under your eyes. It’s dark.”
I peeked at the mirror. The guy was right. The skin under my eyes was dark. Just like they’ve always been since I became a movie addict when I was four months old.
“Well, ya, they are dark.”
“Is not good, sir”
Hmm… he was frowning more intently now. Maybe he’s campaigning for some doctor or someone.
“If I apply this on your skin, it will make it better. It go away”
“My eyes go away?”
“The dark spots. Unhealthy. Dead cells. They go away”
Unhealthy dead cells go away. That sounded good. My face is not a cemetery. Get out, you dark cell scum, die, you dead cells, die…
“Hmm… well, will this take time?”
“I can start in five minutes”
Five minutes. That was not a bad deal. I had no plans made for the day yet. I had all day. So maybe taking five minutes to scrub off dead cellular corpses from my eyes would be worth the trouble
“Five minutes, eh? Ok. Go ahead.”
The barber’s frown disappeared. I didn’t see anything at that time, but on reflection, I think his eyeballs popped into the shape of the ‘$’ sign, and somewhere in the background, a gong went off to the tune of “KA-CHING”
He slapped on some yellowish paste and smeared it under my eyes… and then proceeded to scrub it on the rest of my face as well. Of course by this point, I couldn’t open my eyes, and I was in the dark literally as well as figuratively. But I had, using clever deductive reasoning, figured out that this was not what I had signed up for. But I had, using the same brilliant reasoning, reminded myself that I was never REALLY that clear about what I had signed up for to begin with.
I needed to know the name of this procedure.
“Excuse me. Are you still here?”
“What do you call this thing?”
“This thing. This procedure. What do you call it?”
“It’s called a facial, sir.”
A Facial!!!! I was getting a facial??? Get up, wipe your face. Run away into the wild, Bang your head on a rock, bleed a little. Then come back and yell at the barber!!
“A facial, huh?… Ok.”
Guys do not get facials. If they do, they buy a fake mustache and beard, wear weally weally dark glasses, take four random cabs to four random places to lose any tails, and then proceed to a salon which has a reputation for secrecy. No. Guys do not get facials. Guys go to bars, belch the letters of the alphabet, crush beer cans and joke about women and the time they spend getting facials.
If I had gotten up and walked out, it would have made my initial decision look completely moronic. Plus, I was already paying for this, and I’m cheap. I sat through. In a few minutes, the guy washed off the stuff from my face, but before i could make a run for it, he poured some new goo all over my face.
And then, he started getting violent. He started pulling and twisting my cheek, nose, and assorted nameless muscles from my face and started tapping the lambada on my forehead. At this point, I was wondering whether it was just one man doing the pulling and tapping. Maybe he put up a board that said “One day only. Punch an executive in the face. Just 5 bucks a hit.”
In due course, which was NOTHING close to ‘five minutes’, the ordeal was over. He wiped off the assorted goo from my face and showed me a mirror in much the same way a magician would pull out a coin out of your ear.
If what he expected from me was surprise, he got it. I looked exactly the same. I was surprised because I expected my face to look a LOT redder after all the pulling, pinching, and tapping.
So there you have it. My first facial. Remember the vow of secrecy. Tell NO ONE. This shall NOT become a point of idle snickering. This is NOT going to be a random quip you can tell to pass time. This can NOT be used as a funny story you can relate at the beginning of your big sales pitch to your customers. For my part, I’ll do my best to forget the incident. In fact, I’ll do my best to hide the fact. The tactic that comes to mind immediately, is diversion.
“Ooh, boy. I feel so relaxed in this crowded bus. But that is NOT because somebody got a facial.”
“Man, this airport is so hot. But hot is fine. Hot is cool. It’s not like I’d want to go get a facial or something. Ha ha.”
“You know what happened two weeks ago? A lot of things happened. There were like… news and stuff. Thousands of people died… and just as many were born… You know what did NOT happen two weeks ago? I did NOT get a facial. Oh, yeah. That’s what did NOT happen.”
“Hey, there fella. Let me clue you in on what’s in… Hmm… bootcut jeans are in… or were in… or something. Hell, I don’t know. I’m not a trend analyst. One thing I DO know, though. Facials. They are NOT for us. I can’t even think of any guy wanting to…”
“Hey, hey, hey, hey… you’ve been going on and on and on about facials. If you want to get one, just get it already. Jesus Christ.”
Well… you win some, you lose some, I guess…