Salon talk

Of all the sights and sounds that the cultural city of Lahore offers, I find going to a beauty salon the most entertaining. Sounds shallow, but then again the people make the city – and in this case, the thriving beauty industry.

So what lures me to the salon apart from the services they provide? I mean I don’t quite fancy sticking my feet out into some poor woman’s face so she can clean my feet. That’s why the Lord gave me siblings for. Anyway the charm lies in a salon’s secrecy – it is a forbidden area where female secrets of their beauty are bared open. Along with their lives.

The  salon acts as more of an unofficial psychiatric centre than a beauty clinic for the clients. For it is here that the clients are able to freely unload their worries about husbands, mistresses, children, in laws, the neighbours wife, rising cost of gold, and the latest fashion magazine and whatnot without fear of scandal or emotional pain caused to those, who have caused them, similar emotional pain. The therapeutic aspect is amazing.

With each heartbreaking story, the emotional pain is ripped away like a wax strip, washed down with the hair dye and clipped out of you as snippets of hair fall to the ground.

The wax strip: emasculating men since time immemorial.

For those with cheating male partners, suddenly the expression cut him out of your life become even more significant, (except for when it’s applied to the woman who stole your man, when it become almost holy).

Besides there is nothing more pleasant than showing the disowned gay make up artist that your life is far more exciting than the story the self inflicted cuts on his arm tell. Or maybe it’s a way of proving that your life is as exciting and interesting as his may appear to be. Exactly who has the more tragic tale is difficult to tell…

Yet more than anything else, a salon in country riddled with poverty, extremism, hatred and political abnormality as a normality, salons offer a refuge. They are the possibly the only establishment in civil society thta have remain untouched by extremism. Schools, mosques, homes, communities, markets have all been blown to smithereens and unfairly so.

Suddenly there is a greater need to find refuge from the increasing ugliness of a situation that had plagued an entire generation’s present and future. Of course, the blame lies in the bleached blonde aunty decked out with diamonds generation since they didn’t do much but put up high walls around their homes and invest in property abroad. Guess who paid the cost? Us young uns’ who release angst via manicures and blowdrys.

Amongst other things.

But in a country where food shortages abound, political crises becomes gossip and bomb blasts become an abnormal normalcy the salon is seen as a refuge. Refuge to hide away from the ugliness of the situation. After all it doesn’t hurt to miss a few hours of GEO TV’s constant “Breaking News” and Dr. Aamir Liaqat’s sermons (read: uncensored clips that is) – chances are the players are going to be the same and so will be the game, just the strategy will be different.

However it’s quite a pity then, that those who do flock to this haven, in the hope of some relefi from the disaster that Pakistan has become, are the very people who are least affected by everything. These are the begums who arrive in “Land cruising dar-link… not a tayota” , the little ladies who are chauffeured around in daddy’s BMWs are unlikely to be touched by atta price hike (they get it from their own flour mill), or the bijli crisis (with electrifying personalities its sparks everywhere) or even gas shortage (considering the amount of hot air they gas about). Still I strongly believe in the power of salons. And why not? because they provide more than just a refuge for those who work there. Many a person has found a livelihood and some form of support at these salons. And in these times, one could do with a shoulder (sorry, a waxed shoulder) to cry on while those nails dry.

With so much doom and gloom surrounding us, we might as well look pretty.


Tags: ,

Categories: The World I Know

Author:Mehr F Husain

Mehr F Husain was Features Editor of The Friday Times. She lives out of a suitcase.


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One Comment on “Salon talk”

  1. August 26, 2011 at 12:18 am #

    lol this is truly how it is:D

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