It’s been taking me approximately 3 weeks to compose this blog entry. I’ve been running it repeatedly in my brain & I talked to three friends about it-each of a different race (keep reading & you’ll understand.)
I went to Apple Nails on the Upper East Side purely because of the name. I was already thinking up my jokes that coverup uncomfortableness.
Should I do a play on receiving a free iPhone with my wax? Or would I take the angle of getting my apple did at Apple Nails in The Big Apple?
But I don’t want to do that anymore.
I’ll relay my basics to you first.
When I’ve walked by previous times, it seemed rather busy. But that night was quieter. Maybe it was the rain. But whatever. I went in & asked the receptionist if I’d be able to get a Brazilian Wax. She had me take a seat briefly on a cushioned bench which was caving in.
The salon was staffed by all Asian women & 1 Latina woman. None of the Asian women were conversing in English. While my butt sank into the bench I wondered if the Latina woman felt lonely.
I was then ushered into a bland, tan & taupe back room. There was a wall sconce from which dust hung. More loudly than I’m accustomed to New Age music with an Asian flair played overhead. The best part-your humorous moment to get you through all of this, their food was kept in this room too. That has to be some sort of health code violation.
My waxer stayed in the room the entire time with me while I disrobed. She was a chatty one. She confirmed with me, “All off,” (though this was so not to be.) She began working with no gloves & and very small bit by bit waxing. Like a Fraggle Rock Doozer would wax.
I can tell you all about her. She is one of 9 kids-7 girls & 2 boys. Her mother is 89. She’s been married 30 years & has 2 children, a daughter & a son. Her daughter is 29 & married & lives in Chinatown. She lives in Queens. She’s originally from Hong Kong. She discussed rising rents. She complimented my tattoos. I even lifted my shirt to show her my arm tattoos. She asked me if I was going on vacation, why I was getting a wax. Once that was shot down she inquired about my love life.
Her conversation skills are up there. Her waxing skills I cannot say the same for. Besides being at a snail’s pace, I could see I had stragglers at a very quick glance-0 plucking was even introduced, back side wasn’t even offered. I can’t stand that (sit that?) That to me is even more important than doing the front. The front I can see, I can shave. But the back, I mean, you do your best in the shower but you know you’re gonna miss something. & now I’m gonna grow all uneven. Furthermore, she didn’t wipe me off, down, nothing. & no powder. Instead she put aloe vera in my hand for me to wipe on myself. It was like I was masturbating in front of her.
She stayed in the room while I dressed. She even attempted to assist me with that.
She repeatedly said over & over again what a nice lady I am. It was in the same feeling of a tween desperately trying to friend someone. Or a dog at a shelter doing all that he can to win your attention. Please like me!!!! Pick me! Pick me!
She told me a story-I emphasize story, because I do not know if it’s true, about a customer coming in for a wax & her hair was too short for the wax to cling to. Common problem. The customer complained to the manager & the esthetician was fired.
If that is true, that is not the fault of the esthetician. & the, “Love me! Love me!” now read more to me as, “Please don’t cause me to lose my job.” In other words, my waxer knew her performance was poor & she didn’t want me to complain.
& this is why it took me a lengthy time to write all of this out.
My initial emotion was sadness. I felt sad this woman old enough to be my mother is laying on thick how nice I am in an effort to keep a job that I couldn’t perform. Nor would want to. My thoughts were she shouldn’t have to worry about kissing up to me. It brought me down thinking about a woman at retirement age pumping up the charm to Upper East Side douchebags so they’d be kind to her while she waxed their rejuvenated vaginas. She’s commuting from Queens. She’s wiped. English is her second language. They should be marveled at her intelligence. She’s from Hong Kong. I’m more interested in her stories.
So again, those were the first unprocessed waves in my brain.
I then relayed this to 3 non Caucasian friends at three different occasions.
The first individual, after listening to me, just smiled with a reply of, “Alright whitey.” That the personnel working at these spaces, these are the best jobs that they will attain & they accept that. & It’s very white woman to even have these thoughts racing through my brain. I try to really mull over the thoughts of others, not make rash conclusions. & it was a light in my head. I can often be alert to white privilege moments, or thinking/acting a certain way has roots in being brought up a white American woman. This was a moment I hadn’t had that spark on my own & needed another to call me out. Nevertheless, one does need job security. & an employee shouldn’t be taken advantage of because their employer knows they need this job. Ergo, maybe this is one of those moments when it’s like, well, you have white privilege-use it for good. Work to attain job security for another whose voice may not be heard.
Then I spoke to a woman who after paying for a manicure did not receive change. That the esthetician seemed to have determined what her tip was/keep the change. The woman I discussed this with felt too awkward to request her change & felt taken advantage of. This shifted my feeling of my white privilege in said setting. I was moving towards the mental place of one needs to perform their job correctly. Taking a cultural stance here is irrelevant. I am paying my hard earned money here for a service & I expect it to be done properly. The need for job security does not diminish mind you, but if you’re not doing it right you’re not doing it right. One does have to have a certain level of accountability.
Lastly I was out to dinner with another friend & we chatted about this but it also got tied into the restaurant where we were eating. It was closing after being around for decades. That being said, the service, food, drinks, had majorly gone downhill. No matter how bleeding heart I feel for it, nostalgia alone cannot keep a business afloat. Especially with rising costs of the menu items. If this were a retail place, & the service was poor or the place was a tip, then I don’t care how long you’ve been there. I’m not going to patronize it. You need to stand by what you are offering. Otherwise you will close. You will be let go. People will turn elsewhere.
I don’t have the answers. & I may never. But I want you to know I’m thinking long & hard about this. This is the most work my brain has done over a wax.
When I sat on the Q train typing this with my briefs stuck to my sticky unwaxed ass, knowing I had some maintenance work ahead of me, I wasn’t even pissed. Because those first emotions of guilt were still with me. & when I got home & did the thorough inspection, I honestly don’t even know what I paid $42 for with an additional $10 tip. I could seriously have gotten another wax the following day.
What I felt then was I wanted to be a better writer. I don’t want to glaze over everything with humor. I want to compose what I really think. What a situation makes me process.
After this brainwork, this time, I’m still not pissed because it was a valuable learning experience.
That waxer gave me the need to be a better, more honest, further contemplating person.
I won’t be returning to Apple Nails. I will be speaking up for services rendered. I will be thinking more thoroughly about the working environment of others. & mostly, I will be giving you more raw reporting. (That’s your last wax pun intended!)