The other day I went all out and got a haircut (okay, a trim, really), and a pedicure in the same day. I felt wild, wanton. I know this is a regular state of things for some women, but with my finances being what they are, it's not something I do all at once on a regular basis.
The talk that occurs between the lovely male owner of this particular salon and the other workers as well as the customers is a treat. He is friendly, sweet and funny. The other workers are warm, interesting and fascinated by their customers' tales. The atmosphere is so great, I feel like sitting there all day drinking water and reading trashy magazines, talking to them and the other customers as they come and go. I want to live there.
I met the nicest woman having her nails done while I was having my feet done. In the warm salon glow of comfort and good feelings, being massaged and groomed as we were, there were intimate details of divorce and child rearing, remarriage and life pressures disclosed and analyzed, support given and exchanged in the easiest, most natural manner. I was amazed by the fluidity of our conversation and what's more, how necessary it felt. I harkened back to images of Orthodox Jewish women in bathing houses, using their sisterhood to bathe each other and talk, openly, about their lives, their fears, their frustrations, their pain, their accomplishments, their hopes, their dreams. As the water and the timelessness of the salon heats through us and relaxes, the safe space of ritual is renewed and we can let our guards down. The slowed time of massage, hair, and nails feels like a more humane rhythm, one in which we can actually catch our breath and realize we are people, after all.
I left the salon with hope about my life; not because I'd had a $400 haircut but because I'd spent an hour talking with people who weren't trying to prove anything to me, one up me, or compete with me, but who just wanted a good laugh, a sharing of thoughts, a connection.
The simplicity of it was crazily healing, as if I'd just realized that if you're hungry and bite into a pear you might feel better.