So I went for my first facial Saturday morning - very lovely and awkward at the same time, wearing a towel in a little room while a woman about my age examined my skin. I can't really say what it entailed, it was all very dark and quiet and I had my eyes closed/covered with daqmp sheets of something. But lots of scrubing and many warm towels later, I looked a bit shiny but quite fresh. Went downtown sans makeup -- just stopped in Macy's to put of mascara. I don't care how great your skin is, no one looks good without eyelashes.
I read Faking Good Breeding's commentaries on how power structures play out in salons, and while I've felt the same uneasiness paying someone to trim my toenails, I've equally felt uncomfortable with the idea of not patronizing a salon out of white guilt/pity/personal insecurities with my place in society. I don't think denying a salon my business shows any particular respect for the skilled people who work there -- it just denies that I'm part of the power structure within which the salon exists.
I think I further questioned my exact role in this hegemony the first time I had a pedicure from a white girl about my age who'd been to college. There was nothing particularly different about our backgrounds or our current life situations, I imagine we made roughly the same amount of money. So what was the power structure? Was it any more worrisome than when students come in to get information from me as an adviser?
I do wonder if part of the motivation for women to pay for expensive salons is that these places generally feature mostly young, white, attractive, non-immigrant staff -- we avoid most racial and political elements, the power structure is less apparent. Essentially, by paying $50 for a mani/pedi instead of $30, we get to deny we;re part of the hegemony without denying ourselves luxury.
I also noticed that during the facial and whenever I get my hair done, I think maybe I could be doing the job, think I'd probably enjoy it. I've never wondered this at a cheap nail salon with a language barrier between me and my pedicurist.
Sunday we had 13 (!) people over for fancy Rock Band and fondu party. The music was loud and everyone played, the rum balls were popular, and although the fondue was too high-maintenance people seemed to enjoy -- and I didn't really have to cook, just enlist cheese shredders. We managed to not annoy the neighbors or light the dining room table on fire with the fondue pot's chemical-gel fire pot thing. Success!