It is Saturday morning, and the kids have been packed off to their grandparents for the weekend. The house is silent, peaceful and, best of all, tidy. The Mother is feeling especially jubilant today, not just because the kids aren’t there. Today, she is off to get her hair cut and her eyebrows shaped too, if she can ever be arsed to get out of bed.
Going to the hairdresser’s is the Mother’s favourite thing in the whole wide world. But having a lie-in with the entire bed to herself is a close second so it’s a tough call. Eventually, she unwraps herself from her queen-sized quilt, gets up and washes her face. But now, it is 9.30, and she is running late. She should be leaving the house, not searching through the dirty washing basket for a clean pair of knickers. Ten minutes later, she is out the door. She was in such a rush that she didn’t bother with make-up or a bra – you can do that when you’re over 40.
The Mother is not the only one in town who has shunned convention today. On her way to the hairdresser’s, she notices two young women who each appear to be wearing something resembling a bra. They have, however, completely forgotten to put a blouse on. They certainly haven’t forgotten to put on their make-up, though, no siree. Their eyelashes are so long and tacky, it’s almost as if they are made of plastic. Still, no time to hang around judging the youth of today, the Mother has a 10 o’clock appointment with Cynthia. And Miss Cynthia is always a stickler for punctuality.
At precisely 10 o’clock, the Mother arrives, slightly sweaty, at the ominously named Cutting Room. Immediately, the receptionist leads her down the creaky stairs. Then down a narrow corridor to a tiny room which smells strongly of disinfectant. In the middle of the room, there is a bed covered in a long strip of blue paper towel. The room also contains a small metal unit, a pair of scissors, some melted wax and a pair of tweezers. “Jesus, all this torture in the name of beauty,” thinks the Mother. Nervously, she takes off her boots and lies down on the blue paper towel.
At that exact moment, as always, the anxiety kicks in. The unease, the knot in her stomach. It is not the thought of the pain that is to come that worries her, she’s grown used to that; it is the cellar itself. Although the staff have gone to great lengths to make the place look attractive, they’ve failed. This subterranean bunker always reminds the Mother of one thing and one thing alone….
Check out my blog tomorrow for the next installment.