Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dispatches from Planet Femina: Take This Job and Shove It

You know that part of the fairy tale, where the heroine is tempted by the lure of fairy gold or great magical powers, not realizing the price that such riches exact? Like in "Goblin Market," when Laura eats the goblin fruit despite Lizzie's warnings. I think that sums up my time spent in the bizzaro-world of high class spas.

Things I Learned at Planet Femina:

  • "They're taking over!" They being Mexicans, and yes, that's a direct quote. We'll call her Linda; I pointed out to Linda that probably pregnant women weren't swimming across the Rio Grande just to personally annoy her, and that in fact you'd have to be, y'know, really fucking desperate to try it. She seemed very nonplussed at this idea. The housekeeping staff is entirely Hispanic--someone's gotta do that low-paying drudge labor--and I have been informed that they're lazy and incompetent. The fact that no one in housekeeping speaks English and no one in management speaks Spanish, which might cause just a little miscommunication, hasn't really occured to any one.
  • Black women don't buy make-up--which is why we don't carry any shades darker than a Mediterranean complexion--and we're going to make "Mammy" jokes if someone notices this.
  • Fat people have a lot of nerve thinking they can get bodywork and facials. Except we don't say "fat", we say "large", which makes us sound nicer without actually having to treat said persons with any dignity. We only have two plus sized robes so it makes everything really inconvenient for us. It's really too much to expect that a spa that has upwards of 50 treatments a day should have more than two plus sized robes. And they're in really ugly brown colors, while all the "normal" robes are in white, so we can bring everyone's else's attention to how large and offensive these people are.
  • We're very enlightened too; we've read The Law of Attraction and The Secret, and we've even had Deepak hold a conference here! We're manifesting spiritual peace and intervibrational harmony by selling overpriced affirmation cards (probably not printed on recycled paper) and providing superficial approximations of other cultural practices. I mean, sure, Ayurveda (which we can't pronounce correctly. We can't spell aesthetician either) is a 5,000 year old, incredibly complex system, but for $165 dollars we'll rub some herbs on you and it's almost as good as going to India!

It took me a month to realize that $9 an hour and health benefits (which I wouldn't be eligible for another month at least), mighty temptations though they are, ain't worth this kind of shit. Wearing Corporate Drag didn't make me look normal, if anything it made me look gayer. It just so clearly didn't belong on me. We had a training session with the makeup line where we had to do color matching--my knowledge of such matters begins and ends with Chapstick--and they put all that stuff on me and I sat there smiling brightly and wanting to crawl out of my skin. I spent every day sucking up to the kind of bland, willfully ignorant, passively bigoted sort of people who think the Da Vinci Code is wildly original and Nicholas Sparks is a Great Writer. I got chewed out by my supervisors about my attitude--I foolishly didn't know that the bullshitting was supposed to extend to my coworkers, and that I was supposed to be Just Great! About Everything! All! the! Fucking! Time! no matter how stupid or illogical it was. You're not supposed to point that out. You certainly shouldn't act too smart. You're supposed to be Nice and Look Pretty.

So I said Fuck Off and Die (in a very nice, Corporate Speak sort of way) and now I'm going to be working for the local bakery, next to my place (I won't even have to drive to work), where half the staff is queer and manager is a very cool four-foot Hawaiian gal named Mona. And now I'm going out to buy some hair dye in the most inappropriate, unprofessional color I can find.


At 3:22 AM, Blogger Winter said...

Horrific though the experience was, it would make a sitcom. The thought of you sitting there being asked to do "colour matching" with makeup! Oh dear, dear.

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous roro said...

HA ha - "fuck off and die" indeed. I agree with Winter, great sitcom fodder there. I could play the "large" woman who complains about the ugly plus-sized robes and then your character, my character and the housekeeping staff replace the receptionist's Diet Coke with Drano. Or worse, REGULAR COKE!

At 5:49 AM, Blogger DeniseUMLaw said...

YAY!!! You *so* didn't belong in that world! Hell, even *I* don't belong in that world, and I love facials! :) (Though I do need a plus sized robe).

You shoulda said "fuck off and die" in literal instead of corporate speak. :)

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Rubicon said...

heh! great post :D

At 6:22 PM, Anonymous Mags said...

Heh. I *am* a girly girl, and I love makeup; but when I was a hair stylist, I used to get in trouble for not wearing enough makeup. Because stupid me, I am very good at applying it so it looks, you know, natural. One manager said to me, "I'm sure you wear more makeup than that when you go out on a Saturday night." Yes, because the places I go on Saturday night tend not to be lit by FLUORESCENT LIGHTS!!!!

Also had the owner of one salon I worked at tell me I would get better tips if I wore high heels to work. The sad thing is that he was probably right. We had some men who would come in and ask for a haircut; when asked if they wanted a particular stylist, they would say, "You know, the cute blonde." (We had several cute blondes. I was not among them.)


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