My special relationship, the men at the neighborhood salon and other weekend stories- Feb 4, 2012
Today was a happy day as I was finally reunited with my hairdresser after a hiatus of three months, during which he had vanished from the regular salon I frequented and appeared in a new, more upmarket one. Now this has been a special relationship in my life. Not only does Sahil cut my hair, he also entertains me. Over the years, he has confided in me about his affair, secret marriage, formal marriage and today, he informed me that his wife is expecting their first baby. Its been a mutually happy relationship and we usually spend the hour or so joking, laughing and having a good time!
Today, I was visiting Sahil at a new salon and I had to wait a bit till he got free to cut my hair. Looking around the space, I thought about how salons were mushrooming rapidly all over Gurgaon. In a city that is experiencing a glut of retail space, real estate broker and beauty salons are the first ones to set up shop in any new shopping complex.
Now in our house, going to the ‘parlor’ is very much a ladies’ activity. Its something women do to pamper themselves (ostensibly to keep their men happy, so the parlor girls think especially around Karva Chauth..tee hee, what do they know!).
But the thing is, most of the new salons opening in Gurgaon are unisex salons that devote as much real estate to the mens’ section as the the womens’ (almost, at any rate!). And the mens’ section is just as full. In fact, on weekends, you would see more men getting haircuts, oil massages, pedicures, manicures, hair color, facials, threading of facial hair, etc done than the women. It amuses me (with my slightly rold-fashioned view of the world) no end since none of the guys I am close to are so metrosexual (maybe they are closet metrosexuals and drive to the salon across the city to get their pedicures!).
Clearly, the corporate world expects a certain level of grooming from their employees, men and women, especially those in senior management. Its not the very young men I see at the salons. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that. It irks me no end, however, that these very same men continue to remark about how much more time their wives take to get ready, how much more money she spends on herself, etc etc. The gap’s bridging real fast guys, and the women around are watching you!
On the other hand, I’m happy that its not just the women who are being judged for how they look and there is some warped form of equality in play here! Meanwhile, the cash registers are ringing merrily at the neighborhood salon :)