Sunday, September 22, 2013

Getting Professional Services: Elitism or Smart Planning?

Until a little over 2 weeks ago, I had never had someone not related to me do my laundry. Until Friday, I had never had a professional massage. Until yesterday, I didn't appreciate the talents of a Manhattan hair stylist that charges an arm & a leg to cut your hair.

If you're a woman, you totally lose on the haircut game. If you have long hair, it's even worse. Men can go & get $5 haircuts. Women are lucky if they can get one for $20, especially if they've got long hair. I went to one hair place in my area to use a Lifebooker deal I bought & those bastards tried charging me $15 extra for having long hair. Not a single one even complimented my hair color! See why they're bastards? That's a compliment I get at every single hair salon I go to. In fact, that's one of those ways I have to determine if you are indeed a credible hair person; if you aren't complimenting my hair on its thickness, health and/or color, it tells me you're not really hot shit at it.

Let's go back to laundry, though. One of the household tasks I hate doing is laundry. That & washing dishes, extensive cleaning and anything that forces me to undergo muscle pain or lift heavy items. I recently weighted myself & learned I was less than 105 pounds. In fact, I was 102 about a week ago! Muscle woman, I am not. Nor should anyone pester me to become it. I feel like "Isn't it enough that I'm an attorney, a business owner, an actress, a writer, a singer & a model? Beauty AND brains! Why should I also have to be brawn?" I've also asked my husband and others those very questions though some never want to recognize that beauty & brains are plenty, a lot more than what many women have.

I already shared my basic stance on cleaning; I do what I need to in order to avoid infestations & feeling like I live in a dump. I insist on my house feeling like a home, not a museum. Rigorous cleaning regimes just aren't happening with me & I don't think it diminishes me as a woman to refuse to engage in them. Maybe I'd make a shitty suburban wife but I have never wanted to be one anyway & my being one would lead to my story ending up on Deadly Women or some other ID (Investigation Discovery) show about a woman who has affairs, kills her spouse/lover/some other person or does something else scandalous enough to end up on one of those shows.

Lately, I have grown extremely disenchanted with doing laundry. First off, I hate our local laundromat with a passion since it's in my neighborhood (remember, I have zero community pride in light of the incident at the library), the jerk doesn't have air conditioning on during hot summer nights & wants to suffocate us all & you have to hang out with people who are maybe 1-2 steps above your average Wal-Mart customers in a meh neighborhood a.k.a. screaming children ahoy with lazy parents who do nothing to shut them up (in fact, these screeching kids are out late at night when my husband would typically be there to do laundry). Second, I'm less than 105 pounds & not He-Woman. I'm not the person to recruit to haul laundry or much else to places. I end up miserable having to lug things around & cranky because I had to put in contacts just to go to that laundromat and deal with that environment. Side note: don't ask me to help you move unless you're just moving items weighing less than 20-25 pounds. Third, by the time the laundry is back at our house we don't have time to sort it. If you wait, you get deep wrinkles in your clothes. Then there's the sock sorting, underwear folding, etc.

My husband sometimes does laundry at his parents' house but I'm not speaking to them at this point (this was also referenced in earlier posts). No one has yet to apologize or claim that I in fact DO have an artistic voice, 1st Amendment rights to speak my mind, and that my career is valid regardless of what financial rewards I get from it. Our latest film is screening at the Calgary International Film Festival as I type this. I even have my first journalistic writing gig acquired from the fact that I write this blog! Classic example of using a blog to form a distinct personality & lead to career opportunities. I'm looking forward to it; will post a link if it all works out and I get one.

So with that situation and my attitude that you shouldn't be going to your parents for certain routine things in your 30s, I felt like the time had come to see about outsourcing the trouble of doing laundry. I had no clue how much it was going to cost us but I found a good place that served our area & had a 5 star Yelp review. I finally got to use it 2 weeks ago & afterwards, my thought is "Why didn't we do this sooner?" It was quite cheap with a 15% discount and I think even without one, it could still be affordable to us per month & not really run us much more than doing it ourselves would (washers & dryers at the laundromat cost money, driving out to Long Island costs money, detergent/dryer sheets/etc. cost money & then there's the labor costs). Add it up for yourself & figure out if it works for you. I'm going to insist we keep up with it for our own collective sanity & value of time. If it sounds elitist to say having a professional degree means your time has some value, so be it. I absolutely think it does. Just told my family about doing this & they even agreed that it was better for us that way since our time costs money. If I had a washer/dryer at home like they do, I'd opt for that but since it's not an option for me it seems this is how you do it in city living.

I also found getting a professional massage is not the same as getting one from your lover (unless, of course, your lover is a professional masseuse). I have never dated a professional masseuse & the number of guys who have given me a massage is not a question I could answer off the top of my head. I know not all my boyfriends did that. Plus, a massage from your lover is supposed to be for getting in the mood. That's not the purpose of one from a professional.

I had the opportunity to get a free massage recently. With all the shit happening to me in the past few months (just realized yesterday my father hasn't even been dead 4 months yet), I felt I needed a professional massage or some type of spa experience. I also read a friend's Facebook post about the good feeling of getting one & thought she was on to something. Generally, they are not cheap. However, since I got the opportunity I figure something de-stressing would be the way to go for me.

Another fact about me that's probably not really shocking: I have a hard time relaxing. Call it the type A personality tendencies in me or my paranoia or my being an attorney; my brain can go a hundred miles an hour where I don't miss a beat. I also tend to do better if I'm busy & in some ways, thrive off it. This has always been my nature even back in middle/high school.

So, I went and got a great massage experience. I wrote a great Yelp review on the place, would totally recommend it to others (since finding places that are quality for beauty services is apparently a challenge in NYC, even in Manhattan where you'd think it wouldn't be) & once I can afford it, will totally indulge myself on that again.

Interesting fact #2 about me: I don't get my hair cut all that much. This is mostly since I think it costs too damn much to get it done. I haven't had a regular hair person since I lived in NC; I never actually got that done in Atlanta, though my hair was a lot shorter when I started college (me with short hair has triggered varied reactions from people though I never got it short enough to have the back of my head shaved). I wish I knew a great beautician who wouldn't charge me over $20 (including tip) to do it. That's something I'd love to get (maybe I should also get a friend who's a professional masseuse). You'd think I'd have those friends but I don't, at least not yet.

I was asked to go on a grocery trip by my husband, though I'd gone out quite a few other days that week. A little annoyed at having my ability to sleep late interrupted, I thought to myself "If I'm going out to Long Island anyway, why not finally go get the haircut I'd been meaning to get after this last fashion show?" I opted to do just that & picked an affordable place I'd been before where the stylist had not fucked with the basic template of my hair set out by a really great stylist at the Manhattan salon I went to beforehand.

I drove there, only to find it'd been closed and was absorbed into another location. The other location was taking the coupon I had but A) it was far more convoluted to get to than I'd expected (I nearly got hit trying to negotiate the parking area to get to their shopping center) & B) the cut the stylist gave me wasn't really what I asked for. I now have 3 layers in the front, which I didn't ask for, have never had & wasn't really sure about. I just wanted the angled cut I got with the stylist in Manhattan & that the second stylist I saw continued. It makes your face & hair look softer, according to the pros who did it & as a working model my hair has taken on new importance.

Decided to solicit opinions on the new hair from friends & family; so far the verdict has been good but I'm thinking maybe I should go to the other evening events I was invited to this week (an Entertainment Committee meeting on Monday & an exclusive entertainment/fashion networking event on Wednesday) so people I know from both the fashion & legal worlds can see it and give me feedback.

I'm not sure if it works for model me; long hair seems to be an asset in modeling, especially if you're a white woman. There aren't lots of short haired white models that I've seen. Granted my hair is still past my shoulders but it is shorter than it was; I was sporting hippie length hair before though it will never get to waist length even if I never get it cut (this really disappointed me when I was a child since my ex-friend had waist length hair).

Perhaps this cut is going to be an acquired taste for me but I think next time, I'm going to a pro in Manhattan. I know 2 of them thanks to Lifebooker (one even works in the entertainment industry).

I figured it's one indulgence I ought to get considering my husband spends far more on comics in a year than I'd spend on my hair (which might get cut 3 times a year tops) & I could probably write off my haircuts as a business expense since now I'm doing modeling. The prices in Queens aren't much cheaper & from my experience, service is better in Manhattan. I can also get to salons in Manhattan more easily.

I usually get my hair cut a lot to get rid of split ends. The funny thing is every hair person who does it tells me it's healthy. It was easier when I had curly perms since it frizzes like nobody's business but I guess my drying regime isn't killing it, which is a plus.

Possibly unusual fact #3: I don't spend time styling my hair. I just don't have the patience for it & I'm no beautician. I want to comb it & be done with it.

Maybe I'll put it up or have a hair accessory in it but I don't want to spend my time trying to curl it or something unless I'm going to a special event. I also don't wear make-up all that much these days though modeling has given me a greater appreciation for it. I likely wouldn't wear make-up for work unless it was for acting or modeling.

I actually think cosmetology is a great field to know. People will always be vain & shallow about their looks. You also can't outsource that job. Plus, you can save a fortune if you know how to do your own hair so that's something I think people should go into as a trade.

I realized that outsourcing laundry & all totally makes me sound like the typical NYC professional. Guess in some ways I am. It's not something I'm ashamed of or all that unhappy about. I don't know that it's truly elitism to say you don't want to do your own laundry; maybe that's just honesty. Now I just need to figure out how to not have to pay to do dishes after I cook.

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