Now, in case you've never seen me before, or have only seem me with makeup on, I should tell you: I have bad skin. It's my fault. My anxiety makes me pick at it, compulsively, and I often have broken areas and areas of hyperpigmentation as a result. This is nothing new. I've been fucking up my skin since I was 13 years old, so I'm used to people commenting on it. I'm even used to the comments from estheticians, which are inevitably the worst. (I believe many spa workers are trained to insult clients in the hope of shaming us into purchasing more of their products and services.)
So, yeah. I was ready for the usual treatment, and was not surprised when the first thing Katy said to me was, "You have many problems with your skin. It is very bad skin. Terrible. Yes?"
This is my favourite part -- the part where the esthetician tries to get me to agree with her insults. Nonetheless, I decided to go along with it this time, tiresome as that may seem.
(I should say here that Katy spoke a sort of broken English, and rather than reproduce it exactly, I've cleaned it up a bit for the purposes of this post and because I don't want the focus to be on her accent or race.)
Yes, I admitted. My skin isn't great. In the hope of curbing her enthusiasm for insulting me, I decided to explain. "It's my own fault," I said. "I pick it. I have a compulsive disorder. Treatments won't help, but luckily I am not here for a facial, just the brow shaping."
You'd think that would have shut her up, but no. For the next 10 minutes, I had to listen to her try to sell me some sort of mystery service that would definitely "help" my hideous skin. "Your skin is very bad," she kept saying. "You must fix it. It is very important."
At first I simply smiled blankly, hoping she would exhaust herself, but eventually I had to ask, "Why is it important?" Why, exactly, is it important for me to improve my skin, Oh Katy, expert that you are? Please tell me.
She answered, "So you can find a boyfriend, yes?"
Sigh. Well, since I'm married, I'm not really interested in getting a boyfriend, but okay, Katy. Whatever you say.
This is the moment when I should have walked out. I could tell she wasn't getting it, and I should have done something, but like most women, I'm polite and I don't like to cause a fuss. So I just lay there and let her pluck my eyebrows into painful oblivion. And even better, I let her talk the whole fucking time. Guess what she talked about? My skin. My ugly, ugly skin. "You must fix it, Jennifer. It is very important!" And when I ignored her, she finally moved on to questions. "Why do you have so much stress? Why? Are you worried about your body?"
This question was another opportunity -- a way for me to show her that she was doing the wrong thing. I decided to tell the truth. "Well," I said, "I am recovering from an eating disorder and that is pretty stressful."
Any. Normal. Person. Would. Shut. Up. Now. Usually, this revelation stops people in their tracks, embarrassing them enough to keep them from saying more. BUT NOT KATY.
"Ahhh, she said. You cannot stop eating. You cannot control it, so you gain weight. I can help you with that," she said.
I decided to try again.
"No, actually. It's the opposite," I explain, "I don't eat enough, most of the time, and yes, I did gain weight when I started to get better, because I was actually eating, but that's a good thing. And lately, I've been losing weight, so that's bad. I'm not supposed to diet or try to lose weight."
Katy was not listening. She proceeded to go on and on about how she could help me lose weight. "Guarantee, you will lose 10 pounds!" she cried. "You cannot eat the french fries anymore," she said. "You must stop with sugar, stop with spicy food. For you, spinach, salad and water are okay. Yes? And you must exercise at least 30 minutes a day and then your body will not be so bad."
Not that it matters, but I actually DO exercise. Probably a lot more than Katy. And I don't stuff my face with fucking French fries. I almost never eat French fries! But whatever. Let's move on.
She talked. And talked. And talked. At first, just about my body and how she could help me "fix" it, which was bad enough, but then, she started praying. And she continued to pray for the next 10 to 15 minutes.
"You have nice hair, you know. Maybe nobody has ever told you that. We must thank God for these blessings. You believe. You must believe. Ask him to fix weight, ask him to fix skin. God is great," she said, and then proceeded to whisper, "Love God. God is more powerful than father, than mother, than boyfriend. Ask God. Love God. God forgive your sins. God will make a miracle. We ask Jesus, we ask God. He will make you happy, fix your skin, help you lose weight. Believe and love God and he helps. God forgives you. You have nice hair. Maybe no one told you, but your hair is beautiful. God can make your body beautiful too. God can fix you, forgive you, help you to not be sad. Ask Jesus. Ask in his holy name, to fix you. You will feel better if you love Jesus. We love Jesus. We ask. Thank you Jesus. Help Jennifer. We love you. We believe. Thank you Jesus, for helping to make Jennifer healthy. She is not alone. She has nice hair. Jesus help to make her better, help to fix, make her beautiful, make her happy. Please, we love you."
Add about 100 repetitions, and you get the gist. It seemed to go on forever. All I could think was, "Does she do this with Jewish clients, too? Muslims?" It was literally the strangest, most offensive thing I've ever experienced.
So far, no manager from Senses Spa has called me, but it's only been a couple of hours. Regardless, this "rejuvenation" session was a joke. I have tried to lighten up the tale with the amusing gifs and whatnot, but there was actually nothing funny about it. Fuck you, Katy. Senses Spa is the worst.
P.S. Here is one more gif.