Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Men Who Wear Masks (and other tales)
As I left my apartment building this afternoon, I was greeted in the lobby by a man cutting a woman's hair. There are 2 things I find disturbing about this encounter. The first is obvious: giving a haircut in a public thoroughfare is, well, creepy. The second thing that irked me was the blase greeting: "Hey there, how you doing?" As if this was the most normal sight in the world.
Now I don't know about you, but if you're going to have someone cut your hair, professional or otherwise, do it in a salon. If you don't have access to a salon, do it in a private room. Away from prying eyes. And people who might be perturbed by strangers' follicles falling to the very stretch of floor you have to cross to get from the front door to the elevator. Note that there was no special mat or assistant sweeping up the brown locks; they were landing in delicate abandon on the bare floor.
I thought at first there must be a shoot going on. One of those "ambush make-overs" they have for breakfast TV, but, alas, no camera crew in sight. I was further disappointed by the fact I had an appointment to get to and thus could not engage the "stylist" in the health implications of such an event and who the heck was gonna clean up this hairy mess?! It won't be my fellow tenants, who see fit on occasion to walk their barking dogs after midnight and stomp out cigarettes in the passages.
With my own private GFR (Gideon Freakout Rating) reaching code red, I breathed deeply and headed for the car. Safely straddling the 101, I felt a little calmer, until it became apparent that the car behind me contained a robber. The driver had a mask on to conceal their identity. Easing off the gas (to afford myself a closer view), I realized that the driver was a man and his mask was of the surgical variety. I thought immediately of the dreaded Swine Flu and looked for other passengers in the car. None. Unless his girlfriend was in the terminal stage and curled up in the footwell, Masky was travelling solo. (He was also driving a Honda S2000, so had no backseat for a hidden person to lie on)
So why the mask? Surely if he did have flu, he would only need the mask around other people. Then I figured that perhaps he'd just had some kind of facial surgery. Rhinoplasty or a particularly aggressive Restylane session. But then he'd simply have a surgical dressing, wouldn't he? Maybe, like me, he simply prefers his dressing on the side. In the current pandemic pandemonium, a surgical mask tells people you're cautious, sensible, with a family to protect. As opposed to vain and insecure, with a desperate need to alter your appearance. Or maybe it's the latest fashion trend and I've been left behind. Yet again.