I have become a Groupon junkie. I have restaurant coupons for restaurants that no longer exist. I have had haircuts where the tip has cost me more than the coupon –because it states that you must tip on the full worth of the service. I bought four coupons for the Emperor Norton tour of San Francisco and can’t, for the life of me, think of anyone who might like to go! But the Groupon experience I most like to tell about is my visit to Natasha for a facial.
I have only had one facial in my life before this one. I treated myself when I turned sixty. So here it was, seven years later, and I get this Groupon for a $125.00 facial with Natasha for only $35.00. What a deal! And I deserve it. And my pores were probably well clogged since the last deep cleansing my face received seven years ago. So CLICK!
The day came and I looked up the address on MapQuest. Hmm… strange… it was in a very weird part of town, but what did I know? But it was in a very strange place- a one-way alley hemmed in between two very large commercial streets. Natasha’s place turned out to be her home - #3. I rang the bell and a man answered the door. “Are you here to see Natasha?”
“Yes,” I replied. He led me up some stairs, through a cluttered den into their living room and told me that Natasha was with another client, but that she would be with me shortly. In the meantime, would I fill out these sheets. He handed me a clipboard with four sheets of questions on it. Are you allergic to____; have you ever had skin cancer; have you had surgery? How many pregnancies... I mean, I’m just here for a facial- why did they need my medical history? Then the questionnaire wanted to know what products I use, how often I use them.
By the time Miss Natasha arrived, my blood pressure had risen and I was wondering if I really wanted to go through with it all. “Are you Nancy? Hi, I’m Natasha, won’t you come up to my studio.” Natasha was a very petite young girl about 27 years old with lovely skin! I followed her up a short flight of stairs to a very small room with a table covered with sheet and a blanket, lemon verban incense, and Enya type music. She gave me a white strapless terry cloth wrap and told me to take off everything above my waist and get under the covers.
After a short while, she knocked and entered. Coming over to the head of the table and peering down at my face she asked, “When you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, what is it you don’t like about it?”
I was a bit dumbfounded- not quite computing her question. Picking up on my hesitation, Natasha added, “Is it the wrinkles? Is it the lack of elasticity? Is it the lack of luster?”
‘Well,” I said, “I am sixty seven years old. It would be nice not to have any wrinkles, but I think I’ve earned them. When I look into the mirror, I like myself.”
“Tell me why you’re here?” she queried.
“I’m here to treat myself. The last facial I had was seven years ago, and I just thought it would be a treat.”
“You don’t treat yourself to a facial. You skin is something that needs daily maintenance. Did you know that the skin is the largest living organ in the body?” What do you use to clean your face?”
“I use soap,” I replied naively.
“BAR SOAP?” she asked with a noticeable rise in her voice.
“No. It’s liquid and comes in one of those push bottles.”
“You really need to learn to take care of your skin. There are nine steps to good daily maintenance. First you need a cleanser or purifier then a toner then an exfolient, then a rub followed by a moisturizer. Then put on a specialized foundation before applying any makeup. The final step must always be a sunblock.”
“I need to do that every day?:” I asked incredulously.
“Optimally, you should do that twice a day,” she said.
By this time I was ready to bolt out of my strapless terry cloth wrap and go home. My head was beginning to pound and I was feeling as if I had taken the wrong train.
The facial began. The warm heat felt good; the oils smelled lovely, and I began to relax just a bit. Well in to the procedure, Natasha said, “I could sculpt your eyebrows and make them very nice. “
“Oh, yes, that would be lovely.” My eyebrows are very unruly. I have taken of late to just plucking out any white ones that appear, so I was delighted to have a professional help them out. I was told it would cost an additional $15.00, but I was already getting such a deal that I had no problem with that.
“I could also dye them for you. They would look very nice. That would only be $15.00 more.”
“Dye them? How often would I have to have that done?
“Oh, just every six weeks or so.”
“No, thanks. I’ll just take the sculpting.”
When the facial was over Natasha said, “I will start you out very slowly. I would recommend a cleanser and a sun block at first , and as you get used to applying those, you can work your way up to full care. She showed me a small bottle of the cleanser and an even smaller bottle of the sun block.
“How much are these,” I asked.
“The cleanser is $35.00. The sunblock (which was a smaller bottle) is $45.00 but you only need a very small amount each use.”
“Thank you very much. I will think about it, but pass for now.”
She left the room; I got out of my wrap and back in to my clothes. I opened the door, smiled, and said, “Thank you very much, Natasha.” She walked me to the front door, and the cool San Francisco breeze hit my newly cleansed face as if to say, “Nancy, you are free!” I was exhausted; I had a migraine headache; my armpits were sweaty, and I was a tightly wound ball of nerves.
Now in all fairness, I think Natasha was probably a very good facialist-cosmetologist- or whatever one might call her. And I would not be at all surprised that, if she were writing in a blog, a sixty-seven year old named Nancy would have been one of her nightmare clients that she wrote about. Let’s just say when the next Groupon deal comes along for a facial, I can guarantee that I am not going to CLICK!