Wednesday, January 7, 2009


My good friend H always looks so put together. Even at nine months pregnant and in labor she looked fabulous. It's not fair. So when she gave me a gift card to her favorite local salon, I was really excited, and planned an appointment (which I later had to cancel due to TheGreatSickness). That's when I chanced upon a real find: a new boutiquey salon so frou frou and sheshe that you just know you want to try it, even if they all speak French inside and look down their noses at you.

The proprietor, Miss Nollie, is a bit eccentric, but I've heard that she has exquisite taste. When I walked in, the salon was already humming with activity. Imagine my surprise when not only were my brother and my sister-in-law (J and Su-Su) there, but my mother (Mimi) as well! They heard the word on the street earlier about this new hot spot and wanted to get in before the rush. I guess they forgot to tell me. Sniff.

When she saw me, Miss Nollie, the salon owner, held up a hand. "You wait over 'dere." she told me. She has an odd way of speaking. Like I told you, she's eccentric. So I followed directions and sat down on the plush leather ottoman in the waiting area. (Didn't I say this place was posh?!) The hair dryer and all of the make-up had the Barbie brand and pictures of Barbies on them. Classy!

While I waited, I observed business in action. Miss Nollie, it turns out, is actually something of a tyrant. She rarely lets a client choose his/her own beauty regimen, but I suppose her creative vision is so grand that she couldn't possibly leave it to mere customer to decide what he or she would care for. She also keeps her money and tips in a small tupperware bowl on her counter. I secretly wonder if this is so she can catch thieves in the act and then chase them and beat them down with her hair dryer. Su-Su was the first client and politely asked how much Miss Nollie charged for some nail polish and how much to do her eyes.

"Um, hold on. I go check to see how much." Miss Nollie replied. She ran into the other room with the nail polish. Hmm...seems like Miss Nollie should know how much she charges for her services. Miss Nollie returned.

"Uh, a dollar one." she said with finality.

"Oh, okay," Su-Su agreed. "That sounds doable."

Except Miss Nollie only painted one of Su-Su's fingernails on one hand and then insisted that Su-Su have a blowout. Then she proceeded to charge her upwards of eight dollars for her services.

"But, wait!" Su-Su protested. "You said you'd only charge me a dollar one and now it's eight dollars and you only painted one nail."

Miss Nollie pretended not to hear her and moved on to her next customer: my brother, J, who I believe was only there to see if there was food being served. With the exception of Miss Nollie's special five dollar spa water, there was no food.

"What color you want?" Miss Nollie asked J, holding up her eye shadow/blush palette.

"Oh, uh, I guess blue." J answered.

"Nooo, you want pink and green." Miss Nollie told him and she proceeded to paint his wrist.

"Hold on a second!" cried Su-Su. "I told you that I wanted green." Her comment spurred a lengthy argument. I thought the customer is always right, right?

At this point, I had been waiting for quite some time. Frankly, I was beginning to think that Miss Nollie was just like many other business owners-just out to make money without a care for her clientele. When I asked Miss Nollie what the hold-up was, she told me to choose a nail polish.

"Well, I'd like hot pink." I decided.

"Dat's not hot pink." Miss Nollie retorted. I could see where this was headed. She charged me "firty dollars" to paint three finger nails and swipe some blush on my eyelids. She took a long look at my eyebrows. "Deez are messy. I'm gonna shave 'em off." she said with some finality, picking up what was actually an eyelash comb. What? I was not sure how to feel about this new, cutting edge, boutique salon experience.

In the gift shop, she charged Mimi eighteen dollars for a Tinkerbell doll I know for a fact she bought at a cost of zero dollars (Su-Su and J gave it to her for her birthday). She doesn't currently offer gift wrap for boutique purchases, and I have a feeling when she goes in the back to retrieve an item from her stock, she is secretly replacing the nailpolish with glue and Kool Aid.
The last straw came when I got up and realized that there was no beautician's licence to be found anywhere on the premises. What's worse, she is operating a pediatrician's office in the back. I am positive I saw her wipe her snotty nose on her sleeve before checking a baby's blood pressure.

I left the salon with an empty wallet and an unmade face. She insisted that I did not need "make-ups" on my face. Is this the new face of the salon experience? What do I know? I think I will put H's gift certificate to good use soon and see how it stacks up to the interesting little salon on L Avenue.

This is Miss Nollie's assistant, Byrdie. She speaks some strange European dialect-sounds like Hungarian gibberish. At any rate, she is very glamorous. They told me she wears a feather boa to work every day. Miss Nollie is not the most benevolent employer. She pays Byrdie in old crackers, and never lets her use the blow dryer.

I am pretty sure I saw Miss Nollie sell this exact same perfume bottle to a customer. Byrdie doesn't make enough at the salon to eat lunch at the local cafe, so she often sneaks things. This only fuels my suspicions that Miss Nollie replaces her stock with water and/or Kool Aid.

The illegal pediatrician's office Miss Nollie runs in the back room. That poor child has been left unattended!

Operating in such deplorable conditions?


  1. You are quite the writter! You had me going for a very long time. This was a very cute and funny post! What did you do before you had kids? You should be in journalism. I can't wait to have little girls to play beauty parlor with!!!!!

  2. Before I had kids, I was stuck in a dead-end office job, spending every day wishing I could stab myself in the eyeballs and get workman's comp. N & M have been the best thing to ever happen to me-they provide sensational fodder to fuel my need to get my thoughts out "on paper." ;)

  3. HILARIOUS!!! I love it. I was suckered in completely. I'm mad. Haha.. not at all. I'm laughing!

    - Shelli in NC

  4. I want my money back! :)

    -Su Su

  5. Hi Amanda! I LOVE your blog! You're a fantastic writer.

    Signed, a sister belle

  6. You had me hook, line and sinker till the picture of the doll. I really thought you were still in the salon and they had play makeup for M to play with while you were getting your eye brows shaved. The fun of makeup & dress up with little girls. Can't wait to meet you and your family.

  7. HAHAHAHA!!!! I actually got confused and thought you were serious at first, but then you started talking about Barbie and I went- "Hmmmmmmm"! Very funny!


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