Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Finger Lickin' Good Cult

What is it about me that attracts nutters?

So my daughter's piano teacher who is a really nice sweet woman calls me up the other day. All I know about her is she was married to a guy for twenty years and popped out four kids before her hubby died of cancer. Then it seems she very quickly met a new guy and moved into his house and she talks about him like he is a God, about how "we are so compatible, just last night we had so much fun making chicken cordon bleu together."

So anyway, she phones me up and invites me to a 'special event' at her house - just a few friends who are going to come to her house to listen to a 'talk' about a very special personal development program let's call it Lifeforce and then if I like what they are saying about how positive thinking can totally revolutionize your life then you can sign up for a ten week seminar including weekends in cabins. What fun I thought. Well no, obviously I thought oh crap she's inviting me to become part of a cult. And when I googled it later there were quite a few naysayers who claimed they'd been brainwashed and fleeced of their money and dignity by Lifeforce.

So I'm like "is this anything to do with believing in Jesus or believing in a higher power?" and she said "No!Absolutely not." And then we got down to the nitty gritty - there was going to be quite a good buffet at this 'event'. What kind of buffet I asked, and let's just say they were pushing out the boat. I was tempted, well a little bit.

Then when she saw that I still wasn't that excited she said, "Let me tell you a story about how Lifeforce changed my life. Well when I was a teenager I went to a dance and I had a crush on this really sexy charismatic guy and I was devastated when he ignored me and just danced with another girl all night. And after that I told myself no really hot guys are ever going to go out with me. It was a really negative way of looking at things and pretty soon I met my husband. He was really nice but there was no spark, no chemistry."

I said, "Well you're darned lucky he died of cancer then aren't you?"

No I didn't really say that. She went on. "And then when my husband died I joined Lifeforce and it made me realize that maybe really hot charismatic guys could be into me. I'd spent twenty years not realizing this!"

I said, "Actually you would have probably ended up dating a lot of arseholes if you'd only gone after the hot charismatic guys." No I really did say that!

She laughed and went on and told me how when she met her current husband let's call him Fabio - who incidentally is not particularly hot in my book. She says "I was so blown away by him and we had this incredible chemistry and guess what from what I had learnt from Lifeforce I realized that maybe I'd been held
back by all this negative thinking and guess what I asked him out!"

I was like, "Um, wow."  I didn't want to ask if she'd met Fabio via Lifeforce because no doubt she did and no doubt they are in this together. So now I really hope she doesn't ask me about coming to any more meetings because otherwise I'll have to say point blank, "No thanks, I don't really want to go to a weekend retreat in a windowless room where I am psychologically broken down and have to tithe a large proportion of my earnings for the rest of time."

Or do you think I can just roll into the meeting, grab a couple of chicken wings before remembering I have an urgent appointment?

I know you're all thinking Go Emma, go to the initiation and do something funny like roll around the floor and start speaking in tongues but I simply can't face it.

What about you did you, did you ever end up at a cult meeting, lured there by the promise of free chicken wings?

Listen, I'm cheap, but I'm not that cheap.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hair Splitting Soap Opera

Is it just me or is your hairdresser one of the most important people in your life? I mean, certainly I have been through quite a few until I met Bella. Oh Bella you are all things to me, Shrink, Stylist and All Round Good Egg.

The first hairdresser I had when I got to Baltimore was at a salon called Split Ends (not its real name). Her name was Fiona and she looked like a woodland elf, very thin and with a pixie hair cut. Now she was pretty good at cutting hair but she was really boring. She had the most tedious on off relationship with a guy who taught the accordian or was it the lute? Anyway he kept saying he wasn't ready to commit and she was like my ovaries are drying up. And then it was off and on. Until I was like I don't care if you are off or on I want out.

The next hairdresser I tried couldn't really cut hair but was really loud and funny and called Carla. Firstly she'd scream in Split Ends which was actually quite a classy place about how her first husband ran off and left her when her son was born with no explanation and hotfooted it to Chicago. Then she screamed that it was okay because he'd never been able to find her clitoris. I said, "Well maybe he's still trying to find it in Chicago?" and this made her scream with laughter. And then she told me in detail about how her new husband could not only find it but manipulate it. But a lot of clients were looking at us funny and I started to get embarrassed. So I moved on from Carla and this was when I found Bella.

I guess I was getting a bit of a sluttish reputation at the salon because I was metaphorically whoring my way around the Stylists. Did Fiona know that her tedious tales had caused me to baulk and did Carla know that her raucous sexual escapades had me blushing? I have no idea. Because at last I had found her. Bella cut hair beautifully, she did highlights beautifully, she was sycophantic to quite a large extent and didn't always talk about herself which I loved. And she actually had a brain and a great sense of humour. We were like swans, wedded for life. And then the inevitable happened - she left Split Ends to go to a salon called Trendy Bitches and at first I didn't want to go to Trendy Bitches because it's really hard to park there and so I stayed at Split Ends and started with my fourth hairdresser a glam goth girl called Betsy who cut and dyed hair quite badly but had some funny stories about some C list British celebs she knew which I promised I wouldn't blab about.

So in the end I couldn't fight it anymore. I knew my heart was with Bella and I was going to have to start leaving the sophisticated world of Split Ends and going to Trendy Bitches. And that was this morning except I couldn't find Trendy Bitches because I'd written the address down wrong and my cell was dead so it took me an hour to find it at which point I arrived a sweaty panting mess at the Salon and the receptionist looked at me like I was roadkill and I said, "I got lost. I am looking for Bella. I have tried all the others and nothing compares tooooo you. It's been seven hours and fifteen days since you took your scissors away from me." And I started howling like Sinead O'Connor until they let me stay. And in the end Bella only had time to do a cut and not highlights and I confessed everything: how I'd let Betsy cut my hair. And she said, "Oh I'm not angry that you went to her," but I knew she was really. I wanted her to know I was sorry, so sorry for being so fickle and not wanting to go to a salon where you had to pay for parking but I'm sure the large tip allayed any of her fears that I might be a cheap bitch. And so it was a happy ending for sure.

And what about you? Have you found a hairdresser you want to make sweet sweet music with? Someone who has that tantalizing balance between being friendly and not telling you gynaecological details? If you have treasure them because they are hard to find.