Gift Certificate

by Marinka on December 14, 2008

So your mother gives you a holiday present of gift certificate for a spa day of beauty and says, “take care of those pores of yours” and you put it away and forget about it for ten months at which point she asks you about whether you’d gotten a facial yet and you admit that you haven’t and she asks if you’re planning on waiting until the gift certificate expires and you say “no, of course not” although you have no fucking idea where the gift certificate is but at that moment you resolve to go out and buy yourself a new gift certificate rather than admit that you lost the one that your mother gave you. But then you panic because you remember that your mother is a regular at the salon and certainly she has spies who will tell her that you came in with a different gift certificate. You also panic because you suspect that you are coming down with a mild case of paranoid schizophrenia.

Through the miracle of divine intervention, you locate the gift certificate and call to make an appointment for a relaxing day of beauty and the booking agent is soothing and friendly and then she asks for your credit card number and you explain that there is no need for that because you have a gift certificate and she says that there is no way to make an appointment without a credit card and that it is for your own protection because if you forget the gift certificate on the day of your services, they can charge your credit card and then they will reimburse you when you bring in the gift certificate the next day. So you ask why can’t you just pay with a credit card when you come in, if you did in fact forget the gift certificate, and the answer is because you are suddenly Alzheimers-enriched and have not only forgotten the gift certificate but your credit cards and your entire wallet and are just wandering around the city aimlessly and through sheer fortune happen to come into the salon at the exact moment that you have your appointment. Normally, they would have to deny you service, but since they already have your credit card on file, there is no problem whatsoever. You realize that you are incredibly lucky to have these people looking out for you.

You arrive at the salon on a Saturday afternoon, and prepare to relax. While you are waiting, you are asked to fill out a medical condition form, where you have to disclose every anti-psychotic pill that you take. You decide not to divulge this information, in keeping with a recent resolution to lie as much as possible about everything, although in the “other things about you that we should know” you write down that you are claustrophobic and don’t like those little sweaters with huge buttons that you see everyone wearing.   

Many estheticians walk around the salon in white coats, as though they are coming in and out of surgery and you say a silent prayer that you don’t get a Russian-speaking one. Because, and you hate to sound all prejudiced and self-loathing but Russians are a huge pain in the ass and as soon as they hear your name, they ask if you speak Russian and if you confess that you do, they will regale you with many questions, the gist of which seems to come down to, “how come you can afford to come here and I have to scrub your feet, I have two PhDs from University of Odessa, you putrid whore.”  You remember the one and only time that you were getting at pedicure at a salon at Saks and a trophy wife was getting a manicure next to you and she had the nerve to tell her Russian manicurist, “I just don’t know anymore. I used to have such clear goals, but now I’m not sure whether to get emeralds for Christmas or a fur,” and the manicurist said, “Emeralds for Christmas and fur because you deserve to be warm,” and the trophy squealed with the same enthusiasm that will greet the end of terrorism and the deep recession, if they happen on the same day.  Then when trophy got up, the manicurist said to her co-manicurists, in Russian, “check out this one, girls.”

You look around the waiting lounge and note with satisfaction that no one seems to be suffering from anorexia.  
Then you hear your name called.
“Marinka? I am Russian Olga.  Time for your facial.”

To be continued.  Maybe.  

One year ago ...

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

jon December 15, 2008 at 2:56 am

I am on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait for part dva!


Kylie w Warszawie December 15, 2008 at 3:18 am

I LOVE this! And I have an upcoming massage post, which is kind of weird. The fact that we’re both posting about pampering is weird not the post. Although the post is awfully weird too.

What was I talking about again? Oh, and I am one of those people who totally leaves the house without money, credit cards or identification. All the time.


anymommy December 15, 2008 at 3:24 am

You have just confirmed my worst fears about the conversations swirling around me at the Vietnamese nail salon where I every once in while get my claws fixed. I forget to shave my legs every single time and I just know the poor woman scrubbing my calves is telling her next chair neighbor how gross I am.

Also, putrid whore – fabulous, I choked on my water.


Vodka Mom December 15, 2008 at 4:10 am

I can’t wait to hear the rest! I did the same thing with a massage certificate- I never did get to use the damn thing. dammit.


Ann's Rants December 15, 2008 at 5:10 am

Did you remember your gift certificate?

You just confirmed every woman’s worst fears about their spa technicians dissing them in another language. I KNOW a vietnamese manicurist was seriously cracking up over my spoon thumbs once…


mo.stoneskin December 15, 2008 at 5:39 am

That was funny. Wonder if the fur and emerald queen had to supply her card details, or did she just wave her emerald bling.


Janie December 15, 2008 at 6:10 am

More! More!


Cindy December 15, 2008 at 6:19 am

HA!! I acyually spit hot coffee on my laptop..


OHmommy December 15, 2008 at 6:53 am

You tease… and then what. What happened?

You mean Im going to have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out what happened with Olga. Did you lie to her, and say you didn’t speak Russian. Not that I have EVER done that w/my Polish cleaning lady. Just saying.


La Belette Rouge December 15, 2008 at 7:09 am

I think next time you go the spa/salon you should put on the form you are mute and that way there is no chance of having the University of Odessa venom spewed at you. The only problem with that is that you won’t be able to tell you when she is hurting you. Perhaps come armed with post it notes and a pencil, just don’t write with a Russian accent an you should be fine.


Z December 15, 2008 at 7:32 am

this definitely can’t be left unfinished! part deux, please!!! 🙂


Sophie, Inzaburbs December 15, 2008 at 7:33 am

Did you know I had a secret theory that you are actually a male English journalist and not Russian at all?

After this post, I take it all back. You are Russian. And a woman. I even believe you live in Manhattan (although I never understood that whole Brooklyn theory anyway).

Thanks for the laugh!


Belle December 15, 2008 at 7:37 am

Amazing. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world – New York, London – we all have to deal with the same shit. I did a post a while back about my Vietnamese Nail Surgeon and a Hannah-Lector-Female-Russian substitue that tried to file away my fingers while I was watching. It might be less painless to tell your mother you have lost the bloody certificate. On second thoughts….


Andy December 15, 2008 at 7:55 am

This story must be continued. I need to know what the Russian lady does to your face.


Kate Coveny Hood December 15, 2008 at 8:06 am

I can’t even think about what salon staff, cleaning staff, etc. have to say about me. I would cry. I really care what people think – far more than I should. I sympathized with Elaine when the Vietnamese (they were Vietnamese right?) manicurists were laughing at her. Now I genarally think that people speaking in other languages around me are discussing how I’m the perfect example of the ugly American. And if they are laughing I assume that they think I’m mentally deficient as well. Or just ugly.


Braja December 15, 2008 at 9:07 am

Crap. I forgot to tell you I gave you a shoutout yesterday, but you were so busy being beautiful you possibly wouldn’t have cared anyhow…


Melissa December 15, 2008 at 9:38 am

I’m just aghast that you let a gift certificate for pampering sit that long. Pedicures and massages are my vice! I don’t go to Fourbucks just so I can afford to do those things every once in while.

And our goal challenged friend? Nice. We have those types here, too. Drives me batty.


ShallowGal December 15, 2008 at 10:33 am

You need a spa name. Like Tiffany Sue.

xoxo, SG


bernthis December 15, 2008 at 10:42 am

LOL “….I have two PhD’s from University of Odessa, you putrid whore.” Genius


Kimberly December 15, 2008 at 10:59 am

Now I know what I want for Christmas! I want terrorism and the deep recession to end on the same day.

Thanks for helping me. I need to go wait now.


HappyHourSue December 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

I have a massage gift certificate from LAST Christmas!!!! Maybe I’m avoiding it cuz my husband always says “Was she hot? Did it turn you on?” Yeah, way to ruin it.


heartatpreschool December 15, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I think it’s funny that in an attempt to be nice (and save us from the knowledge that they just want a backup to charge if people flake), they treat people like they have no brains. Which now that I think about it, judging by some of the clientele (trophy) is maybe mostly true.


Heinous December 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm

I waiting to see if this trip can actually bring you any relaxation.


Domestic Goddess (In Training) December 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Just be careful if you lie to Olga or future Russian folks providing beauty treatments… Hypothetically, if you happen to speak Spanish and never admit it, and your manicurist speaks Spanish and calls you a bad tipper beind your back and you hypothetically understood every word and responded back in Spanish that you would tip better if she quit nicking your finger when she trimmed the cuticles. Then you hypothetically can never go back to the nail salon because you’re totally busted.


Devoted Mom To B... December 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I am reading this to my mom who is in recovery at the hospital from a biopsy. We are both laughing out loud and I think that the nurses are eavesdropping! Thanks for the great entertainment!!


Kimberly December 15, 2008 at 3:08 pm

I think I spotted a few run-on sentences there.


Marinka December 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Jon–Part Dva is coming up! (That’s “two” in Russian, for you non-Russian speakers).

Kylie–I can’t wait to read about yours! And as for wandering around without your wallet–Elizabeth Arden welcomes you!

Anymommy–oh, they totally talk about you. And all of us.

Vodka mom–You must find it!

Ann–Yes, I remembered my gift certificate. I think I walked around holding it for the week before the appointment because I was so afraid that I would lose it.

mo–I’m sure trophy has an account.

Janie–ok ok! 😉

Cindy– 😉

OHMommy–more after this commercial break!

La Belette–That is the perfect solution. I should probable leave my bottle of vodka at home, though, right? There’s always a glitch!

Z–Yes! Tuesday!


Charmaine December 15, 2008 at 5:49 pm

I was just interviewed by a special investigator loosly connected with homeland security.

My girlfriend is obtaining a security clearance.

He asked me if there were any character flaws in my friend.

Luckily, after having read your post I was able to say:

“None really. Except the fact that she is a putrid whore”.

Ahh. The power of words. hee hee


Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy December 15, 2008 at 6:53 pm

If I am getting a facial or massage, they can do ANYTHING to me, have me answer ANY and ALL questions and the practitioner can be of any ethnicity in the world, because it means that I am OUT OF MY HOUSE, AWAY FROM MY KIDS and SOMEONE ELSE IS DOING ALL THE WORK!!

just sayin’…


Anna See December 15, 2008 at 7:27 pm

I can’t wait to hear the rest. My microdermabrasion certificate is rotting somewhere in the house. Who knows if I’ll ever use it. I’m sure your mother would think I’m definitely overdue for it.


the mama bird diaries December 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm

God, I hate spa days. If I wanted to just sit there and do nothing, I would just stay home and watch tv. And no one expects a trip for that.


Marinka December 15, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Sophie, Thank you for the favourable comment, my fair lass! (yes, it took me 20 minutes to think of a word that I could add a “u” to in order to make it sound British, although I think I made it sound more Canadian).

Belle–everyone talks about us all the time. Acknowledging that doesn’t make us paranoid. It makes us one step of the game. I think.

Andy–Believe me, my face is ready to launch many ships. Possibly in the other direction, but still.

Kate–oh, they never talk about patrons. I just told Belle that they do to agree with her. You know how some people get.

Braja–I saw! Thank you! I am beautiful AND observant. And also modest. And a liar.

Melissa–Fourbucks?! LOVE IT! (the coffee and the term!)

ShallowGal–Brilliant. I will definitely use that one.
I just need to get some credit cards in that name.

Bern this- 😉

Kimberly–are you sure? I mean that’s nice and all, but what about Victoria Secret’s new bra?

Sue– eww.


phd in yogurtry December 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Emeralds or fur…? somebody slap her!


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