November 7, 2006

Ms. Amrika at the Beauty Parlour

F. is a Palestinian woman, forced into marriage at the age of 16 and forced to leave school which she greatly regrets as she loves reading , something that she manages to find the time to do despite her hectic schedule .
After two failed miserable marriages and four kids , she decided that she will have to stand on her two feet and that she will have to do it alone .
She started paying visits to the rich ladies around the capital, offering her services which consisted of waxing and manicures .
Her brightness and sense of humor made her popular amongst her well off clientele.
After many years of hard work and savings , she finally opened her own Beauty Parlour.

I went and paid my regular visit . The atmosphere is usually light at F' s. Loads of women, from all backgrounds, cracking jokes (usually about the men in their lives) ,
commiserating , supporting , giving advice, talking about the latest political blunders, and sharing beauty tips and recipes for keeping one's looks .
The place was buzzing with noise of endless chit chats . Tray after tray of cups of Arabic coffee passing around , cigarette smoke filling the dense place .

The door abruptly opened and walked in a "foreigner". More on the heavy side , very low cut blouse , excessively tight pants , peroxide blonde hair , and a chewing gum in mouth making bubbles .
Ok , we all found out by then that she was american , the chewing gum was a give away .

Ms Amrika was accompanied by a mousey looking English woman . She was quiet and looked rather fearful , hiding in the shadow of her yankee friend .
Ms. Amrika threw her weight on the chair , stretched her legs , lit a cigarette , ordered a coffee and said : " I want my nails done and I want it fast ".

Silence fell in the room . We , women, stared at one another, and I could see some trying very hard to conceal their giggles .

Realizing that maybe she was not very welcomed after all , she tried to put on a pleasant face and attempted at striking some conversation with the woman sitting next to her . Her loud brash voice ensured that the whole crowd was overhearing her pathetic efforts .

" I just luuv yar country , the weather's awwwesome and hey Jill, don't ya just luuv the food ?"
Jill nodded in approval .
" Aym from the US of A " . No shit ! I thought to myself .
Then she gave one of those throaty hoarse laughs , tilted her head back and continued.
" Aww and the men, honey, aren't they just sooo sexy ? "
" Yar lives are so easy here , I mean , I guess, ya' all don't have to work , am I right ?"
" Are ya all kind of , ehh , kept by the men ? Awww you're all so luucky..."

I mumbled to myself : one minute we are all oppressed and one minute we are all lucky , so which one is it ? What else do they want to steal ?
One of the women sitting next to me must have heard my mumblings . She added :
" Habibtee (my dear) if they can steal our sun too , they will do it ..."