One of the best things about Los Angeles is the abundance of Korean Day Spas. If you’ve never been to one here’s how it works: for $15-$20 you get entry to the facilities, which include a series of hot and cold baths, saunas, relaxation rooms, and showers. You can pay extra to get massages, facials, and body scrubs that are basically akin to an older Korean lady scraping the past two months of life from your body. There are supposed to be some health benefits from doing things in a particular order but my goal is just to steam myself until I feel like an overcooked piece of spaghetti. Also, you’re not supposed to get into any of the pools with clothes on, so everyone walks around naked. Yes, completely nude.
To chase away the lonelies on my first Christmas away from home, I decided to head to my favorite spa. Near the building’s entrance was this middle-aged white lady wearing a motorcycle jacket (?), a too-tight tube skirt, and slingbacks that were about three sizes too small — the backs of her heels were hanging off of those shoes so tragically that they were almost scraping the ground. I know a weirdo when I see one so I said a silent prayer that she would not speak to me. Of course, she was heading to the spa also, and as soon as we got into the elevator she started trying to make a new friend.
You see, since most of the women at the spa are Korean, people who aren’t Korean feel an odd camraderie and start conversations with each other…that, and people just like talking to me and I don’t know why. This woman was on a whole other level, though. She started in by complaining about how stressful Christmas Day with her family was and how she just needed a quick jacuzzi break. Boo hoo. That’s when I looked her in the face and noticed that she had a bunch of weird pink stuff around her eyebrows, some gloppy, Pepto-Bismol-colored sludge that she couldn’t have been aware of unless she had just been pooped on by a radioactive pink flamingo or was just plain unhinged. She seemed the latter, and my procedure for when crazy people zero in me is to just keep my mouth shut. So I did. She, however, would not stop yammering…about nothing and everything at the same time.
By the time the elevators opened to the front desk, this woman was walking so close to me that the receptionist thought we were coming to the spa together and accidentally charged both of our entrance fees on the same card. As soon as the receptionist fixed the problem and handed me my receipt, I hightailed it into the women’s changing area, hoping to ditch old crazy lady in the maze of lockers.
As soon as I crossed that threshold between “changing your clothes” and “completely bucket naked” ol’ girl showed up with a locker right next to mine. The facility has hundreds of lockers so I have to blame the confusion at the front desk for the fact that this lady was rolling up on me while I have no clothing on. Or maybe my life is just a nightmare. I do not know.
“I am so upset at my best friend,” she said. “She did my eyebrows for me and burned my face, it’s so tender and messed up.”
Oh thats what that weird pink stuff on her face was — leftover waxing residue. But why wouldn’t she look in the mirror after getting her eyebrows waxed? Why wouldn’t she or her friend make sure no wax was left behind? Why is she telling me this?!
“That’s why I wish I had skin like yours,” the crazy lady said. Oh! How nice. “You guys are so lucky. Your skin just SHINES! You don’t have to do your eyebrows and you don’t have any skin problems or anything.”
You guys? Oh. She meant black folks? We don’t have to get our eyebrows done? And she said the word “shines” like she was talking about Emerald City? While I’m in my nekkid vulnerable state? And she’s about to take her clothes off in front of me too? Oh no, no. Just no.
Now, I wanted to point out how raggedy my eyebrows were and convince her that yes, black folks can have skin problems, but I just kept on with my do-not-feed-the-crazy-lady routine by keeping my mouth shut and heading towards the steam sauna. The way that conversation was going I knew she’d start in on hair next and although I had my head wrapped up I was naked and well…I don’t do Brazilian waxing if you know what I mean. Awkward.
In the span of a ninety-second elevator ride, this woman thought she’d made a new best friend, and even though her first attempt at bridging the racial divide obviously failed, she spent the next hour glancing at me from across the spa like she was looking for her homegirl for some steamy naked spa chats. Every time we accidentally made eye contact I put my towel over my head like I’d invented some new steam treatment. No thank you ma’am.
I refuse to stop going to that spa just because of that nutbag, but can I please never see her again? Please?