samedi, mars 10, 2007

The Invisible Men

Courageously (or brazenly) putting aside my annoyance about the way I saw customers treating the men who washed their luxury cars, I walked back to the table where two women were chatting. "Did you mention Thermage?" I asked them.

Thermage, in case you don't know, is a new wrinkle (or unwrinkle) in middle class and upper class America's desire to shave ten or 20 years off their faces. Unlike lasers, it doesn't need a lot of recovery time-you can go right back the office to chair a meeting or to the home gym to work out with your trainer. Unlike a face lift, it doesn't make you look like you have been scalped.

So much better than Botox, I said to one of the women, a pretty blonde I guessed was probably in her early to mid forties. Touching her smooth forehead with a manicured fingernail, she said she was a Botox veteran. Joined by a fourth woman, there ensued a exquisitely female chat about the benefits and disadvantages of Botox, why would we would probably not have plastic surgery, and our generally negative feelings about tanning salons.

Four middle-aged but well preserved women yakking about beauty in the late afternoon at a car wash. Laughing, commenting, assessing one another... we could have been teen age girls gathered around a lunch table. The only flaw in the charming scene were the men behind us, vacuuming the fast food and dirt out of our cars. Incurious, we tossed them a tip and drove off. I'm guessing not one of us wondered where they lived, what they ate, whether they had children at home or in another land. Somehow I suspect that the men who waxed our cars judged us less harshly than I do. Their work at the WG is probably a chance for them to go for the American dream-a vision of affluence that seems, at the White Glove, both so concrete and so ephemeral if one looks into the eyes of the employees...doing time for us so that their kids will not have to.

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