"I look forward to a visit to Sue at Changing Faces, yes, because she’s very good at waxing off the winter coat, but also because we always have such a good chat about life. It was the same when Lucy at Tropical Sun used to do my bikini wax and we would talk about family issues and politics.

I no longer see a therapist - as in, a psychotherapist - but I was struck recently, coming home from an appointment with Natalie my nail artist extraordinaire, by a similar - if not greater - sense of relief to that which I used to feel after a therapy session.

Clinical psychologist Seth Myers thinks it’s because the salon context removes the “hard work” of the therapeutic setting. “The client looks into the mirror and can see the reflection of the stylist standing behind, but it’s far less threatening than the dynamic in psychotherapy in which the therapist sits across from the client and looks directly into the client’s eyes. In other words, the mirror creates the illusion of distance which makes the client feel more comfortable as he or she shares deeply personal details.”

Sociologist Miliann Kang extensively explored the notion of “body labour” (and the intersection of race and gender) as it relates to nail salons in her 2010 book The Managed Hand, itself a riff on sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild’s seminal 1983 study of “emotional labour”, The Managed Heart. Hochschild describes emotional labour as “management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display; emotional labor is sold for a wage”."

This week I was thinking about beauticians as therapists and not only what the client gets out of it, but what the beauty professional themselves get (if anything). So I asked a bunch of hairdressers, makeup artists and nail techs how it feels from their side of the appointment. 

  1. clownyprincess said: Unfortunately I aam both too wound up and too distrustful to confide in either brain therapist or beauty therapist :(
  2. lil-c0met reblogged this from clambistro
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  4. blondetiger reblogged this from clambistro and added:
    Clem interviewed me! I said stuff that made sense (I think…)
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  6. theholynail said: this is really profound for me.
  7. clambistro posted this