Thursday, November 14, 2013

Only You... And Me

A new salon recently opened a few streets away from my home at Dubai Motor City:

Only You, Hair & Beauty Care Salon

So I decided to try it out for you. 
You're welcome ;)

Here are the services I requested:
  1. Eyebrows threading
  2. Half-arm waxing
  3. Underarm waxing
  4. Hair color
  5. Hair cut
  6. Blow dry

Yes, I am in need of some major make-over and even after this, I still look like I just woke up, all day long. Sleep-deprivation is not a friend. Stay away from it for as much as you can and when you have babies, outsource them! Nah, I'm kidding, you can't outsource your children (duh!) but be prepared to look zombie-scary.

Talking about kids, I was so happy when they told me Only You is child-friendly. They welcome moms with their little ones and won't give us grief or stares if baby gets loud. As any baby does after a few moments of staying still in one single location. The staff are also very nice and kind to children.

That is all very nice, but I didn't visit Only You for daycare services, right? 
So, how were their services?

Eyebrows Threading:
I'm very picky about my eyebrows because they are naturally shaped properly so I don't like when someone screws with the shape but they are tricky because I don't have much hair there. Which means, one wrong pluck and it's a disaster. Well the technician listened and delivered. She did not make them thinner, or reshaped them. They are just as I like them. It took only a few minutes and I was done.
Cost: 30 UAE Dirhams

Half-arm Waxing:
I don't like to wax my arms much because well, they're not that hairy to begin with and I have had the worst experiences with waxing. So many times, technicians would, without asking, spread wax all over my arm down to my hand. My hand! It's called "arm" not "hand waxing". If I want to wax my hand, I'll tell you! (I'm not talking about knuckles here, which incidentally I don't wax either, but I know many do; no I am talking about the back of my hand which I know some people do but unless there's hair in there, don't you think you should ask me first?) Also, I have had the misfortune of people literally skinning me while waxing my arms. I kid you not. They just insist on layering wax where there is no hair (on the inside of my arm) and just tearing the skin and some meat on their way. No no, I am not kissing, I have ended up with burns, literally. So you can imagine I am extra cautious when I take the risk of entrusting my arms to someone. Again, that second technician was a sweetheart, she listened and waxed where I wanted her to wax. Thank you very much. As she started spreading the wax I smelled something familiar. It was olives. Turns out they use olive based wax. When she was done, my arms felt amazing! There was absolutely no rash (which usually happens with my sensitive skin) or redness. Not even goose bumps. Absolutely baby-skin-beautiful!
Cost: 40 UAE Dirhams

Underarm Waxing:
Well I've disclose way too much information about my waxing habits (and fears) above so I really don't  need to go over those again. I just need to say, it was prompt, it took only one application of wax on each location (as for the arms) and that is perfect because my skin cannot tolerate more than this. The whole waxing (arms and underarms) was finished in a matter of five minutes. And not a hair was left standing.
Cost: 35 UAE Dirhams

Photo: Only You

Hair Coloring:
Now this is a hot topic. Seriously. I have never been happy with any hairdresser in Dubai. Any. It's not that I'm annoyingly picky, it's just that I go to the salon once in a blue moon and I'd like that once to go well. Usually, it doesn't. I mean it looks great at the salon. But a day later, at home, it's a mess! I have to confess, I had heard of Only You's head stylist, Maro before. She's been around Motor City for over five years, her regulars love her and follow her wherever she goes, and now that she's opened her own salon, she's overbooked with loyal customers who won't allow anyone else to lay a hand on their heads.  I had never visited Maro before but I was quite hopeful. I told her that I wanted to go a little lighter but that I didn't want, under any circumstance, to end up with a reddish or yellowish head. Every time a hairdresser takes me a few tones lighter, after the first shampoo at home, my hair is orange! I hate it! Maro promised it wouldn't. What I can confirm right now is that it isn't. And I'm hoping as the color fades away, it will remain a shade of chestnut. I had the choice between Inoa and Magirel. I was advised to go for the latter because the color would last longer. Overall, I am very, very happy with the result. 
Cost: 350 UAE Dirhams (price varies depending on hair length)

Photo: Only You

Hair Cut:
This is also a tricky one. For the same reasons previously stated. My main concern was that me being the lunatic psycho that I am, I cannot stand hair in my face, it just drives me insane so it needs to stay long enough for me to tie it. However, it is so thick and basically shapeless that keeping it just like that should be a crime punishable by law. Maro was brilliant. She just layered it, taking off some of the thickness from inside, while keeping it approximately the same length. She took out the tips of course because they were too messy and straightened it all. It looks amazing. I can tie it. And when I grab it to do so, it feels like I have half of the hair I used to deal with before. Perfect.
Cost: 100 UAE Dirhams 

Maro did the whole hair from putting the color to cutting and blow-drying. I love it when I am not passed down onto staff. She made sure the hair was done as it should. The blow dry was simple, and fairly quick. It still looks good a few days after which is not only great but a miracle with my hair type and Dubai's humidity.
Cost: 100 UAE Dirhams (price varies depending on hair length)

Sorry for the crappy quality. Phone-photos are always horrendous.
Don't be afraid, it's just my zombie-scary look.
Please be kind, these were taken at 10pm after a long mommying day ;)
(Also, Bathroom-Selfies are the worst!! hahaha)
Photo: R. Abouzeid

So should you go?

The owners and staff are lovely, professional, well-trained. The place is spotless and the ambiance is lovely. Everyone seems to be qualified and services are performed promptly and well. Also, if you're driving your car, you'll find free accessible parking spaces behind the building. The salon opens until 9:30pm (they plan to extend that) and on weekends which is perfect for those who work. Just make sure you take an appointment as there is a high demand for Maro and you don't want to just sit and wait endlessly. Although they will give you very good coffee if you have to wait ;)

Bookmark Only You
  • Follow Only You on Facebook
  • Visit Only You's official website
  • Call Only You on 044224180
  • Drop by Only You at 204 Apex Atrium Building, Motor City, Dubai, UAE

Mamma Mia+Jad

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Monday, November 4, 2013

My two cents on CIO

Following on my last post on Childism, and in an attempt to end all kids/parents-related hate out there, please allow me to tackle a sensitive topic.

I have been struggling to write this one. Because I know people I care for might be offended or just saddened and I do not want that. Please try to keep an open mind and I apologize in advance for the ranting sometimes but I guess I too am getting offended, saddened and tired by some unnecessary speeches (for lack of better terms).

Besides, the more I encounter issues of the same sort (and I do on a daily basis) the more I feel it is important to talk openly and frankly and without prejudice.

One of these issues is CIO (Cry It Out).

Every time I think about it, I remember Mad About You. It is one of my favorite TV shows actually and I find it smart and funny and very well done. But there is one episode I will never forget for totally different reasons: The Conversation.

When I first watched it, I was so impressed because the whole episode was shot in one take. No editing. No cuts. No mistakes. Pretty much like a play. All 20 minutes filmed in one single uninterrupted take. It was amazing because it added to the reality, the weight and the pain of these parents trying to "train" their baby daughter to sleep. It felt like it was never ending. Like in real life: no breaks, no breathers, nothing. Just one, long, heavy process.

This episode aired on December 16, 1997. I can't remember when it was that I actually got to watch it but I do remember back then, I wasn't married yet, let alone a mom.

But there is one line I can never forget. At the end, when baby Mabel finally stops crying, Paul asks: "Okay, so it worked?" And Jamie to answer with the most devastating voice: "We broke her heart". 

This goes to show, you don't need to be a mom or to have maternal instincts to know deep down, CIO is heartbreaking. I was hardly a young adult then and I knew it. So much in fact, I can't ever forget that episode and Jamie's line.

"Now she knows we won't always be there for her"

What I could not understand then, and still can't today is why would anyone want to be the first person to ever break their child's heart?

The nice packaging of "training your child", "teaching your child to be independent", it's all very nice but deep now, I think we all know CIO is all about the parents' comfort. I do understand parents need their sleep to keep some shred of sanity. Believe me. I do.

But just as a child cannot be trained to eat or walk or pretty much do anything by themselves in the first months of their lives, why would we expect them to become emotionally independent around that same time? Independence is a full-fledge achievement. It all comes together, as one whole.

Parenthood, it's inconvenient. It is difficult. It is exhausting. And yes, sorry to beak it to you like this but you did sign up for all this crap when you decided to have a baby!

A baby who since the beginning, has known nothing but the safety of a womb and who is suddenly "forced out", scared and helpless and who looks desperately for the only sense of safety they used to know. A mother. A voice. An embrace to feel wrapped and safe.

But no, all of a sudden, instead of that, we are supposed to train them to become emotionally independent.

Just saying it out loud, it sounds and resounds ridiculous!

God Knows it is hard enough for experienced adults to reach emotional independence, let alone a baby who spends days completely reliant on parents.

Why should the nights be any different? The baby's needs are the same, day and night. Why would the parents be available during day time but at night, and without any explanation, suddenly disappear?

What kind of insane, unreasonable and completely schizophrenic mixed message is that?

I have heard so much preaching.

I have even heard so much blaming.

For God's Sakes, parents need to quit preaching parents, mothers need to quit looking down on other moms and people in general need to be more sympathetic and kind, not condescending and hurtful.  

So apparently, I was the one at fault for being exhausted. I heard it so many times, from friends, from relatives and even from mere acquaintances who all felt they had a right to teach me how to be a competent mother.

Researches have been done, books have been written, and experts have spoken. Who am I to stand in the way of "science"? How can I be so uneducated and ignorant?

Why wouldn't I train my child? Don't I want to sleep and be all ready for a new day in the morning and ultimately be a better parent?

Of course I did.
Of course I do.

But do you know what I also did some times?

Cry. All alone. In the dark.
And it bloody sucks.

And "science", well it's not so clear-cut when it comes to CIO. Actually, it's still debatable and research goes both ways. Many have also proven how damaging it can be for a child and later on the adult that child becomes, to feel so terribly abandoned at such an early age. To feel so painfully let down by those he or she loves the most. The only ones they know and can rely on for mere survival but also for affection and love.

I will even dare to take this research argument one step further: just Google what happens to lonely children in orphanages. Some simply give up on life and let themselves just die. As ridiculous as it may sound, they die of sadness. No seriously. Of sadness and loneliness. It's absolutely horrifying but it just proves that emotional stability and love are as necessary as food and water. I think there's so much harshness out there, it is terrifying. And unfortunately, misery likes company and those who are supposed to care for these children are simply not qualified or emotionally able or paid enough and they just quit caring.

If you feel like I am exaggerating, why don't you try it? Yes, CIO. Go head and try it. On yourself that is.

At a moment of need, when you find yourself alone, or scared, or both, don't reach out to another human being (God Forbid). Just stay there, wherever it is you are (preferably in the dark). Just sit there, all alone. And cry it out.

See how it feels.

Sure, you'll get over it. Sure, your skin will grow thicker. But so will your bitterness. You will find it harder to trust someone will be there for you when you need them.

You will learn to be independent, sure. But you will also learn you are so incredibly alone, lonely and sad.

Why would you want to inflict all this weight on a baby?

Why would you want to inflict all this weight on anyone for that matter?

I am sorry but it is not a valuable lesson as some might like to claim.

Life is not so sad and lonely and it is not right to make a child believe this is how life should be.

Don't worry, pretty much like they will learn to talk, eat, dress and go to the toilet by themselves, they will also learn to become independent at night, with time, at their own pace.

Childhood should be about happiness and love and peace of mind.

Not about worrying and loneliness.

It's too much sadness and at the risk of being labelled the worst mother on Earth, I will never, ever convey to my children that I am not there for them. Life will bring so much shit their way soon enough anyway. They don't need their mom, the one person they rely on for safety and support to do that to them first.

Who knows when I will actually physically stop being there? Only then will it be acceptable that they learn to live with that loss. Before that happens, I am here. I am so here. I may be sleep-deprived, grumpy and sometimes mad, but I am so damn HERE.

You believe in CIO, fine. Do it.

But quit passing judgement on those who don't. Because your condescension and patronizing are a reflection of your person. Unlike you'd like to believe, they definitely are not a reflection of my competence as a parent.

Mamma Mia + Jad

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

CHILDISM. Learn about it. End it.

There are many forms of child-hate out there. 

Too many times on Facebook and Twitter, I read statements from friends and acquaintances passing judgement on parents and children in hateful ways. 

From the blunt "I hate kids" (yes, just like that, for no apparent reason, people seem to think it's OK to post this as a status while any "target human group" other than "kids" might have launched a wave of outrage) to more elaborate reasonings of why and where this hatred comes from (always placing blame on the children of course), these are recurrent statements on social media and even in real-life social gatherings.

Once I even read something not only obnoxious but also filled with ignorance, bigotry and just plain stupidity. It goes along the lines of:

"Women with small babies should not allowed on public buses"

Now wait, before you start passing judgement on him too, you need to know he typed these words with good reason (and his 20-something childless friends on Facebook all agree). The baby kept crying the whole way. It was unbearable. So of course, mothers with babies should be banned from public transportation. Naturally that defeats the whole purpose of transportation being "public" but who cares? Babies are just too damn annoying. And loud. And that mother could not keep that baby quiet for God's Sakes! An abomination. Seriously, legalize this: no parents with children on public transportation.

My first instinct was to go ahead and write a comment explaining to the said child-hater that first of all, this is what public transportation is. Sometimes you deal with loud passengers, sometimes you deal with rude passengers, sometimes with smelly ones, other times with harassers and apparently, taking from his statement with ignorant dummies too. When you do not feel like dealing with the masses, get your own car. Throw in a chauffeur too so you don't have to deal with other lousy drivers while you're at it.

Secondly, babies cannot talk. They cannot verbalize their basic survival needs (hunger, thirst, tiredness or even pain, most of the times because unlike childless people think, babies spend most of their time in pain, it takes a lot to grow up into a well-rounded child-hating adult). Blame Darwin. Human evolution is damn slow. This is such an annoyance. Why can't babies be born with full speech? That's just not practical to always have to try and decipher what's going on with them.  

So he's a crash course in "Try-Your-Best-Not-To-Be-An-Ass-Today 101":

The only way for babies to communicate their needs is through crying. That is highly disruptive, completely irritating, definitely inconvenient and annoying. To everyone. Parents included. Actually, parents in particular. So to bash this mom and portray her (even if indirectly) as an inadequate mother because she could not manage to calm her baby is simply shit. She probably tried it all and I can guarantee on a crowded public bus, her options were certainly limited. No mother wants to see her child crying or suffering (emotionally or physically). Also, she probably hears that crying all day long (if you're still wondering why that is, go back to the first sentence of this paragraph), and she certainly is as frustrated as you are, if not more. Embarrassed too, because judgmental ass-holes will make their annoyance quite obvious. I know that for a fact. They will work hard on making you uncomfortable and hindering your chances and efforts at any possible successful outcome. 

But then I refrained from explaining anything. To me, twenty year olds can be as annoying as teenagers, yes I am that old. (That doesn't mean I advocate to make 20-somethings illegal, although really, that wouldn't be a bad idea. See? Two can play that game, dummy). And when I saw the flood of compassionate friends supporting and sympathizing with their poor, miserable child-hating-pal, I thought, what's the point? Because I know the Internet and I know that in a matter of seconds, I would be dragged into a long, infinite really, debate of silliness. I don't have time for this shit.


Child hate is everywhere but I had no idea there was a name for it.

Pretty much like bigotry against a certain people on no other ground than intolerant ignorance or skin color is called racism, hating children or abusing them in any kind of way is called childism. Makes sense to you? If not, check the article that taught me this notion.

As you can see in the aforementioned reference, parents who purposely humiliate children in order to teach them lessons (such as posting stupid, and in my opinion really not funny photos of humiliating punishments on the internet) are just bullies. Kids don't have the means to defend themselves or their right to privacy against their parents and in theory it is the parents' responsibility and even duty to care for that very same privacy.

Now I know, I know, I am guilty of exhibiting countless photos of my über cute monkeys (not humiliating one though, I hope). And maybe when they grow up, they won't want to have all their photos all over the web. Or maybe, they are from a generation that is all over the web by birth and to them, it will be as natural as mobile phones which we'll all find hard to believe have been around for a few decades only (no, no, I am not insane, there was no mobile anything when we were born, except for maybe the oh-so-fancy walkman -- cassette walkman that is -- for those born in the 90's, I'm just making up words now). 

But the general rule is: people who have no children (whether in a relationship or not) are the ones passing hateful (and truly stupid) verdicts on kids and parents.

More often than not, they are activists and intellectuals, who fight for human rights on a daily basis and whose efforts are indeed commendable.

Some are true rebels and thrive in challenging society's pressure to conformism.

This is what shocks me. How can you be so hateful when you actively work day and night for a more tolerant and equal society?

Of course, there are always the occasional posers who pretend are rebels and intellectuals which is generally obvious and quite annoying. Possibly as much as a crying baby on a bus.

The internet is funny like that. Basically posting cat photos, cute animals videos or memes is cool. Talking about your child or posting their photos is boring and annoying. Oh well. But I digress.

I don't think of myself as a conventional person really. I believe in cohabitation as a necessity  specifically for the sake of a long-lasting marriage that could ensue.

I also did not want to get married at some point. Not because conformity would want me to become a wife and then a mother. Just because I didn't feel like being a wife would make me a better or a happier person. 

There was a time in my life when I did not want to have children. Not because society says I should and I was a wild rebel but because it would freak me out. Then I moved on to wanting children real bad but not a husband. Yes, I am weird that way.

Then I met a guy who made me want to get married and then, a very long time later, want to take the risk of motherhood. Go figure.

In any case, I know for a fact, these convictions evolve and change as we do and with the people who enter our lives and bring in new needs and hopes and dreams.

But I guess, now that I am a mother, I am less welcoming of all the sorts of abuse and hate that target children. Call it instinct. Call it hormones. Call it whatever it is that makes you happy.

Bottom line is, hate, no matter who it is targeting, is uncalled for, ignorant crap.

No one needs that much negativity. Especially not the young people who will grow up to become as hateful as the world around them. And not parents for whom raising another human being is hard enough without having to bear the idiocies of clueless bigots.

Make Childism unacceptable.
Make all hate unacceptable.

Teach love.
Live love.

Love all children so they know what is important.
And so they can grow up to become better adults than we are.
Hopefully, loving adults. 

Mamma Mia+Jad

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