2008.02.04 - K-Town:
This is EJ, your intrepid undercover explorer; going where other men fear to tread and reporting from one of the last hallowed bastions of womanhood.
No, I didn't sneak into the women's locker room of my local Equinox during "peak" hours. I'm referring to my recent assignment to infiltrate a beauty salon, Ra Beauty Core, under the guise of getting a hair cut.
I had never understood why women love to "get their hair did", committing what seemingly was half of their day to being couped-up a salon.
After my visit to Ra, I GET it.
Located in the rear of the ground floor of an nondescript office building in K-town, Ra is the first U.S. opening of the famous Korean salon chain. With an emphasis on providing "total beauty service," the salon provides a full range of beautifying services, including hair, nails, and skin treatments.
As soon as I entered and checked-in, the receptionists (yes, that's a plural) immediately summoned an assistant of Christine, my hairstylist. She quickly ushered me into a back room and enticed me with a choice of refreshments (a variety of teas and coffees), a library of reading materials, and an offer strip the shirt off my back. Wait...wha? Oh no, so that I could slip into a salon-provided robe.
Once I settled in, a hair washing was in order; complete with an eye mask to cover my eyes as she washed my hair and massaged my scalp before toweling me off--just like the way mommy used to do it. I felt like I was 5 years-old again ... 25 years-old.
After my hair wash, I was plopped into a comfy salon chair to wait for Christine, with the latest issue of Vogue and a pillow on my lap upon which to rest it (a nice touch as my arms have been sore from all the working out to prepare for my photo shoot in Thailand--I'm going to be holding the camera a lot, which will take a lot of endurance). For those who don't want to tax their mental facilities reading one of their many fashion and beauty magazines, Ra provides a flat screen TV at each station so you can be kept up-to-date on the latest K-game show.
Those fortunate enough to accompany you are not left out as they can wait in any one of the three spacious waiting areas; sitting on a comfortable couch and perusing a magazine while enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Meanwhile, those who just can't "disconnect" can find a bank of computers with wide-screen, flat panel displays for complementary high-speed Internet access.
As for myself, I barely started an article about how black is yet again the new black before Christine arrived to take charge and work her magic on my mane. Efficient and detailed, she cut and trimmed my hair so that each strand stood where it should have stood and layed flat in all the right places. Christine then sent me back to her assistant to wash my hair again before she styled and teased it so I could leave ready for action.
I looked like a million bucks ... with interest ... in 1900 dollars.
By the end of the afternoon, I had caught up with all those back issues of Vogue and Cosmo that I missed and the latest gossip with the girls (I know, I know, I can't believe that Susan either, she's such a tramp). Best of all, I didn't have to lift a finger. Well, except my pinkie when I drank my tea.
The only bad thing I can say about my experience at Ra is that I have to wait for my hair to grow out again before I go back.
In the mean time, I'm going to work on sneaking into the women's locker room at Equinox...
Ra Beauty Core
3580 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 135
Los Angeles, CA 90011