Continuing on with my From Where I Sip series...
There used to be a sandwich restaurant next to our office, Joe's Sandwich, where I'd order a tuna sandwich for lunch on days when I didn't have time to properly sit down for a real mid-day meal.
On one of my lunch time visits to Joe's Sandwich, I was surprised on one table, a couple of girls were clipping their finger nails and coloring them. I asked myself, 'Isn't this a restaurant where food is served and sanitation should be observed?' I don't know Seoul's sanitation regulations when it comes to restaurants, but when clippings of dead finger nails are scattered around the restaurant and these colored chemicals are introduced into the room, I was pretty sure health and sanitation should be a priority. Fortunately that day, those girls were only doing their hands, and not their feet. Eeew!
But I guess, in Korea, that is very acceptable. Putting your sandwich next to your finger nail clippings and nail cutter, or sipping your iced cafe americano while you paint your finger nails red, or perhaps, interchanging the two tasks, is normal.
I'm not sure if that finger clipping and nail-polishing scene at Joe's Sandwich may have been an exception. Perhaps, those girls were meeting their respective dates after lunch and needed an emergency nail-beautification session inside the restaurant before going back to the office.
On some occasions, it's less surprising. At times, I'd see a group of girls at Starbucks in Itaewon seated in between students studying and ajussis talking about business, while they duplicate a scene out of a beauty shop, minus the hair drying and perming. Ha-ha-ha!
I was amazed that they even brought their own make-up kit. And in between sipping my iced cafe mocha and reading the pages of my report, I observed as they painted their faces with all the colors at their disposal. Brushing, pencilling and lining every square centimeter of their skin that faced the world. Or in the case that night, the skin that faced all the other people in Starbucks. Ha-ha-ha!
I am not sure if this sisterhood of turning any cafe into a beauty shop is prevalent all over the city, or perhaps, the whole peninsula.
I haven't seen this face-painting scene for quite some time now, and I'm thinking, maybe, just like the nail-clipping and nail-polishing at Joe's Sandwich, this make-up session in a coffee shop is only common to those having an emergency. After all, shouldn't you be groomed and ready when you step out of your apartment?
So, the next time you're in a coffee shop and you see a group of girls having a make-up session together, don't be surprised. They're having an emergency.