There is a very important hyphen in the title of today’s post, because we’re not talking about makeup (as in cosmetics, as in, the word that doesn’t usually have a hyphen), for a change. We’re talking about Make-Up Hours at Beauty U.
Make-Up Hours are what you need to do if, like me, and like most Beauty U students (particularly the part-time night class members) you’re trying to balance the whole thing with a Whole Other Life: work, kids, whatever. Sh*t happens. You get the flu. Or a non-negotiable deadline (usually my issue, since I’m a freelance writer by day). So you miss a night, which quickly adds up to erm, several nights.
And this is bad, because Beauty U is all about attendance. You have to maintain an attendance average of 80 percent to stay in school, period. And if you don’t complete your 600 hours by your Beauty U-prescribed graduation date, you’ll pay an extra $13 per hour to finish up.
This makes sense. They don’t want people hanging around, taking years to clock 600 hours, and occupying a seat that could be filled by a more deserving and motivated student.
But, hi: It’s also a pretty brilliant money-maker. Because catching up on your hours when you’ve fallen behind is not so easy. You can’t just roll into school whenever you please and call it Make-Up Time. Beauty U has set “Make-Up Hour” time windows when you can come in and count that time towards your deficit. They are only on three weekday afternoons. Remember how most night students have jobs and kids and stuff? Yeah.
There are also a handful of field trip opportunities (like when we attended The Makeup Show) that count as hours. But you’re only allowed to use three such events to make up lost time. You’re not allowed to bank hours, like if you know you’re going on vacation and want to plan ahead. And if you’re on probation because you’ve missed too much time, you’re not allowed to use field trips for hours at all. Plus, they usually cost money. Of course, so does missing work to attend Make-Up Hours or shooting past your graduation date. So any way you slice it, you’re going to pay to play.
We’re down to our last ten weeks + 2 days of beauty school. Mark your calendars because my official graduation date is August 17.* And I’ll be damned if I’m paying to stay a minute later.** But even though I’ve maintained a consistent 90% or better attendance rate for the past seven months, I’ve got 20-odd hours to cover first, and have been frantically rearranging my life to attend Make-Up Time, otherwise known as The Worst Study Hall Ever.
All of which is a long way of telling you this story:
I learn as soon as I clock in that there is no “chit-chatting” allowed during Make-Up Time. Two women (I’m saying women on purpose here, because everyone in the room is over the age of 18, even though at Beauty U we are always, always “girls”) are whispering over their textbooks and receive a resounding shush from Miss Cheryl.
We are also not allowed to perform spa services for signatures to pass the time. (I guess because you missed out on that privilege by missing actual class?)
Or flip through the pile of hairstyle and esthetics magazines in the reception area. Or eat or drink. (Not trying to be dramatic there; it’s only 90 minutes. Though it does annoyingly coincide with my usual pre-class dinnertime.) Or use our cell phones.
So what happens is, we sit in silence at the hairdressing tables in the main salon, reading our textbooks under the hawk eye of Miss Cheryl. Except me, because I forgot to bring my Milady’s with me.
“You need to bring your Milady’s,” Miss Cheryl tells me. “You can’t stay if you’re going to just sit here and do nothing.” She is dead serious, and also slightly wide-eyed, like she can’t imagine what I might do if I were allowed to just sit and do nothing for the next 90 minutes.
So I track down a spare copy and set myself up at a hairdressing table. I page through some old favorites, like facials for men, makeup lessons, and why “ethnic skin is more fragile than it looks.” Then I remember that one of my editors sent a somewhat time-sensitive email before I left the house. So I pull out my iPhone to type a quick response.
Full disclosure: That editor is also a friend, so I take maybe an extra 30 seconds with that response, to make the email friendly.
But still. Miss Cheryl is standing over me so fast, I think maybe she can fly. “Can I have your cell phone?”
It’s phrased as a question. But it is not a question. Every pair of student eyes swivels towards me. It happens so fast, and yet also in slow motion. I freeze like I’ve been caught passing notes in 9th grade geometry, then hand over the phone.
That I was using to stay on top of the work that I’m missing in order to sit and reread a textbook for 90 minutes.
Because oh yeah, this isn’t 9th grade.
When Make-Up Time is over, 86 boring minutes later, Miss Cheryl holds out my phone. “Are you going to do that again?” she says. Another non-question.
I shake my head, shamefaced.
“Good, because next time, I’ll have to write you up.” Satisfied with that warning, she hands back my phone and I wonder how long she would have kept it if I had said “yes, because sometimes I really need to use my phone when I’m sitting here doing absolutely nothing.”
I calculate that I have at least 18 more hours to spend in Make-Up Time, which should give me plenty of time to find out.
But be honest, because I know excessive cell phone use annoys everyone. Do you think I was out of line? Was Miss Cheryl right to crack the whip?
*Yes, thanks for counting, that’s actually 11 weeks away, but we get a summer break around July 4th, during which time both Beauty U and this blog will be on hiatus.
**Please do not worry. Beauty Schooled is not going anywhere — I’ve got so much post-graduation blog content saved up for you, it’s just insane. Plus, I’ll have 16 more hours every week to devote to writing it!