Small Talk, Big Silences

| Finland | Working | March 4, 2017

(I’m used to hairdressers being chatterboxes. This one… tries? After I told the hairdresser what kind of cut I have in mind, it’s been five minutes of her working silently.)

Hairdresser: “So… Have you been watching the Eurovision Song Contest?”

Me: *perks up* “I have! I watch it with my roommate. The first semifinal was rather interesting, with…”

Hairdresser: “But Finland didn’t make it through to the final?”

Me: “Well, yeah…”

(Another five minutes of silence.)

Hairdresser: “So what about hockey? Have you been watching the championship games?”

Me: “Well, I’m not that into sports, but I watched the Finland vs. USA game a few days ago with my parents. It was more interesting than I thought. But mostly I just follow Finland’s success by listening to my neighbours shout at their TV.”

Hairdresser: “…”

(After a few minutes of silence.)

Me: “My mom always watches sports with our Labrador on the couch with her and—”

Hairdresser: “Oh, we had Labrador Retrievers. Goofy dogs.”

Me: “Yeah, they are a lot of fun. Really energetic.”

Hairdresser: “…”

(It went on like that, with huge slices of silence between me answering her questions, the conversation quickly dying. and her asking me another question. As a Finn, I don’t mind the lack of small talk, but I got really confused when it was attempted so many times without success.)

Give Them Half An Inch…

| Seattle, WA, USA | Right | January 30, 2017

(I receive this email from a customer who got a half-inch cut off her hair:)

Customer: “I just have to let you know I’m a bit devastated by your haircut yesterday. My only consolation is that even though I look like a dying cancer patient, I know I am healthy right now, and this stiff, rough edged concentration camp length haircut will grow out, eventually. I just think you should know when someone says they don’t want to lose length, they just need to SHAPE their hair, you should not shave their hair like you did mine. There’s no movement, no softness, no femininity left at all. I can’t hang my head upside down to give it fullness; there’s no hair to lift. Worst of all, my granddaughter looks at me like she doesn’t know me. I’m sad.”

No Time For Dry Humor

| UT, USA | Working | January 29, 2017

(My husband and I are getting our hair cut. The same stylist cuts our hair back to back.)

Stylist: “So, what conditioner do you use?”

Me: “I can’t remember the name, but it’s a [Brand] product that’s supposed to be good for colored hair. I color my hair.”

Stylist: “Okay, you have to be careful with what products you use, because sometimes they say they’re good, but they aren’t really. Some products use paraffin. Do you use any product when you straighten your hair?”

Me: “Yeah, I use argan oil.”

Stylist: “Okay. We do have a sale going on for [Product], which is really good for dry hair.

(I didn’t bother to tell her that I had recently been pregnant, but miscarried, and pregnancy hormones can dry out hair. She was really irritating me, and I was glad when she was done with my hair.)

Stylist: *to my husband* “Do you condition your hair?”

Husband: “Yeah.”

Stylist: “Okay, because your scalp is dry.”

Husband: *irritated* “Well, we do live in the middle of the desert, and it’s summer time.”

Stylist: *meekly* “Yeah, I guess that’s true.”

Sick Of Bad Parenting

| Ireland | Right | December 30, 2016

(I occasionally help out in my mother’s salon at busy times like Christmas week. There is a bit of a lull one morning this year so I leave to run some errands just as a client arrives with her three young children. I missed the following occurring not even ten minutes later..)

Baby: *throws up*

Mom: *sympathetic* “Is she OK?”

Client: “She’s fine, just something she ate this morning.”

(Almost on cue, one of the older kids “projectile vomits” across the floor. The other one doesn’t look very well either.)

Mom: “I’m sorry, but you need to take them home. They’re all sick.”

Client: “But my hair…”

Stylist: “No, they’re sick and if we get sick, too, we can’t work. They have that stomach bug that’s going around and it’s really bad.”

Client: “But my husband won’t look after them. I need my hair done!”

Mom: “In Ireland, men mind children, too. If he lives here, he helps.”

(She reluctantly left. I came back to my mother bleaching everything the kids had touched or thrown up on, and thankfully none of us got sick. We were just so boggled about how anyone could take clearly sick kids out anywhere, let alone for something as silly as a hair appointment. The client even tried to get another appointment for the day after Christmas, when no salon will open…)

Time To Face The Music And Get Educated

| VA, USA | Working | August 4, 2016

(I am getting my hair cut, and the conversation turns toward my school work. I am a musician.)

Me: “Since I want to get my doctorate, I will be in school for nine or ten years once it’s all done.”

Hairdresser: “Wow, I didn’t know musicians had to be smart!”

(There was no more conversation.)

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