Monday, January 21, 2008

i don't look like it, but i'm totally listening

My mother, like many mothers, raised me not to listen in on other people's conversations. As a child, if I deemed it appropriate to comment upon her private chats, let alone (!) insert myself in medias res, I was practically begging to be grounded from my books (I was a nerd then too). But what about when people are just begging you to hear the juicy bits?

Planning to move back into my sorority house, I scheduled an early haircut (same cut in the city costs twice as much, that's not the sort of household economy I'd like to touch). When I arrived about five minutes late, around nine, the ladies were still readying themselves for the day, procuring breakfast from the sandwich shop next door, unpacking cases full of equipment, and generally yawning their way into a busy Sunday. In fact, I almost felt intrusive, as though I had entered a domestic scene.

After a decent wash (the shampoo girl seems afraid to scrub, perhaps scrubbing is bad for the scalp or hair?), I sat in my usual stylist's chair. And then she and the other ladies proceeded to gossip intently for the forty minutes my cut and blow dry lasted. None of the gossip was offensive, but it was very personal and included a vague description of a client and discussion of her skin infection. In the end, although I thought the woman in question was a bit rude based on the events described in the chatter (she had apparently waited until after a vigorous shampooing to alert the stylists about the infection), I wondered about how I might feel if I had committed a social blunder. True, I would never, ever commit this particular etiquette/beauty sin, but, still. These ladies had viper tongues, and I definitely wouldn't want them to be pointed in my direction.

Is it ever okay for a stylist to gossip about one client in front of or with another client? I'm going with no, even if salacious salon gossip is a tradition. Some traditions (kissing strangers under mistletoe?) ought to be taken out of rotation.

The cut is really cute, although it's the shortest I've ever had.

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