If I were to let you cut my hair, I would probably hate it, but I would never tell you that. Instead, I would quietly agree with you that it looked “really good” and then give you a huge tip. Then I would go home distraught and tell P that I hate it.
REMEMBER, HE WORKS FOR YOU, he’s not doing you a favour―he’s offering a service. It’s the night before my first hair appointment since lockdown began in March, and P is coaching me to speak up for myself at the salon tomorrow so that I get what I want. There is a reason why he feels the need to do this, as I have a long history of disastrous hair appointments. Yes, I know, I say, thinking I’ve made the visit fool-proof by booking online and choosing a stylist that I think will understand best what I want, but the reality is that that’s never been the way it’s ever worked out.
Once (in another time in another city), I booked an appointment way across town, took an enormous amount of time getting there, only to feel powerless about the cut, colour and highlights I had wanted immediately upon arrival at the salon. Five hours later, my hair was not even close to what I’d asked for, and to be honest, I just wanted to cry. Instead, I lied to the stylist and said that I liked it a lot, gave her a big tip that she did not deserve, went home and told P that I hated it.
This scenario is not the exception, but the rule―and I was about to repeat it again at tomorrow’s long-anticipated appointment. Here, on this page, are the inspiration images that I took to this appointment, saved to my phone, all ready to show Michael, the stylist. When I arrived, I immediately showed him said images as an indication of what I was hoping for. He nodded and appeared to understand what I wanted, only he didn’t. It would not be until three hours later, after the appointment ended that I would realise that once again, I had not gotten what I wanted. Did I mention that this salon came very highly recommended to us from an acquaintance who runs his own (high-end) barbershop?
Why didn’t I get what I want, you’re wondering? Well, the reason, of course, is years of social programming and my always feeling the need to be nice and to avoid conflict and be pleasant and polite to a fault. There’s an overpowering need to accommodate others, almost always at the expense of myself. While it’s important to be kind, being too nice can potentially lead to feelings of resentment and anger (or so I’m told). So it’s worthwhile working on how to find that balance between being nice, but also assertive. It should probably have been on my list of resolutions this year.