Monday, October 08, 2007

You Talk Too Much

Here's a question for you: when you go to a salon, do you like to talk to your stylist/nail technician, colorist, etc.? And...what does "salon etiquette" have to say about this?

I went for a pedicure on Friday and am now sporting very cute OPI Russian Navy toes. Since it was the end of a stressful work day, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to my nail tech. So I just sat there, nose in an Oprah magazine, barely saying a word. Was that rude? It didn't feel rude, but at the same time, the silence was obvious. As I sat there, I thought "wow--I'm an uppity bitch," but I still didn't break my silence or look up from Oprah to engage in mindless (and mind numbing) chit-chat.

My sister went to get a haircut yesterday with a new stylist, and when I asked her how everything went, my sister said, "the girl was very chatty." She further explained that the stylist asked lots of questions like "are you married?" "what does your husband do?" "do you have kids?" "are you going to have more kids?" and so on.

While these may seem like harmless, surface-y topics, they're not. My sister has a long-term significant other who would be her spouse if she were legally allowed to get married, but my sister will never have a husband. Though my sister has one child, she and her partner recently made the heart wrenching decision not to try to have more kids due to fertility issues. Now, should she have to divulge all this to a stranger she's pay $50 to cut her hair? I think not. And I know I'm tired of having to explain myself whenever anyone asks me why my husband and I don't want to have children. It's a personal decision that I have come to terms with--it's not one I like to discuss idly while getting my hair done.

There are some people I don't mind talking to. My former hairdresser (who I liked as a person but not as a stylist) and I would talk about books, movies, her tattoo, school, all sorts of safe but socially acceptable subjects. My current stylist likes to talk to me AND everyone in the entire room--that's fine. It makes the whole thing more fun, and we never get into real personal stories or lines of questioning.

Sometimes silence can be awkward. Once I was in the middle of a brow wax when I realized my waxer girl and I hadn't said more than a handful of words to each other. The room seemed heavy with the anticipation of sound--it was almost unbearable. Even more unnerving was the fact that she was very aggressive with the waxing and tweezing and my mid-wax realization that we had not discussed what I wanted from my waxing. I sat paralyzed, worrying I wouldn't have any brows left when she was done (thankfully, she did a pretty good job despite the lack of communication).

So...what do you prefer? Talking or silence? What's the right way to visit a salon?


DDM said...

For me, it really depends on the kind of day I'm having. I used to be a spray tan technician, and I would chat with people as I got them prepped for their session to try to help them be more comfortable. But once I got started, I followed their cues. If they asked me questions or chatted, I'd chat back. If they were stoic and quiet, I'd oblige them with my own (friendly) silence. I think it's great if as a client, whoever is performing a treatment on me, picks up on my mood that day. :-)

lisa said...

I prefer not to chat. It's one of the reasons I try not to get my haircut by the same person too often- once they think of you as a regular, they never seem to stop talking! Closing my eyes seems to get the message across. (Of course, my father CLAIMS he dislikes the chatting and therefore closes his eyes, but he can't get a haircut without a life story. Maybe I just seem antisocial.)

finding the filth said...

i'm a non-chatter. beyond a few pleasentries i don't have much to say. even with my stylist, who ive been seeing for at least ten years. we catch up briefly and then it's on to business. i think it freaked him out the first few times i went to him, cause he's so used to non-stop gabbing from his other clients. but now i think he enjoys the peace as much as i do. it's just such a relaxing experience that i dont want to ruin it by yapping about my problems. i'd much rather grab a few minutes of serenty, relish the rare moment of pampering and let the professionals do their best.

Sugarshock said...

I hate to admit it, but there's one particular stylist I go to simply because she's a veritable mute. (It also helps that she's super-efficient and does a mean haircut too.) I've been to other stylists where it feels like I'm being interrogated with questions and after a long day at work, sometimes I just want peace and calm...