I really like my hairdresser. I’ve been going to the same person now for over 15 years and I can say with confidence that I have never had a bad haircut from her. Or highlights, because I do that too. I know quite a bit about her, well if you consider the fact that she has twins and likes to travel to Mexico, “quite a bit”. And I thought she knew quite a bit about me too. Because one of the things that happens when you go to the hairdresser is that you chat a lot. After all, what else are you going to do when you find yourself sitting in a chair for two hours (yes, that’s how long it takes to get highlights in this hair) with the same person standing behind you the entire time. So you talk. About all kinds of things. You talk about your kids, and your holidays, and your Mother, and what you ate for dinner, in a pinch the economy and, because you’re Canadian, the weather. And you would think that for a shallow person this is just about as good as it gets. And it was until I realized that my hairdresser doesn’t really remember anything that we talk about. Which, since I have started thinking about this, has come to make a lot of sense to me and I’m ok with it.
Here’s the thing. I only have one hairdresser who I see approximately every seven to eight weeks. During our time together she tells me stuff and, if you recall from one of my earliest posts, my memory is really not all that bad so it’s not hard for me to remember that her kids have just started high school (I can hardly believe they got so big so fast) and that she takes a yearly vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta or some facsimile and the details here don’t matter much because from what I know about “all-inclusives” it really makes no difference where they are since all you’re going to end up talking about is how much people ate and drank while they were there. Conversely, my hairdresser, depending on the day, sees between eight and ten people which means that in any given week she has 40 or 50 souls sitting in her chair, talking to her about their kids, holidays, Mothers, husbands, Mothers-in-law and who knows what else. And if we say that on average, each of those people have their hair done once every six weeks, it means that in the interval between each appointment my hairdresser may have seen somewhere in the vicinity of 240 people. And she has no choice but to listen and pretend that she has a modicum of interest in what each one is saying beyond how many inches of hair should be trimmed and whether you’re sporting ash or strawberry blonde highlights.
Now I don’t want to be presumptuous here but I’m guessing that only a fraction of these people see my hairdresser outside of getting their hair done and since few would be included on her “friends” list, she has no real obligation to even attempt to recall the stories we relate to her from one visit to the next. I mean to do so would be almost superhuman and beyond all reasonable expectations. Come on now, who would really expect their hairdresser to juggle the massive amounts of data she receives simply because she has chosen an occupation whose residual effect is to have people talk to you incessantly about things you don’t care about? The answer, to what you may have thought was a rhetorical question, is no one. Not one person would expect this of another human being.
So having thought about my conversations with my hairdresser for the past two weeks (I know you noticed that I didn’t post last week and that’s because I was still thinking) I am ok with the fact that when I mention my Brother’s impending nuptials (and that’s happened more than once I’m afraid) she gazes at me rather inquisitively with that “oh, you have a brother?” look in her eyes. Which has led me to two conclusions. The first is that I no longer have to think up new stories to tell my hairdresser because she doesn’t remember them anyway and a couple of really good ones in rotation will suffice. The other is that I think I should have been a hairdresser.
Happy Chanukah and remember that extra blessing as you light the first candle this evening.