We have all been asked to wrestle with a false dilemma: being kind to ourselves or being kind to others. In truth, though, being kind to ourselves is a prerequisite to being kind to others.
– Mark Nepo, “The Book of Awakening”
This blog was originally written for a female audience. But the more I thought about it, the more curious I became to hear the male perspective. Do guys have to deal with this…dilemma?
At the risk of sounding like a spoiled brat who has nothing better to do than gripe about silly matters when the world continues to be turned upside down by one serious issue after another, I do have an observation I would like to share.
Full disclosure (literally): this article deals with personal grooming subject matters and may not be suitable for all audiences. If you have zero interest in reading further, feel free to exit.
I wish I could’ve.
Exit the situation, that is…the one I found myself in recently. AGAIN.
But you see, therein lies the problem: I couldn’t leave the situation. That’s the point of this rant…the driving question I have for readers:
Is it rude to tell the person who is, um, providing one with a rather personal service to please be quiet and focus on the task at hand, so one can get the heck outta there and move on with one’s day?
At the risk of sharing TMI, I was having a bikini wax the other day and the esthetician WOULD NOT STOP TALKING. Yes, okay, I admit she had her…work cut out for her (!) but I don’t think the (unpleasant at the best of times) procedure had to take an HOUR.
She seemed far more interested in telling me her latest news—than in getting the damn deed done in a timely manner.
And then we moved on to the pedicure.
I kid you not, three and a half hours later, I slithered out of her home studio, down the steps and into my car. I drove home, made a soothing cup of tea and stared out the window at what remained of the day—which wasn’t much.
I was beyond exhausted from our encounter.
Yes, it was an interesting conversation. She is a kind, caring and fascinating person. But I am going to be very catty and do a quick post-game analysis of the ratio of when SHE spoke and I listened (very intently, I might add…hence the exhaustion) and when I spoke and she listened.
And the ratio, I would say, was this: she spoke 85% of the time and I spoke 15% of the time (if that).
Now, if this was a one-off incident, I would chalk it up to a weird day. But it isn’t. This has happened again and again—not just with this particular esthetician but also with other personal service providers, including multiple hairdressers.
Many times, I have felt more like a captive than a client. Yes, I am a good listener…and I care (sometimes). But I am also a paying customer who does have a schedule.
Okay, not really.
BUT I would much rather be spending my precious time walking on the beach, or writing, or saving the planet, or reading a good book versus being stuck in a chair, listening to someone drone on…drawing out what could be (should be) a fairly quick appointment into a half-day ordeal.
Which leads me to my next catty rant…
Why does it take a hairdresser three hours to cut & colour my hair…and I still end up leaving the salon looking like a wet rat—BECAUSE THEY DON’T HAVE TIME TO BLOWDRY IT, let alone style it?
Again, if this just happened once or twice, I would not be wasting your precious time by subjecting you to this blog. But it has happened over and over again. For some strange reason, most hairdressers nowadays vehemently refuse to use a skull cap on my head for highlighting.
Despite my wishes and explanations (“I have REALLY thick hair!” I say upon arrival), they insist on using foils. So then, by the two-and-half-hour mark, when they are still ripping off MORE pieces of tinfoil (I hate the waste!) and remark, “Gee, you have really thick hair…I can’t believe I need more foil!” I am just ready to cry.
I want to leap up from the chair and scream, “I TOLD YOU THAT TWO AND A HALF HOURS AGO!” and then run out the door.
Alas, I cannot. Not because I don’t want to be rude…but rather because a) my head is covered in tin foil and b) I do not have any energy left. I have been sucked dry by listening to their incessant chatter.
Now, my beloved hairdresser in Calgary could cut, colour, blow-dry & style my hair (AND give me a bikini wax!) in two hours. And we always had a good conversation, too. So I KNOW it can be done!
Likewise with my sweet esthetician in Victoria who always gave me the perfect pedi…in precisely one hour.
I shall end my ridiculous rant here. However…
Have YOU ever felt more like a captive than a client during personal services treatments?
Do barbers blab on and on?
I look forward to hearing the male perspective…and perhaps any suggestions you might have, as to how best to move forward with future personal service providers.
These are the suggestions I have received so far:
#1. Tell the service provider ahead of time that you have to leave at a certain time. (I have— sometimes this works & sometimes they forget)
#2. Tell the service provider you are not much of a talker.
#3. Tell the service provider you would prefer to just be quiet and enjoy (as much as possible) this bit of downtime.
#4. Look at your phone while receiving the treatment.
#5. Read a book while receiving the treatment.
#6. Cut & colour your own damn hair and paint your own damn toes.
Previously Published on pinkgazelle.com