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View Full Version : Really respectful conversation with a stranger (hairdresser) about my hair



gossamer
March 27th, 2015, 06:35 AM
Periodically we talk about how people make weird or discomforting commentary about our hair in public. I want to share a conversation I had last night that was at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Last night I was shopping for dinner at an unfamiliar grocery store, a guy came up to me in the aisle and said, "Sorry to bother you, but I'm a hairdresser and would you mind if I asked a weird question about your hair?" (It was up in a cinnabun, nothing elaborate. But I'm getting so many comments lately now that I wear a cinnabun most of the time. Who knew it was such a great way to show off length?! :p)

I responded in the affirmative, and he asked if it was all mine. During all this, he was rooting around in his wallet and found his business card, saying that he wanted to show it to me so I knew he really was a hairdresser, not just some weirdo who corners people to talk about their hair.

We chatted about how yes, it was all mine. I asked him to guess how long it was and he just said, "really, really long." I explained that I had decided to grow to terminal but still hadn't found it yet, and he was shocked it was basically floor length.

He thanked me for answering his random question and we both moved on to finish shopping.

A minute later, he came back and said, "I'm sorry for bothering you again, I really want to be able to share this with my coworkers. They're going to be so interested in this. Can I take a picture of your updo if I don't include your face, and get your approval for it once I take it I know this must be weird."

To be fair, he's not the first person to ask to take a picture of my hair, so I agreed to that too.

He took two shots, one from the back and one from the side, neither of which included any identifying details, and each of which he showed me as soon as he took it.

He thanked me again for indulging his questions, saying that he really just loved his job and couldn't help but notice the hair on people around him during the day.

It was really flattering and not at all creepy.

Why?
His questions were specific.
He was not overly complementary.
He understood that random commentary on hair might not be welcome, and asked permission before starting the conversation.
He clearly did love his job (and also had a pretty snazzy haircut himself).
He was super respectful of my privacy when he asked to do something which could come across as weird.

Yay! Good hair conversations do happen in public!

Wildcat Diva
March 27th, 2015, 07:02 AM
Yes! I am sure that your expanse of hair, even in a bun, really stood out as amazing to anyone really looking.

lapushka
March 27th, 2015, 07:18 AM
Maybe now I'm the weird one, but I wouldn't have given permission for the pictures. His card could have been fake and he might just have been a... you know.

spidermom
March 27th, 2015, 07:22 AM
It sounds like a nice encounter to me.

gossamer
March 27th, 2015, 08:00 AM
Maybe now I'm the weird one, but I wouldn't have given permission for the pictures. His card could have been fake and he might just have been a... you know.

So even if he was a "you-know," what did he really gain by getting photos of my hair with no identifying characteristics of me in them?

I see your point, but the photos he took were way less creepy than the ones you see on many of those "you-know" sites which are taken at distance of women unaware they're being photographed, and include their faces and friends and various other details.

brickworld13
March 27th, 2015, 08:24 AM
I've had a couple of these as well. Usually women, but sometimes men too. Never had anyone ask about pictures, but I don't think I would mine too much. Some people are curious about length, natural color and texture, style, and the effort that goes into caring for long hair. I try very hard to be polite and have a decent conversation with them.

truepeacenik
March 27th, 2015, 08:31 AM
Something about being treated like a feeling human, not an early 1900s freak show exhibit turns the tide, doesn't it?

Gabriel
March 27th, 2015, 08:40 AM
That does sound like a nice encounter. I would have probably kept his card though! A hairdresser who is respectful of long hair in the wilds is like a unicorn.

neko_kawaii
March 27th, 2015, 08:56 AM
When my son was a baby I'd get regular requests when we were out and about from people to take photos of him. Apparently he was a good looking baby.

I have encountered one circumstance where a coworker politely asked that no photos be taken of her at work (we had cameras out constantly as part of the work process) and at first we all assumed it was because she comes from a culture that traditionally avoided cameras but it turned out that she didn't want her family to identify her in the context of the work she was doing for other cultural reasons (it's complicated, but quite understandable).

It sounds like the way he dealt with the situation was very polite. LOL, my son's best friend's mom is a hair dresser, and I regularly see her discussing hair and handing her business cards out, mostly because people come up to her admiring her side shave with shaved in details, so I'm not surprised he had business cards handy, seems to be an essential part of the business, even if he wasn't soliciting your business at that moment Gossamer.

Ah, the conversations I'm going to have to have with my son some day when he discoveres that he is automatically assumed to be a creep because he is male. *sigh*

Sterlyn
March 27th, 2015, 09:01 AM
It sounds like he really was excited about hair and his occupation, it probably made his day to see someone with hair at your length. :) If I saw someone IRL with hair as long as yours I would have to be careful not come across as a little stalkerish, I'd be so excited to meet a fellow long hair in person. It was nice that he was careful to show that he loved hair too (in a nice way) which would have taken some care and tact. I would have been ok with someone taking pics under those circumstances.

I once had another gal approach me in a store once about my Ead sticks, she just loved them. Of course I whipped one out of my hair to show it to her and told her how she could get some of her own, if I'd have been quicker I'd have mentioned about LHC but it didn't occur to me until after the fact. She had gorgeous hip length hair of her own. It wasn't awkward at all.

DreamSheep
March 27th, 2015, 09:32 AM
Sounds like a lovely encounter :-)!

omidaverde
March 27th, 2015, 09:43 AM
Aww this sounds awesome :) It's great to be reminded people can be interested, curious and respectful! :)

Islandgrrl
March 27th, 2015, 09:50 AM
It sounds like a great encounter, Gossamer.

There's a local hairdresser here that I run in to from time to time who always asks me to take my hair down so he can see how long it has gotten. He has never once suggested a cut.

Nadine <3
March 27th, 2015, 11:41 AM
Sounds like a lovely encounter! I would have kept his card so he could do my trims haha

Seeshami
March 27th, 2015, 12:17 PM
The hair dressers in my area are the same. Because his highness is still able to bun in less then a minute I will indulge them and take my hair down and let them touch.

I have come to terms with the fact curious people want to touch curiosities, if I want to continue to be a weirdo I just need to accept the fact it comes with being pet, questioned, pictured and some times stranger danger hugs just happen.

meteor
March 27th, 2015, 02:24 PM
Sounds really great, Gossamer! :D Yay for lovely encounter! :)


That does sound like a nice encounter. I would have probably kept his card though! A hairdresser who is respectful of long hair in the wilds is like a unicorn.
^ :agree: My thoughts exactly! :)

Sarahlabyrinth
March 27th, 2015, 03:51 PM
Oh that sounds such fun! We need more hairdressers around like that!

molljo
March 27th, 2015, 04:51 PM
I think it's great because he treated you like a person with long hair, as opposed to long hair attached to a body. Acknowledging someone's humanity, while so simple, is the big line that separates a good encounter and being treated like a freakshow/f*tish object/etc.

Vanilla
March 27th, 2015, 09:02 PM
Oh that sounds such fun! We need more hairdressers around like that!

Totally agree! He sounds very cool.

patienceneeded
March 27th, 2015, 11:41 PM
Very nice encounter! Sounds like a positive experience for both of you.

EdG
March 27th, 2015, 11:55 PM
He sounded very professional. I'm certain that he was amazed by your length. He never sees hair as long as yours among his customers.
Ed

truepeacenik
March 28th, 2015, 09:41 AM
I wonder what the line is when a standard, not all that long hair savvy stylist, thinks, I'd never get that person to cut.

I'm at the point where the stylists next door to work are genuinely curious about how I care for it, and my goals. Since we see each other in the common space quite often, short conversations happen. They know that an annual trim isn't out of possibility.
But unlikely.