Last week I went to a new (to me) stylist to get my hair trimmed. It caught me by surprise when she came out from the back with a few tattoos on one arm and a sleeve on the other. The salon was in an area in the county I live in that is pretty snobby and would likely not react kindly to visible tattoos. I didn’t know how to ask her a question about it though without sounding like I was myself judging her.
Eventually we started talking about where we both grew up, and how they were both “live and let live” communities – her New York, me Southern California. That led naturally into a discussion about her artwork. She said that she hardly gets a rude comment but that the snowbirds are the just about the only people who have a problem with them.
She started to laugh and when I asked her why she mentioned that usually people just really don’t know what to say to her when they first meet her. One day she walked up to the front of the salon to meet a new client and the woman looked at her arms and exclaimed, “Are those real?!” Apparently the stylist responded that she actually drew them with Sharpies every day. The client didn’t laugh but the front desk assistants barely held it together.
My new stylist didn’t see me until after I had the cape on so she didn’t see my pump and I didn’t mention my diabetes. I wonder if she would have asked a silly question of her own if she would have known.
Next time I get frustrated dealing with another question or another well-meaning bit of advice from a stranger or friend, I will try to remember that for some people, their topic of conversation is a bit more visible.