Respectfully Yours: Salon gossip
I have been going to a new hair salon for a little over a year now. I am happy with my hairstyle, but I feel uncomfortable every time I go because of all the gossip that goes on. Going to the salon is one of the few luxuries I do for myself and I would like this time to be a little more relaxing. It also makes me wonder what is said about me after I leave. Is there anything I can do, or should I find another salon?
This is one of those situations that whirls us back to the atmosphere and environment of high school. The peer pressure is of participating in the gossip to feel included or duck and cover.
There are no official salon etiquette rules, but when gossip and socializing take priority over hair and your peace of mind it may be a sign that it’s time to break up with your hairdresser.
Because you are taking the relaxing high road and do not want to be bothered with the latest gossip, you have three options. Stay and deal with it, inform the manager, or find a new salon.
Staying and dealing with the situation is intruding on your inner peace, so that’s off the table unless you feel like wearing earbuds.
Informing the manager will probably only result in some bad hair days in the future.
The salon banter that’s making you uncomfortable could be a sign it’s time to find a new stylist.
For some people, hair salon small talk is a pleasant way to pass the time, but for others the potential awkwardness makes their regular hair appointment as dreaded as a trip to the dentist office.
Salon chairs, like therapists’ couches and the barstool, inspire people to open up about their personal lives. People don’t gossip at their dentist or doctor about their relationships. It would seem haircuts create a false sense of intimacy.
At a good salon, the professional stylists are able to understand their clients’ body language and respect their personal space. Ask your friends and family about the salons they go to. Or better yet, ask that lady whose hair you admire where she goes.
This will require some homework but is well worth it. The goal is a good experience at the salon and a quiet change of salons with little fanfare.
There are professional hairstylists who don’t realize how their actions and words affect a client’s perception of the salon. You deserve the courtesy and peace to enjoy the experience. After all you’re paying them. They aren’t paying you.
Have a question? Email: email@example.com. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.
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