A hairstylist and a therapist in one, and women’s lib

Although I had a 5:30 cut and color appointment with my colorful and vibrant hairstylist today, I was delayed by over half an hour because the person she was working on before me was going through a very long and nasty divorce… and we all had to hear about it, everyone within a 15-20 foot radius of my hairstylist’s chair. They were married over 24 years, no children. She said she was in her mid-50s, in a lucrative career where she’d soon have to be paying her husband alimony payments as a result of her higher salary.

“He’s set to inherit over $5 million when his mom dies… granted, it probably won’t be for another 10 or so years, but he will be set!” this soon-to-be-divorced woman exclaimed loudly. “Yet I, because I earn more money than he does, I have to pay him alimony! That women’s lib… it’s a bunch of bullshit! Women thought they were going to be better off, to work and be men’s ‘equals.’ Well, here you go: you want equality? Then you have to pay your ex-husband alimony if you make more money! Is that what you want?” 

She was going off, saying that it would have been better to just be a stay-at-home wife, with basically no job opportunities. Because this way, if she went on this route, she’d be getting payments from her husband today.

I had so many things I could have said to her, but I decided that I wanted her out of there ASAP because she was already delaying me over half an hour, and I did not want her delaying me even further. Did she really think she’d have this lucrative career if the women’s liberation movement never happened?! 

She eventually left. My hairstylist looked at me apologetically. “I’m so sorry,” she said to me as she hugged me. “What can I do? She needs someone to listen to her who is unbiased… I can’t just kick her out.

“You’re basically a therapist and a hairstylist in one,” I said to her, smiling. “Except… maybe you should be charging therapist rates on top of your cut and color rates?”

It had never occurred to me to ever vent or rant about life’s frustrations to my hairstylist, or really anyone who did a service for me, whether it was a haircut, a massage, a mani/pedi, or anything. When I used to see a Japanese stylist for my haircuts in the East Village, they were practically expressionless mutes who never said anything to me other than asking what I wanted, if I would like more green tea, or if I wanted a blowout. With my current hairstylist, we just talk about random things like work, travel, our families, and most recently, our cultures and upbringings. But ranting? It seems too much to ask of a hairstylist. Don’t they have enough of their own problems that they shouldn’t be made to listen to ours?

At least I saw this divorcee give my stylist a fat tip. It’s the least she could have done for all her venting and free therapy.


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