My Real Life

January 6, 2014

The Men’s Side

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

My Grandma was both a librarian and a beautician.

When my Dad was growing up, her shop was in her front room, but by the time I came along, she had her shop in the basement.

When I would spend my summers with them in Ohio, I would sit on the stairs for hours and listen to my Grandma and her customers, who were neighbors, relatives and friends, chat away the afternoon.

I have continued that pattern into adulthood.

When I head out to get my hair done, I sit in the chair and I listen.

I don’t talk, which often baffles the hairdressers for the first five minutes, but then they realize that I invented the comfortable silence and have even thanked me for not forcing them to engage in small talk.

Let’s be honest…my job is talk, talk, talk, and when I am home, I have four children who want to discuss everything with me.

When I get my hair done, I just want to sit and not talk.

And, I don’t need to.

At the salon, there are plenty of other people talking.

Women go to the salon and share their life stories with their hairdressers.

I have heard stories that would make you cry, curl your toes and make you stick your fingers in your ears while you scream “TMI! TMI!”

But, last week, when I went to the salon, because I don’t have my own, special hairdresser that I see every time I go, they assigned me to the new girl, and the new girl’s chair was on the “Men’s Side” of the salon.

It was uncharted territory, for me.

Instead of taking me left, down the long hall of gossip, Joanna took me right, and into the hall of silence.

I mean, serious silence.

This. Was. Going. To. Be. Awesome.

I love peace and quiet.

I was thrilled at the prospect of just sitting and being and enjoying listening to the buzz of the razors, the clip of the scissors, the swish of the broom.

The men in the chairs sat there, staring at their reflections, while the women and men who were attending to their hair snipped and cut in an efficient cone of silence.

I sat down, Joanna asked how much I wanted taken off, I answered, and she started to work.

She leaned me back in the chair and began to scrub my scalp and I realized that, without the constant gossip of my neighbors, I was truly left with my own thoughts.

“How’s my skin?  Are there boogers in my nose?  Is my breath bad?  Does she see all the silver strands in there?  Did I remember to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer?  Can I wait another day before I do some school work or do I need to start when I get home?  Is Lori pregnant with Shane’s baby on Walking Dead?”

So many thoughts that have long been drowned out by the chatter of others at the salon.

Adding to my mental imprisonment was the fact that I was visually imprisoned, as well, because when you get your hair done, you take your glasses off.

Without my glasses, I am legally blind.

So, not only was I not hearing anything, but I couldn’t look at anything, either.

Well, I mean, I could, but I wasn’t going to be able to make any sense of anything my eyes “saw.”

So, I sat and thought and worried and made lists and lived inside my head.

And then, suddenly, I heard it…a woman walking down the aisle, already oversharing a story about her Grandmother falling and breaking her leg on Christmas Day and how the whole family had to change their plans to come home to see her in the hospital and how she and her boyfriend/fiance/husband didn’t get to eat anything all day, so they made sure that someone gave them a whole tray of lasagna to take home with them and they were happy because, seriously, everyone should get to eat a lot on Christmas, and how she was so upset that she had to change her hair appointment so that she could go be at the hospital for her Grandma’s surgery, but that she was happy to be able to be able to fit in before New Year’s Eve because she didn’t want to have to have dark roots at her New Year’s Eve party because she had a friend that would probably have something to say if her roots were dark and…

You get the picture.

And as she spoke, I could feel myself relax, feel my mind begin to empty, my hands begin to unclench…to-do list forgotten, worries gone, self-concern out the window.

Because, as much as I thought I’d like being in the silence of the “Men’s Side,” it turns out that the comfort of the salon, for me, is the chatter of the women who remind me of the days of my childhood, sitting on the basement stairs at my Grandma’s house.




  1. I am exactly like you I love to sit and listen to all the chatter rather than be the one doing it. I started to have anxiety with you when you started listing all the things you started to think about without all the background noise. I’m glad you were able to get to relax and I love that in brings back such great memories of you Grandmother.

    Comment by Jennifer@Outsmarted Mommy — January 7, 2014 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

    • 🙂 Thanks, Jennifer! Anxiety is a perfect word for it!

      Comment by Amy — January 7, 2014 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at

%d bloggers like this: