Being a hairdresser, has allowed me far more than just the privilege of doing someones hair and makeup. It has allowed me to enter into my clients private lives on several occasions. In that, I have had to also be very conscious of what I share with others. There's an old saying that the hairdresser is the poor man's Psychologist because clients often open up to us even if this is their first visit. There is science behind this and many studies have been done relating to what might cause this to happen. There is a man by the name of Desmond John Morris who is a author in human sociobiology among many other things. He has written several books on human behavior but the one that has always stuck in my mind is the book called LOVE. It should be taught in school in my humble opinion because we don't all just have love in our lives and therefor we do not necessarily know how to love or understand love.
In the book LOVE I read a bit of information that explains the hairdressers connection to the client. He talked of Pandora's box and love. When we fall in love with someone we begin by gazing into someones eyes. then we might hold hands and slowly our hands begin to move closer and closer to the head. We might walk together with that special someone with our arm wrapped around that persons waist and as we become more in love, more trusting of that person the hands begin to move higher. We might be found dancing with our arms wrapped around someones neck and resting on their shoulders and then finally when we are truly and deeply in love we might be seen touching their face as we kiss their forehead or even their lips. These things take time, and in time we establish trust in that person.
The head in many cultures is considered sacred and yet when we visit a hairdresser, the very first thing we do is sit in their chair and allow them to touch our head. This has a sort of Pandora's box phenomenon over the person who is sitting in the chair. As a hairdresser it immediately gives us access to things that possibly would not be shared. I am essentially just a stranger to most people or an acquaintance at best. Clients feel free to share with me all things; their personal lives, things about their family, things about their love lives... all kinds of things. So we as beauticians need to be extremely aware that in normal circumstances, this interaction would probably not have occurred and henceforth it should be kept very private and sacred.
However, on occasion something is shared with me that is not that private. It's a family memory but it could be a conversation that we had just in passing, for instance in line at the grocery store. Yesterday I had a lovely client who spoke to me of the fact that her mother used to be a hairdresser during two of my favorite time periods to recreate and study, 1930's and 1940's. In the 1930's there was the prohibition and the illegality of alcohol, in the 1940's we had the war era. My Grandfather actually fought in the battle at Dunkirk so I have a personal interest in these eras and I am a very nostalgic person. I love listening and hearing stories of families and people.
I found her story very fun and it was a fact about the "hairdresser" during this time period that I was surprised by. I was unaware of the details pertaining to the events that took place on Saturday evenings for hairdressers. I know a lot about my job and the history of hairstylists/ beauticians and so, in finding something I did not know. I wanted to share it with you. Her mother being a hair dresser during this time was pretty extraordinary to me and this is one of the reasons why I love what I do. I get to hear all kinds of stories from all kinds of people in all walks of life. She shared this story with me because I had said to her how very cool I thought it would have been to have had the opportunity to meet her mother and listen to her stories of being a hairdresser in the 1930's and 40's. My client seeing my passion and excitement began telling me some of her mother's tales...
[thank you to Glamour Daze for this wonderful film] glamourdaze.com
Her mother started working in the salon when she was eighteen years old. To me, this in itself is astounding. She was a woman at a time when many women did not have careers, so this fact alone is always remarkable to me. She continued working as a stylist until she was unable due to illness. My client continued to share her story and told me that during this time it was a big deal to go to the movies on Saturday nights, which I know to be true from historical articles I have read. Movies were just starting to really become popular and now the "Talkies" were a brand new experience, making this night out even more spectacular. This is the part that was news to me... After the movie, the women would then go to the Beauty Parlour to get their hair done. This was common practice, to have ones hair washed and styled and would soon to become a weekly appointment in the 1950's but I did not know it took place in the evening. The fact that going to the beauty parlour took place directly after the movies let out was news to me. She continued, saying that her mother would work until midnight or later getting all the ladies through from the "after movie rush"! So not only was her mother working in a career during a time when this was not common, her mother was maybe twenty years old at the time but she was also working past midnight.... WOW!
I have been asked why I chose to become a hairstylist and THIS is one of the most wonderful parts of my job! Yesterday for me was one of those hairdresser moments that I just think is extraordinary. I love my job. Thank you to my clients who share these stories with me. I love hearing and sharing little tidbits of life through someone else's experiences. Know that I will always keep your stories to myself unless we have had a conversation to say that I may share. If however it is something you and I might have discussed, just in passing, in a grocery store lineup for instance, I hope you will not mind me sharing these stories with my readers as I am sure they will love them as much as I do.