what is it about the dentist and the hairdresser?
I got my haircut, finally. It had been a year. I don’t think I’d ever gone so long. I never get it cut as often as they recommend, but I usually sneak one in every 3 months or so- when my hair starts looking really ratty and I feel like I need a deep clean, I break down and make an appointment. Last time I went was not too long after Mabel died. I had a friend’s wedding coming up and I was part of the bridal party, so I felt like I needed a little cleaning up. I had lost all the baby weight yet, and the one thing I felt I could control was my hair. I went to the local salon- one I had been to only once or twice because I had recently moved to the town and the hairdresser started up her chatty conversation, as most hairdresser do. I’ve never liked the small talk at the salon- it feels so forced. Maybe because I make small talk all day long with patients, I have little tolerance for it outside of work. That visit at the salon turned painful when the hairdresser asked- “I can’t remember, do you have kids?”
I was still trying out responses to that question and the one I chose “none living,” did not feel good. Only led to more awkwardness. I haven’t been back since. I guess I just didn’t feel up to facing her or the question again.
One day last week, I was brushing my hair and my brush snapped in half. It was time, I decided. So finally after a year of throwing my hair in a ponytail daily, I found a salon even closer to my house. When I was greeted by the new stylist I was excited to see she was young- to some that may mean inexperienced, but I’m not that picky and really quite lazy with my hair, so for me it was fine. More importantly I just had a sense that I might not get the jibber jabber I would have in the other salon. once I sat down and we discussed what to do, I pulled out my phone to search the internet as she cut away.
It was great! No small talk, got a good cut. Everyone was happy.
Going to the hair dresser I’ve learned is monumental after babyloss- I know both Wrapped up in Parenthesis and In All Things Rejoice have both written about their experiences and what it means emotionally. The other parallel I’ve seen is experiences with the dentist. Nasrene at Anchors for Reece recently wrote about her latest trip and what it means to do so after babyloss. I was reminded about my first trip to the dentist after Mabel died- and I have another appointment coming up.
I think the thing about hairdressers and dentists is that they both mark the passing of time. Something scheduled every year that usually involves a fair amount of small talk. Under most circumstances such chatter would be welcome and pleasant even. But for us, it can be a reminder of what should have been. That there should be a baby in a carrier at the base of the stool in the dentist chair. That we should be chatting easily about sleepless nights and kid stuff with the stylist. But instead, we sit in those chairs, a captive audience, unable to run away or avoid friendly, well meaning questions that can stab us.
Do you have any experiences like that at the dentist or hairdresser? Any other places you’d throw into the same category?