So, I got my hair cut the other month. Does any one else dread the obligatory haircut conversation?
“So, where’d you go to hair school?”
“Are you from around here?”
“Where’d you go to high school?”
“Snow Canyon. I graduated in 2005.”
“Huh. I don’t know anyone your age.”
(more awkward silence)
As my hairdresser applied goop and foil to my tresses, we discovered that we have a mutual acquaintance who is an in-law of mine, who shall remain nameless.
Always thrilled to have something to talk about besides hair, I said, “Yeah…I’m married to her [handsome male relative]. Small world!”
After more awkward conversation about this tiny thread of a connection between us there was an awkward pause and the hairdresser said, “So, wasn’t your husband’s dad kind of a…creep?”
In defense of the hairdresser, I could tell she didn’t want to say it--that my father-in-law was a creep. But apparently they don’t teach vocabulary in hair school. It was the only word her hairdresser brain had access to.
I was taken off guard by this perfect stranger’s one-word assessment of my father-in-law. I’ve never met my father-in-law; he passed away when my husband was eleven years old. He had weaknesses and flaws like most mortals I’ve met. My husband loves his father despite his faults--which is a key component of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I think. (I’d like for everyone to love me, despite my glaring flaws. And I love my father-in-law, too, despite the fact that I’ve never met him. I like to think that he thinks I’m awesome.) Everyone has imperfections, some are just more obvious than others. One thing I’m sure of, though, is that the Atonement covers everyone. Even people who are tactless.
I gave the hairdresser a condensed version of the previous paragraph and told her that I was completely surprised that our mutual acquaintance felt that way about my father-in-law. She sort of apologized and changed the subject to something that was more in her depth--pomade? I don’t remember. The point is, I learned a valuable lesson that day. Here’s the epiphany I had when my head was covered in foil and I looked like a doofus:
Awkward silence is the fertile ground in which crappy gossip seeds thrive.
Put that on your wall in vinyl, ladies.
(I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of this; in fact, I’m probably the worst offender. It was just a realization I had. Something to chew on. Something I’m going to work on. I'll be back to my usual buffoonery tomorrow.)