Some of you may know, I’m a hairdresser. My mom says, “Hairdressers are never happy getting their own haircut.” I like to think I’m not difficult but maybe I am. I don’t know anyone here to cut my hair so I take my chances and pop in somewhere. Today I got a cute, young girl and I told her right away if I can’t see her face, I can’t hear her. I proceed to tell her what I wanted, which I think I’m pretty good at.
“Eventually, I’m growing it out to long layers but for now, cut the length up in the back to the hairline to help it match the sides. Trim off what you think needs to go in the layers, I want it to feel healthy again.” Nice and simple I thought. There was a blank look on her face. Uh-oh.
“You mean like a bob,” she asks.
“No not really. That’s not what I’m shooting for in the end.” Then I looked at her still looking at me and tried to think her way. “Yes, I guess like a bob on the ends.”
She nods okay and starts talking from behind the chair and I remind her again I can’t hear her. She stays quiet about two minutes and wants to show me the back. As I hold the mirror, her face is hidden behind it and she begins to talk again. I lower the mirror.
“I can’t hear you and look at the back of my head at the same time.”
She repeats without the mirror blocking her and I tell her it’s okay to cut off half an inch and even more if needed. Two more times during the haircut, she wants me to look at the back of my head again. The third time I take the mirror out of her hand and lay it on the counter top.
“I don’t need to see the back of my head again, just tell me what you are thinking, please.” Now I’m know I’m being difficult and it’s not because I’m a hairdresser (which I never reveal to her). It’s because we have a communication problem and it’s not just my hearing.
She tells me what I want doesn’t match what she “envisions.” Great. Now I’m going to get her haircut instead of mine. Some hairdressers are terrible about this. (I made a promise to myself as a teenager I would never do this to anybody as a hairdresser because I had it happen way too often back then.)
Trying hard not to be difficult and picky, I figure let her cut her way and then if I don’t like it I will make her do it my way. When the haircut is almost done, she admits my way works all right. Sigh of relief. I can work with bad haircuts, it will grow and I have good hair making it easier.
She kept quiet the rest of the haircut and in the end I’m happy with it but I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get off the communication merry-go-round. I tipped her well because our communication gaps weren’t easy and my hair felt much better. She told me she made notes on her little computer for next time I come in to get a haircut. I wonder if she put, Client is deaf?
This reminds me that hearing loss is not the only communication problem out there. Sometimes hearing people have a listening and retention problem. There are also communication difficulties through the ol’ generation gap too. What do they teach these kids in beauty school these days? Or am I just getting old?