Going to the salon is about more than just getting your nails and hair done. It's paying for an hour to spend with a stranger who asks you about YOU. They know you, and your life story, if you go often enough. And sometimes, you feel like they really care.
And so, on Tuesday, after getting the news that my regular stylist had quit, I found myself in the black leather spinning chair in front of a stranger. Cape tied around my neck, hair parted in the middle and dripping wet, I stared at my blind date--the one wielding the scissors--and tried to read her. She was young, a few years younger than me, a long, thick braid down her back. We started with banal, meaningless conversation, but quickly diverted into serious life-talk. We have similar life situations. I've been with K for 4 years now, she's been with her boyfriend for 3. Both of us want to get married. Both of us want kids, (she has a 14 month old, but advised me to wait until we were really, REALLY ready. Which I took very seriously, since the girl clearly knows what she's talking about.) I opened up about my third-life crisis, and found myself pouring my heart out to the stranger cutting my hair. It felt like a real connection. And when I left, I found myself as excited to make this new friend as I would have been in my dating days to meet a new boyfriend. We were kindred spirits, she and I.
On Thursday, I got my nails done (I'm not usually this diligent about my salon visits, but we're heading to a wedding next weekend). And though I had met this girl before, my visit felt different. Again, we started with nonsense conversation, and gradually diverged into life stories, her painful divorce, dealing with being far from parents, and having to call your partner "boyfriend" at 44 and 29, respectively, though it feels like an inadequate term. We sat talking long after my session ended (I was her last client of the day). When I finally got up to leave, I felt such a high from an honest human connection that I could have cried.
There is just something to be said about being able to sit across from someone and talk about your life in an open, honest way. It makes you feel like everything in your life is meant to be, and that you're not alone, no matter what it is you're going through. I guess I've just been in dire need to spill my heart out to someone, and though I was paying these two ladies for services, I came away feeling like I had attended a therapy session.
Going to the salon is about more than beauty treatments. It's about human connection. And sometimes, when you're feeling sad or lonely, just having someone pay attention to you can mean the world. It's all starting to piece back together for me, bit by bit. I can feel myself coming back to life.