Thursday, November 29, 2007

Things I learned in the barber's chair

I love my barber (hair stylist?) Carmen at Rudy's in the Pearl. If she were taller, single and a Christian, I would marry her. Alas, she is none of those things, though I guess I could be wrong on the Christian bit. Haven't quite broached that conversation whilst in the barber shop.

Regardless, she's my favorite barber ever. I told her this two days ago. My supporting evidence was as follows:

• When I ask her what I should do with my hair, she gives me a legit answer. It's not "well, what do you usually do?" or a conservative response. She takes ownership of her opinion.

• To my knowledge, she's the only barber in Portland who takes a straight edge to the back of your neck. Guys LOVE this in a haircut.

• She doesn't force me to talk. The whole patterned so what's your name/what do you do/where are you from bit drives me nuts. For years I've dreaded the barber shop based on the likelihood of this conversation template. Thing is, since Carmen doesn't do the small talk thing, I'm much more likely to engage in genuine conversation. Funny how that works.

Lastly -- and this is the point of this post -- she trims my eyebrows. Why is that such a big deal? For a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I would never think to do it myself. I guess I would have replied "yes" had you asked "Mike, do you think you have bushier eyebrows than the average bear?" but I would never have considered it on my own accord. Carmen noticed that about me and suggested a change. This makes me think of all the times
in life where someone so clearly needs something, but we just let it go because "they'll figure it out themself." People have probably been saying that about me and my eyebrows for 29 years. whose life have you noticed a need for change, but haven't vocalized a suggestion? Who needs help but might be too afraid (or proud) to ask for it? Whose eyebrows can you trim today?

(Metaphorically speaking, of course)


annie skroski said...

As someone who struggles with the approval idol, this is a hard one. Especially when the change someone needs they aren't exactly receptive to. But, I believe Rick talked about this during the 1000 conversations sermon, finding the balance between speaking truth into someone's life without passing judgement. What really hit me was that it's really not passing judgement when it's obvious biblical truth and it's really un-loving to watch someone fumble along either in ignorance, denial, or too wrapped up in whatever to get out.

Incidently, I suggested for years that my sister get her eyebrows trimmed (or waxed, plucked, whatever) and she stubbornly refused until her husband advised the same thing. Maybe people's receptiveness depends on the relationship, because I clearly had no weight there.

Jeannie said...

I always tell people when they have weird things on their face even if I don't know them... Does that count?..