The Dangers of Non-Confrontationalism
I recently chopped all of my hair off (after the photo below). It’s short. I don’t have a problem with short hair. Actually, I have always had short hair. The problem? I didn’t ask for short hair. What I asked for was to keep the asymmetrical cut I had before…just trim it up, chop it up and leave the bangs the fuck alone.
I also got it dyed 2-3 shades darker because my shit was grey, yo. You can see it in the photo…on the right…go ahead, go look. I’m 23 and I will not have grey hair.
I went to a pretty rad salon. It has a bar and a DJ and events and all of the things an awesome salon should have, including stylists with bitchin’ personal style. She put the color-bib on me…you know, the kind that buttons down the front and has a V-neck? Only…no towel on my neck area. She was aggressively slapping color on my strands and getting it all over my clothing. I didn’t even say anything until she saw a splash of it on my phone and said, “Oh damn…did I do that?” I motioned to the flecks of permanent color on my only remaining good pair of jeans and my neck. She dismissively said, “Sorry” and kept brushing color on in a way that reminded me of when I used to put a second coat of finish on a piece of furniture…It didn’t have to be as even…it was in the garage on a tarp…it was fair to slop that finish on. It wasn’t fair to slop almost-black permanent color all over my outfit and phone.
I didn’t say anything. I have this distracting fear of speaking up to people who “serve” me. Servers in restaurants, hairstylists, manicurists, caricature artists, eyebrow waxers, massage therapists, maids and lawn technicians are all safe from the painful statement, “I think you’ve made a terrible mistake.”
Because of this severe affliction of Weak-Assedness that I suffer from, I have had uneven, awfully shaped eyebrows, jaggedy nails after a manicure, the wrong meal altogether in restaurants and, most often, terrible, bizarrely uneven haircuts. This is why I only trust Isaiah’s mom – who runs a bitchin’ salon in Aurora - to cut my hair. I only see her twice a year. I would rather wait SIX months between haircuts than have anyone in Texas cut my hair.
This girl did a great job, for the most part. The cut is great, the style is edgy and it’s almost the first good cut I’ve had since being in Texas. Except it’s not what I asked for (plus it came with a side of need-to-buy-a-new-pair-of-jeans). So rather than pitch a fit in the salon about my ruined jeans and the style I didn’t ask for, I paid for my cut, tipped her 20% and held back the one, single tear I always cry after an awful cut that I paid full price + 20% for.
When I told friends about it, they said, “You’re so nice.” But it’s not nice, is it? Is it nice not to say anything, pay for it and then complain about it for a month while it grows out? Not really.
It’s weak and shitty and I do it for every service-related bad experience.
Every time I leave a distressingly confrontational situation of any kind, I always think of what I should have said. Someone gives me a needlessly hard time about smoking without knowing me at all and I come up with about 73 comebacks three minutes after they leave. But while they’re there…still staring at me…waiting for my reaction to their criticism or shitty job on my hair, nails or eyebrows, I have nothing to say. I don’t want to be mean. I hate rudeness. I hate the idea of criticizing someone’s creative work like art or cutting hair.
But how many bad haircuts do I have to deal with before I figure out how to deal with confrontation? How many times do I have to hear someone fake-coughing while I enjoy a cigarette 15 feet away from them? Why do they get to make me feel uncomfortable because I’m terrified to make them feel uncomfortable?
How do you deal with confrontation? Do you hate it? Please say you hate it.