There are always exceptions to any generalization, but it has been my experience that men generally do not confide in one another or share intimate details of their lives with their “buddies” in any setting similar to a woman’s beauty salon.
Despite one’s socio-economic background or one’s intellectual proclivities, boys – while generally encouraged to be team players – generally remain quiet about their private lives. Girls, by nature, tend to share feelings and foster loyal, intimate friendships more easily, even when they are team players.
As girls get older and join in that special society found in beauty salons, they think nothing about talking about their lives while having their hair cut, styled or colored. They speak with those who work on them as well as with clients who are seated next to them. It’s both amusing and telling about one of the major differences between men and women : how we’re wired genetically and how we’re trained and encouraged to be in the world.
More often than not men talk about sports or Wall Street, business-related issues or the politics of the day. Women, on the other hand, seem more comfortable sharing feelings and thoughts about nearly everything.
And what better place to do such sharing than at one’s beauty salon where one is pampered, dressed in a silky robe, and served a delectable cup of cappuccino before a scissor has even touched the scalp?
The time I spend at the VASKEN DEMIRJIAN SALON – a place I have frequented for years – offers me not merely time to relax but a time to continue conversations about our professional and family lives, books we’ve read, and places to which we’ve travelled – all in an environment that’s an architectural delight for the eyes and comfort for the soul.
There’s something sacred about a salon. One finds oneself talking as easily with the
hair stylist as one does with customers who are seated nearby – and whether or not it’s true, one has the feeling that what is said in the salon stays there. What is talked about doesn’t seem to be gossip but rather the sharing of experiences in a safe environment, a place to re-energize and re-access, if only briefly.
Perhaps that is why it’s not such a coincidence that in the last few years a variety of noble causes have found their way into salons. Check it out and you’ll find a number of them offering pamphlets on issues relating to health and diet, sexually transmitted diseases, and information regarding ways for business women to protect themselves when traveling alone. Some even offer classes during lunch breaks to help women deal with emotional and physical challenges they may be facing. Lists of Safe Houses are made available for abused women and hot-lines are listed, as well.
These are no small achievements in an age where so many women are in need of resources – and to have them offered in the neutral setting of a salon makes it that much more accessible.
Though men go to barber shops – some old-fashioned ones, others more chic and up-scale – they’re in and out within half an hour or so and seldom talk about anything beyond basic pleasantries.
So, to all the hard-working men out there, I hope the time will come when you, too, will find places where you feel comfortable sharing your experiences and listening to those of other men in a safe and soothing environment that lessens the degree of your daily stress and nurtures you in ways that are essential for one’s overall health.
Please share your experiences here, since we can all benefit from knowing how others find ways to make life easier and more pleasurable.
*Please visit my website at http://www.applemanshapiro.com to learn more about my private practice as a psychotherapist, my work as an oral historian and my book, FOUR ROOMS, UPSTAIRS, which you can order directly from my site.