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The intrusion of religion, part 2

Unlike my first post on this topic, this wasn’t unexpected, but it still got to me.

I went to get my hair done yesterday – my hair isn’t naturally red, but I like being a redhead, so every two or three months I go in to have my roots done, and after a while the hairdresser will comb the color through to my ends for a few minutes, and then I feel better. The shop I go to is part beauty salon, part barber shop, and in the beauty salon part they have maybe three or four hairdressers, and there’s not a lot of room, so if you’re having a conversation with your hairdresser, pretty much, you’re having it with everyone else in the room too (all two or three of them).

I go to this place regularly, even though my hairdresser (whom I like) drops the words “blessed” or “blessing” every five minutes. I go even though there’s always a Christian radio station playing. I go even though every single time I go, someone, either customer or employee, is going to discuss Christianity in some way, shape or form. And it doesn’t seem to make anyone else uncomfortable except me.

Why do I still patronize this business? I’m starting to have trouble answering this question.

So there I am, telling my hairdresser – who is well acquainted with the fact that I read because she always sees me bring a book in and sometimes asks me what I’m reading – that I was dissatisfied with having finished only eight books last year, so I got on Goodreads to make myself the goal of reading 24 books this year. At first I get polite questions from my hairdresser and another customer: had I read a book more than once? (Yes.) Did I gain anything from reading a book more than once? (Yes.) Etc.

And then it happens.

Other customer pipes up with: “You know what would be a good idea for you is to start from Genesis.” The Bible. She thinks I should read the Bible. (First she thinks that I haven’t already read the Bible, and then she thinks that I should read it.)

My hairdresser agrees and asks me if I have read the Bible (at least she asks me instead of assuming that I hadn’t). I say yes, because it’s true: I read the Bible three times in high school. I’d heard that if you read three chapters a day, you can get the Bible read in a year. Then I proved it three times over. What I don’t say is that I used to be something of a Bible expert with all that reading. But I’ve forgotten a lot of what I’ve read, so I’m no longer even a little bit of an expert.

Inside, I’m like, Can’t I just come and get my hair done without having to listen to all of this?

Are there other options in this tiny town of Crawfordville, Florida (pop. 3,702 as of 2010)? Yes, there are one or two other places, without me having to make the drive to Tallahassee. I have no guarantee that the situation will be any better in these places, and in Tallahassee I’m going to pay more money to get the same stuff done to my hair. So how much is peace of mind worth to me? I’m still thinking.

At least it’s only once every two or three months.

Thoughts? Please leave them below.

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5 thoughts on “The intrusion of religion, part 2

  1. My first thought would be yeah, go to another hairdresser, but I’m fortunate to live in a place where that’s possible and it sounds a little more challenging for you. I’ve had some good conversations with hairdressers and I’m partial to going to a place where you always see the same person.

    I don’t know much about coloring hair, but I do know someone who does her own and thinks it’s great (and does a great job). Would that be an option for you?

    I’m also wondering if it’s an option to engage her in a real conversation. You know, something like, “yes, I’ve read the Bible,” and then answering her follow-up question honestly. Sometimes I can say, “I’m not a Christian” and people will accept that. But it depends on the environment, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t do my own hair coloring because of my back issues; bending down to put my head in a sink is a very uncomfortable thing for me. I have to have it done professionally.

      As for telling her the truth, I hesitate. I think she’s picked up on the fact that I’m not as religious as she is; she’s seen me get uncomfortable when she says, “Have a blessed day,” for instance. If I ever said, “I’m not Christian” in that environment, I just envision daggers of hate being directed toward me for the next hour and a half or however long I’m there, and then it becomes actual torture instead of approximating torture.

      I am leaning strongly toward trying somewhere else in two months. If all else fails, I can go back to the shop I last used in Tallahassee, but then I’m paying $30 more for what I just had done. Maybe in two months I’ll actually be bringing in an income and that will be a possibility. We’ll see what happens.

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  2. First, I’m really sorry you had to go through this.

    My response has usually been the polite nod-and-smile, or the polite, “Thank you, but I am uncomfortable talking about religion.”, or a quick change of the subject. “Oh yes, I’ve read it, thank you!! I was looking for a new fiction novel though.” That way it makes them feel I’ve been “saved” (because whether I have or not is none of their business) and it changes the topic quickly. You could try this kind of polite honesty, and if it gets to be too uncomfortable, not return.

    I think it comes down to this: are you uncomfortable with either (a) lying enough to get them off of your case/telling them enough to make hem think you are Christian to change the topic, or (b) willing to ask that the topic not be brought up, perhaps stating you don’t like the topic because it makes you uncomfortable (and you can tell hem anything else you want as well, including that you have been acquainted with Christianity but it wasn’t for you…but that might spur a long conversation). You could go all out and just come all out…but I don’t know if that is worth it (or possible) to you.

    If you don’t want to do either, and I would completely understand (lying is uncomfortable and so can honesty in relationships you don’t want to invest much else into), I would shop around. While the situation may be similar elsewhere, it may not be as bad. Worth the try! Please let us know what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I appreciate the sympathy. I guess I have been content to pass as Christian before now. If I asked them not to talk about religion, I don’t know if they’d be okay with that, considering how often it comes up. I think we’d have a room full of uncomfortable people instead of just one uncomfortable person, and besides, I don’t necessarily think it’s fair of me to make that request of mostly perfect strangers. As for coming all the way out, like I mentioned above, that would turn it into actual torture. There are one or two other places in Crawfordville (although I’m not expecting the situation to be vastly different as long as I’m staying in my little town to get my hair done). There are plenty of places in Tallahassee, not just the one I paid $100 for a cut and color before, but I haven’t had the motivation to try them all out before, but I’m getting there fast. I will keep you all posted!

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  3. I guess I should keep you all posted on what happened here. I tried another salon and the first time I went, I don’t think religion even came up. Yay! So I went back a second time, and I overheard a conversation in which my stylist and two other people were discussing the religious movies they had seen, but that was it. I decided I could handle that, so I’m going back.

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