DAME’s Friendkeeper makes sure a reader doesn’t get the Rachel and walks another through the weirdness of grief.
Sick of her office job, a good friend of mine has recently embarked on a new career path as a hair stylist. I fully support this. But, she wants me to be one of her first official clients and I’m a little terrified at the prospect. She’s been apprenticing at a reputable salon and seems to know her way around with a pair of scissors. But what if she doesn’t?? What if she fancies herself a modern-day Edward Scissorhands but I come out of her chair with a hairstyle I hate? I don’t want to seem unsupportive but I don’t want something as seemingly silly as a haircut to come between us. (Truth be told, I would probably cut a bitch for ruining my bangs. Maybe I’m vain?)
Yeah, you know, I think I’m more willing to let an inexperienced brain surgeon work on me than a new stylist. Because no one can SEE your brain, amirite? I remember getting a lil’ trim that turned into a bob and crying for a week—I actually went through the five stages of a bad haircut which ended in me writing bad poetry to my shorn locks. (And we are not the only ones—Google “how to make your hair grow faster” and see what I’m talking about.) Every hairdresser has a style—I know this very popular top stylist in NYC who makes everyone have some version of the Rachel. It’s like she can’t help it.
Here’s what I’d do. Tell her that you wouldn’t wish yourself with an unhappy ’do on your worst enemy. You’re doing her a favor. Tell her your line about cutting a bitch for wrecking your bangs and ask her if she wants that on her … um head. The fact is, it is very easy to get someone willing to get a free haircut to display a new stylist’s work. Help her find that person, because we both know it ain’t you.
I had lunch with a friend of mine the other day and midway through she nonchalantly mentioned that her mother had passed away. And when I say nonchalantly, I mean she dropped the news between commenting on the tastiness of her salad and asking for a refill on her iced tea. I know they weren’t incredibly close, but it seems like the passing of a parent deserves a little more respect, or emotion, or something. It’s not like she’s a coldhearted person. She’s been there for me through some tough times, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t making me rethink our whole friendship. I realize everyone deals with death differently but this just seems straight up weird. Am I overreacting to her under-reaction?
Death Doesn’t Become Her
Everyone deals with death and trauma and funky tasting yogurt in different ways—and we all work on different time frames. And sometimes when we see someone react in a way that feels wrong or foreign to us it seems scary and even inexcusable. I’ve often watched news crews come to the doors of some person whose child or spouse was murdered and thought, How could this person be standing there talking about details when I would be comatose on Thorazine? I’ve also been at funerals where someone is wailing on the floor, pounding their fists and that wouldn’t be me either … I think. The thing is we have no idea what we would do because we aren’t the person and we haven’t had the experiences that led them to this place and we haven’t had the relationship to the person who passed away. Maybe this is the 10th time they’ve been through it or they just are so freaked out they haven’t come close to dealing with it. Expect that your friend’s reaction may evolve. She could be currently compartmentalizing or just not reached the point of grieving in the way you expect. Don’t worry, it’s all normal. Unless a person’s reaction becomes harmful to themself or someone else, it’s ok. You, in the meantime, can be supportive and ready because this could just be the beginning.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]zine.com. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
Become a member at DAME today to help us support our independent, fearless reporting so we can continue to shine a light on the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. Every dollar we receive from readers goes directly into funding our journalism. Become a supporter today.
AN INDEPENDENT FREE PRESS HAS
NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Your financial support helps us continue to cover the policies, social issues, and cultural trends that matter, bringing the diversity of thought so needed in these times.