I had my hair cut today. It seems like a simple enough thing to do, but every time I go I can't help but feel awkward. The first hurdle comes the moment you sit in the chair. It's probably easy for most, but the question of how I want my hair always throws me off. I hear other patrons rattling off numbers and specific locations on their heads, but all I can ever muster is "like this, but shorter", occasionally offering a badly angled Facebook photo from a couple of years back. That normally seems to do the trick, but then the real struggle begins, as the person cutting my hair attempts to talk to me.
Human beings are social creatures, and sure, I have the ability to be social. But I also possess a certain amount of social anxiety, and as such I find it extremely difficult to engage in small talk. How long is it considered necessary to talk about the weather? How much detail should I go into about my job? How much should I pry into my inquisitor's life in return? Small talk is difficult for me at all times, but thankfully in most situations I can pretend I'm in a hurry to be somewhere else, or have the means to be conveniently distracted before it gets too awkward. But in a barber shop those escape routes aren't available. I can't stand up with half my hair cut and say I need to be somewhere else. So instead I sit there, attempting to offer up a fairly succinct response to any questions I may be asked, and not daring to ask those question in return, in case I get pulled into a conversation that I can't adequately maintain.
I'm sure many people think I'm rude when I don't pry into the mundane aspects of their lives, but in truth I'm very shy, and find it difficult to muster up the courage to even ask what their plans for the weekend are. The inescapable barber's chair only makes it worse, but thankfully, in my experience, most realise after a couple of questions that I'm not much of a talker. Then they leave me in peace, staring awkwardly into space, before catching myself in the mirror and plastering on a sliver of a smile to show that I am not, in fact, a massive jerk, and appreciate the work that they're doing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way about small talk, but I suppose I'm in the minority. Small talk just isn't my bag, and being confined to a chair while a man holding sharp objects tries to partake sure doesn't make it better.
My rating: 1/5