A lesson in acceptance

My wife recently pointed out to me that I’m cheap when it comes to getting a haircut. But I’m a guy, so what’s there to do anyway? I take a shower and shampoo at home, then I go to the hair salon. Take off half an inch at the top, trim with the #3 on the sides, taper off the back with a #2 and #1, all done. Paying more than $20 because they throw in a head and neck massage feels like unnecessary luxury.

So I go to my usual hair salon at a strip mall and my stylist for the day is a guy that is so instantly recognizable as gay, I couldn’t help but smile at the manifestation of cliche (sorry). This doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and he was courteous and friendly just as I’d expect it from anyone else who would do this job. He confirms whether I’d like to have my hair done just like last time, and off we go.

That of course includes small-talk*. So he asks me whether I’m married – yes – and if my wife and I have kids – no – and he goes on and says “yeah, I’d like to have kids too but my husband doesn’t feel ready for it yet” and I found myself thinking “oh man, do you have to rub it in?”

And then I think, wait a minute… if it wasn’t a man but a lady who would have said exactly that, I would have accepted it as totally normal. And here I am, thinking of myself as all tolerant and open minded, and I have this negative reaction – not because of his gender mind you, and not because he’s gay, but because I think he wants me to notice that he’s gay and married. I turned what should be a normal remark into “oh hey look at me I’m different and proud of it!” when it probably wasn’t meant that way.

And even if it was – what’s so bad about it? The more I thought about it, the more I began to understand: gay people can indeed be proud and happy that they have the right to get married and have children, in this undoubtedly often still homophobic world. So maybe it’s the happiness about it that made him share this with me, and a bit of pride too.

I’ll never know. But thinking about my initial reaction made me realize that it’s probably still a long way to go until we’re all capable of accepting gay people living the normal, boring and mundane lives that we live as normal. Maybe the haircut was cheap. The lesson that came along with it was invaluable. All in all, a pretty good deal.


*) the hair stylist small talk is something that I could always do without. Ideally, hair salons would not only have my name and phone number and previous choice of haircut in their computer, but also whether I’d like to chat, or just sit there and get my hair cut. This isn’t arrogance – I’m an introvert, and while social small talk may be mundane, for the most part, it’s simply awkward. So, a simple letter like “I” for Introvert along with my “user profile” in their computer would do. They could add “just cut his hair and remain silent for extra tip” of course. 😉

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