I usually cut my own hair. Its cheaper and since my hair is so curly, it looks better if cut by someone who knows curly hair. Like someone who has curly hair. The curls are all different- the top has ringlets that defy gravity and really do stand straight up. The middle is frizz and the bottom is loose waves. This is what I imagine it looks like in profile, but my paper was too short and the top is cut off.
(If it is straight, it hangs down by my chin)
The few times I’ve gotten a professional cut I’ve been disappointed.
However, there was a hair cutting place by my old work that I would walk by. The owner, a middle-aged Middle-Eastern guy clearly loves his job. Its almost mesmerizing to watch him, like a modern dance. His joy and pride over sculpting the hair of a customer was almost audible, as if it were music. Wow, this sounds a little melodramatic, but when someone loves what they do, you can feel it.
I thought I might trust him and called this place. A woman with poor English and a strong Chinese accent answered the phone. She told me if I wanted an appointment she would do it even when I asked about the man. When I asked if she had experience with curly hair she snorted and retorted that she had been cutting hair for 10 years. I did not make the appointment.
Aside from the logical and intuitive reasons why I did not want her to touch my hair, I realized there were also some racist and sexist prejudices that influenced me. They were small influences, and wouldn’t have changed my decision that much, but they still bother me.
I do not trust a Chinese stylist with curly hair. It makes sense to think a person with straight coarser hair would not know as much about dealing with very fine and unpredictably curly hair. Also, since this person’s English was not very good and our area is 40% Chinese, it is plausible that she has more Asian than non-Asian customers and is more familiar with that hair type. I did assume she was Chinese, and not Philappina or Malaysian and realized that it would have made a difference. While I’m glad my distrust doesn’t extend to all Asian peoples, it does bother me that I feel this way about some of them. Incidentally, if someone is Chinese but doesn’t have such a strong accent, I’m fine with them. Unless they are my ex. Hmm…
I also assume that men who work in women-dominated fields are there more because they love the work than because it is work they are expected to do by default. (Do I think the same about women in male-dominated fields? Not really: male dominated fields pay a lot more, although token males get treated with respect and adoration while token females are often harassed or ignored.)
While in general this could have some truth, to treat all individuals based on this stereotype isn’t right. There are female hair-stylists who do the work because they truly love it. I’m sure there are Chinese stylists who do know how not to ruin curly hair and even do great things with it. Whether this woman was one of them or not, I do not know. Nor did I give her a chance.
However, this was mostly because I don’t like not being taken seriously when I ask questions, and that was a deal-breaker no matter what accent the person had.