Yesterday I was reminded of a post I wrote years ago when, during an otherwise pleasant experience at a medical spa, a nurse attempted to apply protective yellow goggles to my face by jamming them into my freshly pierced helix. (That’s the ear cartilage.) The request for consent needn’t be verbal: I could have cautioned her if she’d approached me from the front and I had seen her. Instead, she came at me from the back, snagging a lock of my hair at the crown into the elastic in the process.
“First time ever that I got my glove stuck doing this,” she remarked, partly to herself. “Sorry if I pulled your hair untangling my glove!” she added cheerfully.
I suppressed my desire to smack her.
Oddly enough it wasn’t my smarting helix piercing that induced my quiet rage. I even let her continue to prod against it like an unprofessional plebian despite the stinging, eventually slipping my fingers to pull my ear forward out of the way of the elastic when she somehow continuously failed to notice she kept running over the ear, where goggles do not go, instead of behind. (“Why didn’t you say something?” you ask. “Because I kept thinking it was over!”) Rather, it was the hair-snapping, and for some reason, the aside about her caught glove and how this was the first time. I don’t care about any of this—don’t snag my hair. It’s onyx gold.
(Okay, yes, I am bizarrely protective of my hair, but for reasons.) My friends affectionately run their fingers through my hair. Lovers (when there’s a difference) have twisted it around their fists. When it’s snagged or pulled it’s a personal attack, and I’ve stopped caring how irrational that is. On a separate note, if there were ever clear evidence that I’m a ride-or-die kind of bitch, it’s the fact that annoyance will infuriate me more than pain: the throbbing helix, I winced through discreetly as she persisted. It was the mild irritation of hair-snagging that made me want to rudely shove her gloveless-hand-because-my-abundant-hair-had-swallowed-it away. (I didn’t.) But if you’re going to, please straightup hurt me. Don’t annoy me. What is this weak-sauce middle—“annoyance”?
I forced a polite makeshift smile at her apology. Note: anyone ever apologizes to me and I smile briefly instead of chirping, “It’s okay!”—it’s not okay. I’m just acknowledging that you apologized in order to move on because we have things to do; please don’t ask me to laboriously reassure you and make this more awkward for me.
Typically, the nurse would place the goggles on me and I would secure them, so I wasn’t expecting this. I would have appreciated her doing it for me if she’d approached from the front and thus presented me the opportunity to inform her that my helix was newly pierced, instead of slipping the goggles on from the back at her convenience and jamming into my ear. A potentially gracious act was turned into a horrifying one because of the lack of consent/communication.
It’s yet another exemplification of why you shouldn’t physically interact with people when you don’t know their bodies without making the course of your movements evident so they can intervene. My friends know to steer clear of my ear when embracing me or tossing my hair or otherwise brushing against me for the next few weeks. A stranger trying to pop an accessory on me doesn’t.
The rest of the session was smooth. She was, in fact, very professional, and good at her job, save for this detail. Were the situation severer, the outcome may have been worse than tolerable smarting.