I went for a haircut this week. Well, not a haircut-haircut, more like a hairtrim, but that's not the point really. During the haircut/trim I had to endure the one bit of haircut/trims I really wish hairdressers would do without: the head massage.
Having my hair washed - that's OK. It's functional, it feels nice, I'm happy. Stop there, towel me up and send me to my seat. Please don't subject me to the 5 minutes of head rubbing. It's not that I'm against having my head massaged, I just find the whole human dynamics part of it too hectic to navigate.
First, I'm just not quite sure how to react to having some lady I don't know massaging my head. What's the right thing to do? I'm pretty sure that 'oh yeah, harder harder little to the left aaaaaah yes, ooooooh I like it like that' isn't appropriate. But after that, I'm lost. So? Sit back and look content? I'm not sure if my 'content' look will give her nightmares. Do you have to make her feel better by looking like you enjoy it? Is she thinking I'm a heartless machine serial killer if I'm not responding? I know that if I try to muster the half-amused and detached 'yeah it's cool I'm cool and I do this every day' look, I'll just come across like a perv with a daft grin.
I'd rather just not go through that.
Also, what if the aunty's just not very good at it? I don't think I've ever had a particularly good head massage at a hairdresser. Sure, in principle, a head massage is nice, and I'm not saying it always sucks, but generally speaking it's either too hard or too soft or pulls your hair or just feels like someone's looking for ticks.
I'm guessing that most hair-wash-head-massaging ladies are doing their apprenticeships and being thoroughly exploited, or really in need of the money and being thoroughly exploited or just not well in the head, and being thoroughly exploited. So if your job entails massaging people's noggins, you've got enough problems, without people giving you grief about it or bitching 'cause you're crap at it. I just couldn't do it. I'd rather just live with the bruising and bald spots.
That brings me to my final point, which is that generally speaking, the head massage just feels a little bit porno. I've never had anyone who's been entirely erm, enthusiastic about it. It always just feels like it's a kinda down-to-business, everyone else is doing it so we gotta do it to keep the customers happy vibe. I know this woman doesn't really want to be massaging me. I know I'm like the 50th head she's massaged today, and there's nothing special about my head to make it in the least bit exciting or interesting for her. She's not getting any kick out of it - sensual or professional (except for the crazies, but I'm sure they're statistically insignificant).
She's just doing it 'cause she's gotta, and it goes without saying that there are a great many things in life where if the party of the second part is doing unto the party of the first part just 'cause they gotta, then the party of the first part is probably better off not being done unto at all.
Which is precisely my point. I just think this whole head massage business is a monster which has grown out of control. I, for one, am happy to leave haircutting/trimming to the professionals, and stick to enjoying head massages in the privacy of my own home.