The Hair and the Honeycomb

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I did something scary last Thursday night. After we set up our booth at the Chattanooga curriculum fair, I got my hair cut. Sometimes I just don’t find the time to do that when I am in town and then I get away from home and feel a bit desperate. Thursday night I had that I’ve-just-got-to-do-something-with-this-hair feeling. About ten after seven on a Thursday night, I walked right into a salon in a mall two and a half hours from home and asked if I could get a haircut. There was an opening at 8.

Ray, our friend Ryan (recent homeschool grad and very good friend since he was about sixteen months old who was helping us at the fair) walked really fast to a sit-down burger place for supper. At 7:59 I walked into the beauty salon and met the stylist, whom I’ll call Brandie. I am trying to remember, did Brandie smile a single time the whole time we were together? Maybe once . . . and that’s a big maybe.

I told her the current issues I have been having with my hair and how much I wanted her to cut–half an  inch. We exchanged niceties. She has a friend who lives near us and has a favorite restaurant there. From that high point, the conversation went downhill.

I really like my regular stylist. I’ll call her Joanie. We share news about family and church while she gives me a shampoo that feels nice and a good haircut. From the first time I walked into Janie’s shop several months ago, she made me feel good about my appearance. She complimented what I was wearing. She tells me I have nice hair. Those kinds of things always make us girls feel good, don’t they?

Evidently Brandie did not share Joanie’s opinion. When she shampooed my hair, she used phrases like “gray hair has a mind of its own” and “as we age.” While she snipped (more than half an inch), she frowned. While Brandie frowned, a news story came on the radio in the shop: alcoholism is on the rise among women. The reporter suggested several reasons. As I pondered what I was hearing, Brandie said with a continued frown, “It’s because men drive them to it.” I wondered if some of Brandie’s experiences lay behind her words, her frown, and her negativity.

When Brandie was almost finished with my cut (which I really liked), she said (this is as close a quote as I can remember), “I call this my Rosemary cut. I have a customer, Rosemary. We worked for two years to get this cut. It’s one she can work with. I can do anything, but she can’t and with this she can [style her hair at home] herself.”

I paid my bill (more than twice what I usually pay) and walked out of the shop feeling blue. I liked my cut, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted to share it with Rosemary who took two years to find a cut she could do herself. I also didn’t like feeling like a has-been.

I like to be around Joanie who makes me feel pretty. I didn’t like being around Brandie, who made me feel like a has-been. But, deeper still, I feel sorry for Brandie who believes men drive women to drink and who didn’t feel like she had anything to smile about Thursday night.

After I had some time to ponder the experience, I made a commitment about my own speech. I want my husband, my children, and everyone I meet to feel better and not worse after they have spent time with me. I want them to feel loved and appreciated and valuable. So thank you for the lesson, Brandie. I pray that you discover how much God loves you and how very much there is to make you smile, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you myself.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24

honeycomb in new south wales australia by Peter Shanks flicker
Honeycomb in New South Wales, Australia
By Peter Shanks, Flickr



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  1. Thank you for this hilarious (for me, not so much you) and insightful post! I love how you made this experience something useful and educational. My husband and I were at the conference in Pigeon Forge in June (I was the one who requested a song, haha). We also heard your husband speak about TN history, which we loved and enjoyed. We were watching the show “Christy” on DVD yesterday after church and my husband said if we could find out where that was filmed, we would go. Yay!! Your husband said that ya’ll had been there, it was pretty remote but a great day trip. Can you send me directions or a link to some directions maybe? Thank you!! No big hurry, I think this would make a beautiful fall trip!!

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