Culture: In the Most Curious Places
Much is made of the fact that hairdressers are infamous for their conversational skills, darting from topic to topic without consequence or care. It is also true that these same topics are of little consequence or care to the common folk, mere idle chit-chat whilst one is being provided with a service at an expense.
It was, therefore, with great surprise that I happened to have the most cultured of conversations this morning with a hairdresser. As I sat in the black leather seat wearing a black pin-striped suit with an open buttoned shirt and waist-coat to match, I began to fear that the conversation would soon descent into this mundane and meaningless conversation as she discussed what cut I would like.
Surprise was awash across my face as she complimented my dress sense, enquiring as to whether I always wore a suit. I responded kindly that I wore a suit throughout the week and reserved casual clothing for the weekend. She seemed pleased and enquired about occupation and I responded that I was a student, which gave her more delight as she considered it both mature and respectable that I wore a suit to university lectures and seminars.
The conversation continued about these suits and how I had gained something of a reputation as being rather well-dressed for a student before I happened to mention that most students were less concerned with dress sense and more with the dress code for clubs. I thought it both witty and dry to make such a remark and she laughed pleasantly, responding that she understood and thought little of students who drank to their death.
I agreed and mentioned that most students attended such courses because their lives lacked direction and this was nothing more than a ‘filler’, a stop-cock for the realisation of their own unimportance in the grand scheme of things. Once again, she agreed. She enquired as to what activities I was involved and I mentioned that I was a member of the university’s Liberal Democrats group. She mentioned about how she was considering not voting in the general elections.
With gusto and vigour, I responded that it was imperative that people voted or their criticism of the future government was unfounded. She agreed and asked about the political parties and I responded with much knowledge about it. I mentioned each of their parties, their policies and so forth, focusing on the important issues: economic development, education and the protection of frontline services.
As the conversation continued, I realised that I had gained the ear of another fellow hairdresser and a client. Each one was listening with intent as I spoke with passion about the importance of the vote, how the parties were failing to promise adequate change and reform. We were nearing the end and I wished to convince the audience of the need to vote.
I sealed the deal when I mentioned that few people wish to see another five years of Gordon Brown with his bumbling, miserable cabinet and the Labour Party disenchanted with politics. The audience nodded in agreement. I had captured them. Their ears were mine and I whispered as the mirror was brought out to show me the trimming: vote Liberal Democrat.
Culture comes in the most surprising of places.