Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Some thoughts inspired by a hairbrush. Part II.

OK, firstly someone had to point out I said hairs instead of hair in the previous posting. If that offended anyone else whose English is much better than mine, I apologize profusely. I also apologize to those truly posh people for whom an Aveda hairbrush was not good enough to be considered posh. I was not taking it seriously; and shall pay more attention to what I call posh in future. I promise. I would not want the whole Britain to be considered not posh enough just because I happen to like Aveda, you know? 

Now that we have cleared those two aspects, let’s move on to Part II or the hairbrush influenced thoughts.

My grandmother once told me a story about a famous composer who was in her house and saw her hairbrush in the bathroom. ‘Please!’ He exclaimed, ‘Please tell me this is your cat’s brush and not yours? How can you, such a beautiful young lady, have such a filthy hairbrush?’

It was of course, decades ago. And not only my grandmother, but also my mother and I remembered that comment for years.

And so I was just thinking how, sometimes, people in your life could say something that affects you and makes you remember that comment forever.

Once, when I was maybe about 8 years old, I went to see my Russian girlfriend who lived in the same yard. As we chatted and played, I noticed her occasionally glancing over at her older sister, who was lying on the couch, and not participating in our conversation. When people exchange meaningful glances behind your back, they often believe you won’t notice. But you always do.

So, when we went to play in the yard, I confronted my friend. What was that about, I wanted to know? She confessed that her sister refused to play with us, because she did not like me. That was fine, but I wanted to know why. Only when you are that young, you can expect your female friend to tell you the truth about something like that. My girlfriend blushed and said it was because I talked too much. Her sister found me incredibly irritating.

Needless to say, I never spoke to the sister again. But her comment stung. Maybe because it was…hmm….quite relevant. I do talk a lot. My husband talks an awful lot, and my child talks so much that sometimes I think I will crush the car if she does not stop for at least a minute.

On another occasion, a foreign exchange student was sitting next to me at an arts lesson at the university, watching me paint, and suddenly took my hand.

‘Oh, I thought you were a classy girl!’ He said, looking at my nails. I glanced down and realized that my nail polish was chipped. The truth was, when I left the house that morning, they were still OK. But I did not attempt to argue with him. He was right. Chipped nail polish is a huge no-no.

Of course, there were other comments. I seem to attract those. But not every single one I would remember. I am not sure what it is, whether it has to really hit a nerve, or be true, or something else. Perhaps, it has to be something you already know about yourself, but secretly hope others won’t notice. But there is something good to take out of every mean (or simply truthful?) comment. I definitely never have chipped nails these days, and I always make effort to pause and listen when I talk to someone. It is not easy, but I try.


  1. The worst part of this is when you noticed you are the one who made the kind of comment your listener will rememeber forever...
    I could make a list of the "nice" comments people use to tell me: when are you getting married? When are you going to dye that gray on your hair? Why don't you blah-blah-blah?

  2. Scary - my friend would sometimes offer her young daughter some money to stay silent for a while. She told people it was to teach her about rewards, etc... but she once confessed it was because the girl's endless chatter was driving her crazy.

    About why these comments stay with you, I think it could also be because they come from someone you least expect. Maybe you thought someone artistic wouldn't care about nails?! One of the comments that really stayed with me throughout my life was the more hurtful because it came from someone I thought was my best friend.

    Gabriela - So true. It reminds me of that post my Scary about the posh hand wash (hand cream?), and how she felt when she caught herself telling her in-laws not to use it because it was too good.

  3. love ur sketches. the man on this one looks like Muslim Magomaev :)


  4. Scary, you are sooo pretty damn funny :))

  5. One famous writer said:in childhood we need only 1 year to learn speak and all life to learn keep silence

  6. My Mom paid me to be quiet once when I was about 5 years old. I lasted about 10 minutes and then returned the money back to her. She still tells people this story. I knew then that money wasn’t as important to me as being able to tell my Mom everything that happened at the day care that day. I still think I made the right choice :).