Re: Snappy comebacks to clients who want to teach you henna


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Posted by Kenzi on August 23, 2002 at 22:46:36:

In reply to: Re: Snappy comebacks to clients who want to teach you henna posted by Maureen on August 23, 2002 at 21:49:39:

I am beginning to realize that I don't really need the snappy
comeback, like you say. A lot of progress can be made in how I
approach the situation myself.

I do sense that they see me usurping "their" culture and I can
imagine how that feels. I agree that having a dialogue is possible
and probably more useful to all involved. On the most recent
occasion I was having a bad henna day (hot as heck, dusty, no
customers, sneering customers) so her remark was just one more
annoying thing in my day (ugh!); I could feel myself getting angry so
instead of responding I asked her to repeat what she said because I
didn't understand and upon repition I just replied, "that's
interesting...thanks." We'll see how it goes in the future when i
put myself in their shoes.

On a positive note, I did a party last night for a Pakistani bride.
Her cousin and her cousin's friend showed up and pored over my books,
admired my work, asked questions etc. The cousin's friend is also
Pakistani and an interior desginer from England. She was great
because she was very complimentary to me, admiring my work, my steady
hand (who me?!), my fine lines etc. but also offering suggestions
(more to the bride than to me) as to how to develop the design (we
were all kindof creating by committee and as it went along). It was
a great collaboration because she had some great ideas and we had a
wonderful dialogue about the process and designs and henna etc. It
was a funny dance because I could sense that she really wanted to
respect my role, and I was trying to do the same with her because I
could see that she had a good eye, not to mention that she is my
elder and also has seen a LOT more henna than I have.

I got to ask them a few questions about how things are done back home
and we chatted about that. They said that they liked that I had some
many books to choose from and I asked them how it's done back home;
she said that usually a family hires someone who is particularly good
in the style they want and then the artist comes and just does her
thing, no picking of designs or instructing the artist. You make
your choice by choosing an artist who does the stuff you want.

The bride said to me as I started her first hand that I could go
faster and not worry about being so neat. I just thought that was
hilarious! I told her that I really didn't know how to do that (not
like I am THAT neat) and just went along my way. In the end she LOVED
the final product so we were both glad that I didn't stop being
neat. Too silly!

Thanks for your comments and suggestions...it gives me a lot to think
about.

 


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