People who want to tell me "how"

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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on August 25, 2002 at 23:29:52:

Sorry I didn't get this down there in the other discussion on how to
cope with people who want to show you how to do henna .... as if
somehow your hands are moving by a mysterious power slinging henna
while you have no conscious awareness of what they're doing. I've
been working on this one lately as I need to play the "anthro game"
harder. I'm very rarely out slinging henna for money, so I have more
time to play another game.

I really try to get them to tell me anything and everything they want
to about henna. I actually string them along asking one blank
question after another just to gather information. It's not that they
necessarilly know anything I don't .. I want to know how they
reconstruct henna history, traditions, and techniques and how they
learned them. The anthro info-gathering process. So, I question,
question, question, question. Perhaps its dishonest to play stupid,
but I'm very curious how people "own" their henna experience. It
doesn't matter whether they have anyting "right" or not, it's THEIR
family's version of "right, and that's a very special sort of "right".
Chemistry and history be damned, this is the anthro/folklore
department here. I'd NEVER recommend this if you're actually trying to
get henna work done.

What do I do when I don't have time for this "more mehndi than thou"
confrontation? I say, I'm doing my PhD on henna, I know a bit about
it. Works every time. They're thrilled that there is such a thing
possible, and they get out of my face.

Another sort of "running up and confronting me to set me straight"
happened several times this summer and it always gave me a big grin.
I used Temptu several times. Every time, god bless them, someone came
up to me in a superfast walk with the GRIMMEST look on their face
demanding to know what I was using and asked the EXACT questions I've
recommended people ask PPD slingers. They were all totally ready to
feed me my PPD RANT back chapter and verse, and rip me a new asshole,
as they had no clue who I was. I always grinned, complimented them on
their wisdom, and held up my bottle of Temptu, and showed them that it
is NOT PPD in any way shape or form.


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