Advice columnist

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Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: A few weeks ago, I was getting my hair cut by my usual stylist. Another client struck up a noisy conversation with a different stylist concerning a friend of hers who, given her age, would probably never have kids, and really should have had her eggs frozen — and why didn't everyone get their eggs frozen anyway?! Etc. All narrated with a certain glee, to the affirming tuts of the stylist.

Carolyn, I'm dealing with infertility. I did not get my eggs frozen because I lacked the spare change for the procedure when I was younger, and hadn't even met my husband yet.

I've found it hard to even think about returning to that salon. I do not fault the stylists; they are customer service professionals. Should I have said something at the time? If so, what? Should I say something now . . . and to whom?

— Getting Shaggy


(Nick Galifianakis/The Washington Post)

Getting Shaggy: Chair rage! Yes! I’ve been there, too!

It’s also a hazard on public transportation, in checkout lines, at restaurants, in waiting rooms. . . anywhere we can’t avoid fellow humans, who sometimes have a lot more opinions to say than they have thoughts to think.

I’m sorry this client’s insensitivity hit you at such a vulnerable time.

I don’t think you had any obligation to speak up in the moment, if you didn’t want to, though a simple “I couldn’t afford it,” out loud to the yapper, would have been perfectly appropriate. Because, seriously.

I also don’t think a new stylist is the answer, because you apparently like this one and looking for another good one is an added stress you don’t need.

So that leaves going back. Bring a friend, if it helps, book the appointment, make yourself go. Even mention the incident to your stylist to demystify it. Or don’t, if you don’t want to, but you can bring it up without specifics. Like: “How do you handle it when a client is going on and on about something obnoxious? I heard someone last time saying all kinds of judgy and uninformed stuff, and it occurred to me you all must have to grin and bear a lot.” I’d be shocked if you didn’t have an instant ally in your stylist.

I hope your family-building efforts are rewarded soon.

Re: Chair rage: I was sitting in the beauty shop as a stylist talked about her misfit sister, who didn't bring the right dessert to the family function, who didn't fit into the family and who they swear was switched at birth, and how they purposefully have their little gatherings during the weeks they know she is on vacation or can't get off work, so they don't have to include her. It reminded me of how my now-estranged family has always regarded me.

I turned around, tears in my eyes, and told the woman that in my family, I'm that sister, and no, I'll never get over it. I think I shamed the stylist that day. I don't care. I think sometimes people have to be reminded about how they sound to others.

— That Sister

That Sister: You are a badass. Well done. I’m sorry your family let you down.

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost.