The "No Gossip" Beauty Shop

by Bill Denton

Mildred Fister's beauty parlor in Jefferson, Iowa, has an unusual rule. Mildred refuses to allow gossip. A columnist for the Des Moines Register reacted this way: "This is a beauty parlor, for goodness' sake, one of those places women come to say things; loving, kind, unkind, and, sure, maybe downright nasty about their friends and neighbors, whether it's true or not. "It's as basic in a beauty parlor as a blow dry. Isn't it? "Not here,' [Fister] says. There is absolutely no talking about other people in Mildred Fister's shop. Talk about you and yours if you like but in the meantime, no gossip. At least [Fister] doesn't have to worry about keeping secrets. "She knows secrets because she's a friend to everybody who comes in the place. They know she can be trusted. "Sometimes people don't have anybody to talk to,' she said. So they confide in me. They tell me things about themselves. They know I'll never repeat what they say.' "That's better than gossip. It's called friendship." John Carlson, "John Carlson's Iowa," Des Moines Register (5-8-05). How refreshing! Let's not pick on beauty shops though. Anybody who has ever sat in a barber's chair knows that plenty of gossip goes on there, too. We might as well acknowledge that gossip isn't limited to the local hair-fixin' place. It happens wherever people have a few minutes to talk. What I really want you to consider is not so much the fact that we shouldn't gossip; rather I want you to pay attention to what Mildred Fister is actually promoting. In her beauty shop, two things are overcoming the huge negative of gossip: trust and friendship. The two go together. Friendship is built on trust. Without trust, friendship is an illusion. Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to have missed this basic truth. When trust is violated by sharing tidbits of gossip, when feelings are hurt because some unkind thing was passed to others, when unfortunate truths are revealed that do nothing but damage someone's reputation, then friendship is shattered. When trust goes, friendship-real friendship-cannot survive. A friend does not air your dirty laundry for you. A friend does not encourage others to think badly of you. A friend does not become the source of your embarrassment. Instead, a friend guards you, protects you, and shields you. Should you reveal some negative truth about yourself, a real friend will help you do better and get past it. They do not use you. The next time you are in a gossip-sharing party, consider the possibility that you might be the next subject for discussion. After all, if the person being gossiped about shouldn't trust these people, why should you?
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad