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Listen: A Brazilian is Not a Cocktail

Closeup cropped photo of a woman in a white bathrobe having her thigh waxed by a spa therapist.

Listen: A Brazilian is Not a Cocktail

“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”

~Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Perk up and listen…really listen, or you’ll miss all the good stuff.

In this three quarter profile headshot of Catherine Harrison, the author, she is looking intently to the left with a thoughtful expression. She is wearing a black halter top with drop earrings.
Catherine Harrison

In this day and age of “self-care,” “self-empowerment,” and ego-centric ranting on social media, I can safely say people have stopped listening. I have been just as guilty, so I’m not casting stones, but the resulting disconnect is sobering. I found myself struggling to engage with people beyond topics of my own interests or superficial/non-confrontational issues. We don’t want to be lectured to. I think we need meaningful, authentic relationships that can broaden perspectives beyond the tip of our own noses.

My Esthetician (we’ll call her “Krissy”) has worked at this waxing salon for years and can distract her clients from the impending agony like Obi-Wan Kenobi confusing storm troopers in the Star Wars bar, “these are not the droids you’re looking for.” She talks fast, has a very bubbly personality, and keeps your attention wrapped on the latest gossip in the local news. 

Meanwhile, she spreads the warm, melted wax, on whatever body part you have exposed, like thick butter on hot toast. With stealth she gets you chatting about your love life or job and before you know it the searing pain of something akin to a D-Con glue trap being ripped off your tender flesh, taking unwanted hair follicles and all, seizes you by the toenails. The price of beauty is great! Now just so y’all know, I don’t say cuss words out loud…but at this point, I’m certainly thinking them.

A Different Tactic

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.” ~Dean Jackson The quote is white text on a black background.

This most recent visit was a little different. Instead of letting “Krissy“ pepper me with distracting questions about my day or my kids, I was determined to use my newly acquired skills from reading the Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. So, I employed #4, showing a genuine, thoughtful interest in her and her job by asking to hear some of her most memorable experiences as a waxer.  

All I can say is I was sincerely underprepared for her answer. Story after story, my mouth was agape and the laughter became uncontrollable…thank goodness for the internal sling holding up my bladder. “Krissy’s” anecdotes ranged from male clients ignorant of their nether regions stiffening response from the pain of waxing to a female client who failed to remember the sage advice to “never trust a fart”.

I’m just sayin, you can’t make these stories up…NO ONE is that creative!  

“Krissy” didn’t divulge any names, and Lord knows I didn’t ask. I wouldn’t want to run the risk of recognizing, in the waiting area, any of her main characters whose experiences at the swingers’ club or piercing parlor I heard about. (I spared you those stories) It’s bad enough I have struggled to get the mental pictures of her anecdotes out of my mind. I may need therapy or to host a stand-up comedy hour.

I was still gasping for breath and dabbing the pooling tears that threatened to loosen the adhesive on my eyelashes, as I exited the waxing salon. Now, you might think I was crying from the pain of having hair rudely snatched out by the roots…but there is way more to this story than just a smooth bikini line.

Lessons Learned


"Listening means taking a second to consider what they’re saying, not just hearing their words.” ~Anonymous The quote is white text on a black background.

If left to my natural self, I am a quiet introvert, content to be alone, although not at all shy. I am surrounded by extroverts in my family and it’s just easier not to compete. Factor blindness into the introverted equation and the combination became a catalyst for feeling invisible and self-consumed. All I could think about was my vanishing world, my unfulfilled dreams, and the righteous anger at my circumstances. I literally and figuratively had tunnel vision, all I could see was me.

It has taken years to work through the changes life slapped me in the face with. There is no quick fix if you want to come out on the other side a new and improved version of yourself. It takes good old-fashioned hard work, sweat, tears, and time to reach resignation or relief but hopefully a little of both. Resignation for the things that can’t be changed and relief that dreams don’t go away although they may change.

I read (listened to) many good books along the way to gain perspective and to change the voice in my head. But the best thing I did was to learn how to listen, become genuinely interested in other people’s life stories and change my focus.  

Everyone wants to be heard, to feel valued, and to know they matter, including me. My challenges are not unique and they aren’t what make me special…my reaction to them is. As individuals, we react to the surprises in life, based on our own unique life experiences and personality. Hearing other people’s stories and their reactions to trials have brought me to tears as well as provided much laughter. It transformed my self-centered focus and I learned how to ask thoughtful questions. 

The Challenge To You

Although “Krissy’s” stories were fabulously entertaining they aren’t where the real value was uncovered. Her reaction to all the outlandish things people said or did while under the spell of her purple wax, now that had real purchase. I now see “Krissy” through the lens of a servant.  She is 100% unflinching, a hard-working master of her craft and she resists casting judgment as the vulnerable side of humanity lay bare before her. Her job is not glamorous but certainly holds value. She always greets me with a smile and asks “so, what exciting things have you been up to?”

People and their stories are what give a zesty flavor to life. Being genuinely interested in others is more than a welcome distraction from the rude pain of existence, it’s where relationships find trust.  

So, I challenge you to use #4 with the goal of being authentically interested in others and less self-focused. Listen…really listen and ask thoughtful questions. You will see people differently, gain perspective and perhaps learn not to ask for a Brazilian, thinking you’re ordering a cocktail. 

By Catherine Harrison

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Connecting With Catherine:

Author Bio:

Author bio photo is a headshot of Catherine who has short blonde hair and mesmerizing green eyes. She is wearing a tan colored jacket over a white top.
Catherine Harrison

Catherine is both fearless in the face of a challenge and skilled at defying the stereotypes assigned to women over 50 and to the handicapped. As a former professional ballerina, who studied at Julliard’s School of American Ballet, Catherine brings that same discipline, grace and poise to being a model who happens to be blind.

Catherine started her modeling career in the 1980’s working her way through nursing school. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and was an operating room nurse for many years before losing the majority of her eyesight. Although only partially sighted, due to a progressive retinal disease, she is very independent and uses her white cane for mobility.

Today, Catherine combines her skills as a ballerina, 10+ years of weight training and her knowledge as a nurse to become a popular certified fitness instructor, teaching stretching/flexibility class. Her lean, athletic physique and positive approach to fitness/nutrition/beauty at every age makes her both a role model and expert in what an active, healthy lifestyle can be.

Her encouraging message of perseverance and strength regardless of circumstances led Catherine to be a sought-after public speaker and writer for more than 10 years.

Image Descriptions:

  • The header is a closeup cropped photo of a woman in a white bathrobe having her thigh waxed by a spa therapist.
  • In this three quarter profile headshot of Catherine Harrison, the author, she is looking intently to the left with a thoughtful expression. She is wearing a black halter top with drop earrings.
  • “Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.” ~Dean Jackson The quote is white text on a black background.
  • “Listening means taking a second to consider what they’re saying, not just hearing their words.” ~Anonymous The quote is white text on a black background.
  • Author bio photo is a headshot of Catherine who has short blonde hair and mesmerizing green eyes. She is wearing a tan colored jacket over a white top.

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