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My Partner Disparaged My Profession to His High-Society Friends, So I Taught Him the Value of My Work

My journey started amid challenging circumstances. At the age of 16, my life was dramatically altered when my father abandoned us and my mother became seriously ill. Facing these hardships, I entered the workforce early, securing a position at a local hair salon.

I began at the entry level, performing tasks from shampooing clients to cleaning the floors. Yet, my resolve never wavered, and over time, I advanced through sheer determination and hard work, eventually establishing myself as a renowned hairstylist.

During this period of growth and dedication, I crossed paths with Stan at a music festival. He was a Yale law graduate, hailing from a very different background than mine.

Despite my professional achievements, Stan occasionally overlooked the intellect and creativity required in my line of work as a hairstylist.


This underlying disregard came to the forefront during a dinner with Stan and his colleagues from law school. Amidst a discussion about a topical event, when I was solicited for my viewpoint, Stan interjected dismissively before I could even speak.

Before I could articulate my thoughts, he cut in with a patronizing, “Don’t bother asking Kathy; she’s just a hairdresser. She’s not interested in this stuff, right, honey?” His remarks not only embarrassed me but also caused me to reassess the very foundation of our relationship.

Determined to address this disrespect, I orchestrated a dinner party, inviting a diverse array of my clients who included successful business owners and distinguished artists. Unbeknownst to Stan, the dinner would challenge his preconceived opinions about my profession.

Throughout the evening, our conversations illuminated the significance and influence of my role as a hairstylist.

The turning point came when a prominent business leader publicly expressed his gratitude for the confidence my services had brought him, underscoring the value of my profession.

Stan’s astonishment grew upon discovering that Mrs. Williams, his superior, was also one of my clients. “Honey, how do you know Mrs. Williams? She’s my boss. I have to introduce myself; this could be the chance for a promotion,” he said eagerly. I then escorted him to where Mrs. Williams was conversing with a group of women.

“Hello ladies, I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to my fiancé. This is Stan. Please go easy on him; he’s an assistant and can be a bit nervous around powerful women, isn’t that right, sweetheart?” I remarked in a gentle tone.

Stan was visibly unnerved and anxious. “No, no, I’m a Yale Law graduate. I’ve been with your firm for two years and I’m aiming to become a junior partner soon, and I—” he faltered, while the women merely gave him a condescending smile, reducing him to what seemed like a boastful child, before they continued their discussion.

This role reversal made Stan experience the same type of diminishment and embarrassment he had previously inflicted on me. Overcome with anger and humiliation, he later confronted me.

I clarified that my intent was not to shame him but to demonstrate the respect that all professions merit, including my own. This incident prompted a significant moment of reflection for Stan, leading him to apologize for his behavior.

However, his apology could not undo the insight gained from the incident, which revealed a deep-seated lack of mutual respect within our relationship. With profound sadness, I returned Stan’s engagement ring, realizing that our relationship could not progress without foundational respect and understanding.

This resolution marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one steered by self-respect and mutual admiration in all my relationships.

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