The first rule of beauty school—in the middle ages, when I attended—never speak of three things to your client, religion, politics, or sex. Yes, that last one was ignored, a lot, but the others remained taboo long after I graduated.
All of these are hot-button, polarizing topics that could make or break your career. I’ve seen it happen in action. You could give a client the best experience of their life in your chair, but because of what you said behind it, they won’t be back. Not only will then not be back, they’ll tell their friends. And your tip will probably end up as a white chocolate mocha in your client’s hand, instead of yours.
I’m not talking censorship here, I’m talking commonsense.
Each and every one of us knows these topics can and will cause discussions that will possibly lead to offense. You have every right to ‘your’ beliefs and the right to speak ‘your’ mind. Picking the opportune moment to do so is the key. If you are put into such a situation, there are polite ways to maneuver a conversation away from these topics, use them.
I believe this rule to also be true for myself as a writer. I stay away from hot-button topics on purpose. Maybe because of my past training, maybe because I get tired of the non-discussion of others. My job as a writer is to entertain my readers, not press my views onto others, or condemn them because they don’t agree. Be truthful, do you as readers really care about my views on any of the above? Didn’t think so.
In this age of preached tolerance, I find it very difficult to tolerate others who are of the opinion their way is the only way. In this age of anti-bullying, I find it appalling to see how those with strong views push their ideas onto others, without considering their thoughts or feelings.
There is no compromise and never will be until we learn to have discussions. True discussions, where everyone is allowed to explain their views, look for ways in which they intersect, and can work together. Until that day comes, I’ll try and stick to the first rule of beauty school.