I was struck by something a friend said the other day about how we open up to strangers about things we might not mention to our nearest and dearest.

The friend in question was sitting next to a woman on a plane, heading back home to London after going to visit his elderly mother who was very unwell. He had been torn about leaving because he thought it might be the last time he would see her. His mind was working overtime, questioning whether he had made the right decision.

The stranger asked – without malice – why he was going home. My friend then opened up about his dilemma and how he felt that he needed to get home to spend time with his partner so that he could be strong enough to deal with the moment his mum actually died, and the difficult days that would lie ahead.

He says: “I felt like my travel companion was my conscience made real: 'Why are you going back to London?' And in talking to her I realised that this was the correct choice. We then spoke about shared experiences in grief and toasted our mothers with champagne.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Hair and beauty salons are where we feel safe to speak about innermost secrets, knowing it won’t

It eased his guilt and gave him comfort about his decision. “I actually believe she was heaven sent,” he says.

When I go to get my hair cut, I talk to my stylist about all sorts of stuff that I wouldn’t mention to those I know, liberated in the knowledge that I don’t have to filter what I say to protect other people’s feelings. I’m sure there’s a name for this kind of informal talking therapy and I can imagine the same goes for all kinds of practitioners in the beauty industry.

This week I have had both my nails and my hair done, so mentioned the theme of this column during my appointments. It was universally acknowledged that their salons were safe spaces where people felt at ease sharing their most intimate of thoughts.

They told me tales of women cheating on their husbands and men leaving their wives, alongside other misdemeanours often committed under the influence of alcohol. But the most shocking revelation was shared by an unfortunate bride-to-be. On the night before her wedding, her fiancé asked to meet her saying he had to make a confession before he could marry her. He then admitted that he had slept with another woman. As devastating as that was, though, it was not the worst bit. The worst bit was that the woman he had slept with was her own mother. That is some salon revelation!

On the subject of confessions, we all know that people who have had too much to drink sometimes say things they wouldn’t normally, but what I want to know is, is what they say true, or just nonsense fuelled by the alcohol?

The reason I ask is because a few years ago I went out with someone that I had recently met and didn’t know very well. I’m not sure if it was nerves or the fact that I terrified him, but he was downing glasses of wine very quickly and was soon rather worse for wear. He then started to talk rather too loudly about his ‘fantasies’, and I began to feel distinctly uncomfortable. He leaned in a bit closer and asked if I wanted to know what he most fantasised about. I started to protest, but he was oblivious to my discomfort and would not be stopped.

“I fantasise about driving down a dark country lane. Then, in my headlights I spot a couple walking hand in hand along the road,” he began.

“Oh-oh,” I thought, “I don’t want to hear about his saucy dreams involving other couples.”

He carried on. “Then when they turn around, I see it is my ex-wife and her new boyfriend. So I put my foot down and run them both over!”

My jaw dropped. I was NOT expecting that. I didn’t know whether I was relieved that it wasn’t sexual, or even more disturbed that he fantasised about murdering his ex-wife. Needless to say, that was the last time I went out with him, and as far as I am aware, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend never came to any harm.

So tell me, have you been subject to any surprising confessions from strangers?

Contact me via my webpage at countrymansdaughter.com, or email dst@nne.co.uk.