“Oh, this is going to look so bad. Let me say that I warned you girl!” – Muttered by my newest (and more recently fired) hairdresser as she was cutting my golden locks.
Every six months, I drag myself off to the salon to get my hair cut. To me, haircuts are more painful than dentist visits… they’re anxiety-ridden, pulse racing nightmares. Well, for starters, I possess a very sensitive scalp, and some stylists are quite painful with their “tools.” And can we say something about those sinks? I swear, Guantanamo Bay must use them as instruments of torture… Sitting back to get your hair washed and conditioned in a position that only contortionists could love is never pleasant. And well, you never know what you’re going to get. You can either walk out of the salon looking like a beauty queen… or a pauper. Take your pick. Even with the best people, all have off days.
I finally found a hair stylist in Washington that I truly like. She has always been good to me… and my poor hair. But against my better judgement, I decided to break our bond and buy a Groupon for a competitor’s place… and received my bi-annual haircut extravaganza last Monday. (Hey! Times are tough. The cheap side of me can never resist a bargain.)
So I made my appointment and showed up on time. The stylist asks me what I wanted. “Straight blunt cut, chin length, no layers, angled at the front,” I said. “Oh.” She pauses for a second. “That will look terrible on you…”
* * *I have curly, wavy hair. I think I scored in the hair department. It’s shiny (without me trying to do anything), and falls quite well. I don’t even have to style it. I just pull the sides up in a clip loosely and leave the house. No fuss. Which is great because I hate funking up my hair with hairspray, gels and other potions that make my head oily. As for my cut, my round face won’t tolerate bangs. They look, frankly idiotic on me. “Fancier” haircuts with layers are a no-no. I’ll end up looking like Little Orphan Annie! So ever since I wrestled my hair away from my mother (who liked my hair very short, feathered and layered with bangs… Hey, it was the 80s! My yearbooks show the horror of her ways), I have had the same style… you guessed it… “straight blunt cut, chin length, no layers, angled in the front.” (Apparently, it’s the same haircut as Victoria Beckham…) I have let my hair grow longer at times, and have thought about “changing it up” periodically over the years… but every time I go back to the salon, I always ask for the same, boring cut. I know what looks good on me. Well, until I didn’t… obviously (to the hairstylist), I have been looking horrible for years!
I was steadfast. I wasn’t going to change my hairstyle just so she could experiment on me. I have to go home in a few weeks and stand for hours taking pictures with my family! No can do. Give me what I want. “Ok. It’s your funeral.” (She actually said that!) “Maybe you should get highlights. That will make it look better!” I declined. (My hair is already blonde from the summer; I’m trying to grow it out. No. No more blonde.)
So off we went to the torture chamber to bathe my hair. She proceeded to wash my hair in magical potion, telling me that I could have beautiful, manageable hair with this product for only $49.99!!! “Your hair is so dry! You should be using this shampoo and conditioner! I’ll add it to your total, okay?” I ignored her over my pain.
With my neck substantially cricked, I sat down to get my haircut. She picked up my hair, pointed her scissors towards my neck, and cut off 2 inches in one fell swoop. I nearly had a panic attack. Why did this lady hate my hair so much? It certainly had done nothing to her! It just needed some hedge trimming. Usually, with my thick a$$ hair, it takes about 45 minutes to cut fully, letting down each layer, clip by clip, and expertly cutting each portion to the same length. She was done in 10. No clippie thingies required. Just her eyes, some water and her scissors. It honestly took her longer to blowdry my hair straight. Needless to say, I was freaking out.
And just to add to my misery, the worst song in the history of songs blared over the radio:
“… Sweet home Alabama Where the skies are so blue Sweet Home Alabama Lord, I’m coming home to you…”
[What is the deal with straight hair on the East Coast? In Texas, where I’m from, my curly hair is adored and admired. Stylists go out of their way to tease it as high up to the sky as possible. In Washington, everybody (including my favorite hair cutter) tames the beast. I was heading home after the cut, so I didn’t care one way or the other if my hair was wavy or straight. I was just praying that my hair looked decent. Oh, and I needed my hair dry, as it was cold outside. ]
Finally, after 30 minutes of running a round hairbrush and hairdryer through my hair, she rubbed some more product in it and was done. “Okay, this wasn’t the cut I would have given you, but I hope you like it,” she said as she turned me towards the mirror to see her masterpiece. Maybe I’m a hair novice, but I thought it looked great! Bravo, lady for cutting my hair to my specifications (under duress).
(For the record, I never learned what haircut she would have treated me to, given her choice. Honestly, I don’t care. I like my old standby… and am sticking with it.)
On my way out, of course, she tried to add $70 worth of product to the bill. (Why do salons do that? It’s annoying as hell.) I declined nicely, and asked for the haircut/blowdry service only. With my Groupon, the haircut total was quite reasonable. And I left her a great tip to boot, only because my hair really did look good (to me.)
As much as I’m loving my new ‘do, I’m afraid I’m not going back. It’s not me. It’s her. In six months, I’ll make an appointment with my original hairstylist, apologize to her profusely for ever thinking about leaving her… and let her do her magic. (And yes, barely tolerate the experience as well.)