Never underestimate the importance of a good hat.
I don’t enjoy getting my hair cut. It’s always a risk and I’ve had five too many bad experiences. When I was younger, I was very shy and found it hard to ask for anything. I used to get my extroverted brother to ask for me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in sitting in on my hair appointments, selfish, selfish boy, and I wasn’t capable of expressing what I wanted. I still have nightmares about one cut, the queen of all bad hairdos.
I was in junior high and had a boyfriend. I didn’t after leaving that salon. His parting words were, “You should’ve left it the way it was.”
That “trained professional” cut my bangs so short, they stuck straight out, a useless awning on my ape-like forehead, just what every awkward teenage girl needs. I should have told her to go ahead and take it all off. Then, at least, I could’ve entered a monastery. The growing out period would’ve been less traumatic.
After the monk incident, I jumped around, never being satisfied enough to return to anyone. There have been a few stylists who had magic scissors, but they all evaporated, leaving me looking like crazy lady #2 caressing a crumpled business card outside some space labeled “for lease”.
In the last number of years, a particular hairstylist changed my criteria for judging a good hairdresser from a hack. He put me in front of a mirror and talked about what he saw. He looked at my hair, while dry—the color, the texture, the current style. He made suggestions. I was taken aback. I didn’t know it could be this way. You’d think my rambling days were through, but, alas, this sculptor of locks, this tress artiste, this snipping sensation, was a vacation rendezvous, never meant to be a lasting relationship. Sigh.
My most recent hairdresser had the same kind of talent. I called to make my yearly appointment and discovered she had packed up her tickle trunk and quit the business. To say that I was disturbed is an understatement. I even contemplated stalking her, but decided against it. She works with sharp instruments.
What was I to do? I have a friend whose hair always looks cute and fresh. I decided to give her man a try. He was an attractive, young guy with cool locks. (If a hairdresser has bed head, a bowl cut, or a mullet, run the other way.) I told him I like to straighten my hair. He nodded. Good. He was getting me. We chatted while he clipped away. When he began to blow dry, I started to worry. All the moussing and rolling and coaxing left me with a wavy style that I knew I’d be unable to reproduce. It looked good when I left, but not thereafter and it was lopsided. I could only stand to look at the disparity for a couple of weeks. I did the unthinkable, for most normal people. I took a swath of hair off that I would instantly regret. What followed was more regret and more fringe in my hand.
My next trip to my second new hairdresser was equally agitating. I couldn’t return to the first guy. I didn’t want him to see the topiary tree I’d made of my head. She assured me she had blended my creative license, but when I arrived home the mirror screamed otherwise. I tried waiting another month, thinking a little growth would even things out, but to no avail.
I began searching through the phone book for a salon with computer imaging. I thought maybe if I had a photograph I’d be guaranteed results, but why I thought this, I’ve no idea. I’ve had numerous haircuts where the stylist was supposed to be working from a picture and what I wanted should have been possible. I only get my haircut once a year and when I present myself, I have a long, thick mane to work with. The cut I end up with is always much shorter and often looks nothing like the hair in the picture. I’ve come to realize that I’m simply expecting too much in this regard.
My final trip to my third new hairdresser was a fiasco. I sat there for an hour with a woman who didn’t even know how to work a computer. When I’m telling her what to do with her computer—that’s a bad sign. We settled on one photograph, her and I and I ignored the fire alarm blaring in my brain. At the end of all this woman’s cutting and fussing, “wispy”, she kept saying, I resembled an octogenarian—you could see my scalp! I must’ve looked sick as I slid out of the chair, because she seemed to be trying to reassure me.
“If I think I don’t do a good job, I make you sit back down, but you.., you.., you look like a movie star!”
If I wanted to look like Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame wearing a halo of stretched-too-thin cotton candy, who I think, by the way, is a very attractive man, I could have done it myself.
I drove home trying to remain positive. I thought if I style it myself, I’ll like it. She told me I’d be able to “shake it and go”, a suggestion that would appeal greatly to a busy mother of three. I wet my hair, shook it, and decided the only place I’d be going was into my closet to cry. I looked like a cartoon cat that had floated out of the dryer. Only a woman with a face cut like a diamond could pull off a fur ball. What’s more, I wake up and I’ve got my own propeller. I could do the traffic for the local radio station.
I’ve had people tell me they think it looks cute (great, I look like a stuffed animal), but the loss of my big, beautiful hair saddens me.
My husband asked me why I was so upset and I said, “It’s something I really liked about myself. I prized it. Bad hair days only existed for me if I didn’t do it. Otherwise, it was always attractive and manageable and now it’s gone and I miss it.”
I know. Time grows all hairs. I’m pulling on it and coping with it and dreading the day I have to set foot in another “beauty” parlor.
Author’s Note: This happened a number of years ago and I haven’t made peace with the process. I still often get my hair cut twice. Feel free to put your near hair disasters in the comments section. Hair misery loves company. Have a happy day! 🙂