Aaagggghhh!!! AAAAGGGGHHHHH!!! My hair stylist just informed me that he’s retiring. Can you believe it?! How could he do this to me??!! It’s not that I begrudge his putting down the scissors and putting up his feet. It’s not that I think he should work until he keels over. But does he have to retire now? Couldn’t he wait until he’s, say, ninety? You know, just another 30 years or so until whatever hair I have left is a shade of blue and can be done by the same person who is changing my Depends. Is that too much to ask? Am I being selfish here?
I do love my hair stylist and Lord knows the guy works really hard. He deserves to enjoy his golden years relaxing. But where on earth am I going to find someone to cut my hair? It’s just not that simple. Since 1978 and my first “Peter Pan” I’ve worn my hair short and boyish. Oh, there was a minute there when I got the bob and perm bug, but I quickly came to my senses and went back to the look that suits my face and lack of hair styling expertise. I don’t even own a comb. So the cut, a good cut, is ESSENTIAL. And since Brian has cut my hair, the experience is not only stylistically satisfying, the entertainment factor is immense. The guy is hysterically funny. Many are the times he’s had to wait for me to sit upright to finish my hair cut, while I, doubled over with laughter, gasped for breath. And since he owns the shop and only has one other operator, it’s quiet and easy going (except for the sound of my cackling, that is). When I was preparing for my wedding and felt like my hair wasn’t doing what it should, he cut it again, for free! He just cares. He cares. Did I mention that I drive three hours there and back for this little slice of salon heaven?
The fact is I’ve been really spoiled and now must find another spot to spoil me. A friend recommended a place very nearby that seems to be where all the hip people are going. Her hair always looks great so I figured she must be in the know. I called to speak to her stylist who also happens to be the owner, just to see if there was a rapport there. To see if she would be someone I’d like to spend an hour with every five weeks. First a supercilious assistant insisted that I make a fifteen minute consultation appointment. Said appointment could not be for another month however, as this person is so busy that she can’t squeeze in two minutes to look at my head and say hello. Okay. I understand. See you in six weeks. Then, when the appointed day arrived I walked into the salon to find myself in the midst of a bee hive, and I don’t mean the hairdo. There were about twelve operators and they were all yakking away over the drone of high powered hairdryers and the bass line of piped in techno music until I thought my head would pop off. “Are you checking in?” the receptionist says to me.
“I’m checking out.” This place is definitely not for me.
Now I’ve had my hair done in almost every major city in the country at one time or another, so it’s not like I can’t handle a big, busy salon. I mean the flip side of my local experience is Elizabeth Arden Red Door in Washington, DC, where you feel as if you need to take your shoes off and then curtsey when the intern to the assistant to the hair washer comes to fetch you for your audience with the stylist. But honestly, unless they’re wearing little green and white checked pinafores and singing “Ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ho, and a couple of tra-la-las. That’s how we laugh the day away in the merry old Land of Oz…” I prefer to not feel like I’m on the conveyor belt of a grooming assembly line. A little personal service is all I’m asking. Look at my head. Look at my face. Talk to me for a minute to know my personality and what I expect. In other words, GIVE ME A LOOK. Is that too much to ask?
In the meantime I will continue to walk up to well coiffed strangers and say “Who cuts your hair?”