Thursday, July 10, 2008

Long-Winded Hair Musings

Despite the fact that M., Finn and I moved to our new community over a year ago, I have yet to find a new hairdresser. Until this past weekend. Maybe. It was much easier to just let my hair grow out than go through the effort of Googling hair salons, picking one out of the blue, and crossing my fingers.

In fact, I did get one haircut in all that time. However, the experience was not great, and I have blocked many of the details, including what time of year it was, from my memory. Let’s just say that, while the haircut I received was quite adequate, the woman wielding the scissors was a complete nut job. I am convinced that she sits by the phone of the salon, waiting for unsuspecting new clients like me to call who don’t know which stylist to request, so that she can assign them to herself. It’s the only way she can make a living, because I’m sure she does not have a lot of repeat customers.

So, flash forward several months from that one haircut. My hair is now quite long, and bordering on straw-like. In sore need of SOMETHING – perhaps just shaving it off and starting all over again? Too drastic? I decide that a haircut is in order, and I want it to be on the short side. Can’t (won’t) go back to the crazy lady, so what now?

I could go to my neighbor’s salon. My neighbor in the townhouse abutting ours is very nice, and she owns her own salon in a nearby town. But, what if I don’t like my haircut? What if her prices are too high? What if I went to her a few times, and then felt the need to switch to a different salon? We don’t have the easiest rapport, and while she is somewhat obsessed with Finn in all his cute glory, I’m not even certain she knows my name. All in all, I think it would be awkward to live next to your hairdresser. But maybe I just think that because I’m a naturally reserved and shy person. Or a paranoid freak.

I decided to make an appointment at the nearby salon and spa. It’s a spa, so it should be Klassy, right? I had no problem getting an appointment for a Saturday afternoon, only a couple of days in advance, which I thought was a little odd. When I arrived, the place was not exactly hopping. There was one person receiving a pedicure, and one person getting her hair dyed. One cute, put-together receptionist, one very skilled hair washer, and my hairdresser. We’ll call her Nan. Nan, who had wild, curly long hair that could use some taming. A little “Brillo pad gone wild,” if I’m being honest. Sloppy clothes, and a minimum amount of make up on. Not exactly fitting the stereotype of your typical hairdresser. I mean, aren’t hairdressers REQUIRED to have stylish, well-groomed hair? It’s like an advertisement for their skills, right?

I had no idea what kind of cut I wanted. Nan helpfully suggested an asymmetric bob that is shorter in the back and longer in the front, with some layers throughout. Sounds great to me, and it’s apparently “in” right now, so bonus points for that.

After my marvelous shampoo experience (why can’t I wash my own hair like that??), Nan sits me down and begins. A little bit of gruff small talk is exchanged, but we are mostly silent. I actually don’t like talking during my haircuts, so this is fine with me. The hair starts coming off, and I feel 100 pounds lighter. We pause between the snipping and the blow dry/styling so that Nan can perform a bang trim on a walk-in customer. Yes! A third client! Maybe this place does see some traffic, I start thinking. The trim is free, and I’m a little annoyed that Nan has interrupted my paying experience to help this woman/Human Yeti who clearly needs much more than a bang trim. As Nan snips, the woman talks about how she’s kicked her boyfriend out of her house. She has an injured toe because she’s been cleaning like mad since he left. The impetus for his leaving? She filed a restraining order against him for assault and battery. First, waaaaay too much sharing, if you ask me. And second, yikes! What kind of clientele frequents this salon and day spa in the middle of suburbia? These are conversations that would not occur in the idyllic bliss of my New England hometown, but maybe things are different here in the Metro D.C. area.

Very long story to say, I have a new ‘do. I like it, though I may want to go even shorter with even more layers next time. But I’m hesitant to go back to Nan and her ghost-town of a salon. I feel more comfortable in a busy place with a dozen stylists with impeccable (though sometimes questionable) highlights and hair cuts, manicured nails, head-to-toe black garb and clicky impractical heels. And clients that don’t file restraining orders. Does it make me shallow? I mean, I don’t get all dolled up every day, why should my hairdresser have to? Yet I hesitate. Perhaps I’ll be back, in about 6 weeks time, or perhaps the saga of looking for a stylist continues.

Now I just have to think of a way to explain my new haircut to my neighbor somehow. Do you think she’ll believe me if I say my hair just fell out in the shower one day?

1 comment:

  1. They must have some online resources where people comment on particular salons/stylists so you can find a good one (or see if your neighbor's is good). I agree about how awkward it would be if you don't like her. But if she is good at her job she'll understand that sometimes there isn't a good fit.

    My salon just changed management and now the chairs are so small I can barely fit my ass in them. Think I'm no longer welcome?