About a month ago, I thought it would be a really good idea to use a groupon for a haircut. I felt it was time for a change. Nothing too dramatic, but my hair had gotten to be about 8 feet long and it badly needed layering. I was also contemplating getting bangs because I had recently admired the bangs of someone super cute who also happened to be my age. I figured if she could pull it off, so could I. I had bangs my whole life until college. I grew them out and never looked back. But maybe it was time.
One thing you should know is, I have always taken pride in my hair. It’s one of the few things I generally feel confident about. I mean come on ladies, I don’t care how self conscious you are, or how awkward and unpretty you feel a good deal of the time, don’t you have that one feature that you know kind of kicks ass? That’s how I am about my hair. It’s usually the one thing I can count on to look good, even when I’m not speaking to my face and I’m on bad terms with the extra weight I may be harboring on my frame. My hair is pretty reliable, and very low maintenance. If it looks funky, I can straighten it in a few minutes and make it behave. Sure, sometimes it drives me crazy, but in general, it’s there for me like a good friend.
All of that aside, sometimes my hair bores the crap out of me. Sometimes it gets so long, it just hangs there like a wrinkled sweater, and I feel like a homeless person who hasn’t showered. And that’s when I have showered, because luckily, I have a home, with, you know, running water, and stuff. Anyway, what I’m really trying to tell you is how stringy and blah my hair can be. It doesn’t like to be put up in a ponytail – it will rebel by being all bumpy on my head instead of laying flat. It doesn’t like to be put up half way in a half ponytail thing and it demonstrates it’s resentment by frizzing up and getting fly aways when it has to sit still for too long. For the most part, it likes to be touched, spoken to gently, and kept out of the rain, for the love of all that is decent and holy.
Of course, in the days leading up to the haircut, my hair was taunting me by looking extra good. It was texturized just so and the ends were flipping in that adorable way, without my even having to try. But I knew it was faking it. The moment I decided not to go through with the cut, it would be back to being a petulant child. I wasn’t buying it, and I had a discount for a haircut at a place I’d never been to.
Side note: I have a really awesome regular hair stylist. She should really be called a hair maestro, because she’s just that magical. But you know, sometimes it’s stressful trying to make conversation and the price is a little high, and yeah, I thought, oh what the hey, let me just try this other place.
When I arrived for my appointment, I immediately got a bad feeling. The salon was empty. There were no other customers, and only one lady sitting behind the front desk. She told me she would be right with me. I had guessed, incorrectly, that she was simply the receptionist. As soon as I realized she would be cutting my hair, I became extremely wary. I hate to sound judgmental. In any other setting, I would not be critiquing someone else’s personal appearance so harshly. But this was the person I was entrusting my hair to for goodness sakes. I would’ve felt a little better if she, herself, had nice hair. But her hair looked terrible! And she was older – maybe in her 60’s. Which is fine! My parents are in their 60’s! There’s nothing wrong with aging! But again, when it comes to my hair, I sort of want someone who might be up to date on the latest styles and trends. Plus, the woman was dressed very frumpily, and the decor of the salon looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 80’s. It looked like the kind of salon that specializes in setting rollers into the hair of little blue haired old ladies. Think about it – would you want your doctor to be hacking up a lung, grotesquely overweight, and unkempt? Would you want your dentist to have yellow teeth and bad breath? There’s a certain look that fits certain jobs. I want my hair stylist to be modern, regardless of her age, and to have good hair herself. Or at the very least good hygiene.
I decided to forego the bangs. It was too risky under the circumstances. I had already decided I would get basically the haircut I already had, simply a couple inches shorter. And then I could go to my regular hair stylist for any deviations from the norm. Now I don’t pretend to know much about how to cut hair, but I assume that a hair stylist of any caliber, can see if you have layers, and simply follow them the way they’ve already been cut. Not so with this lady. First she chopped a good five or six inches off my hair – way more than I had specified. And then, and then… wait. Take a deep breath. Are you sitting down? Ok, here goes. And then she pulled all of my hair except for the very underneath layer up into a ponytail on top of my head and chopped another two or three inches off the end of the ponytail. Yes, yes she did. I know, the horror is a little much to grasp all at once, so go back and read that slowly. She pulled. Most of my hair. Into a high ponytail. And chopped. This was how she did layers. This would be how I imagine a kindergartener, having only a rudimentary understanding of layered hair, would style the hair of her Barbie dolls.
After the brutal chopping, she didn’t blend the layers in. She didn’t razor them to make uneven ends, she simply left the top all blunt and jagged. Wait, can something be both blunt and jagged? Well, you get the idea. My hair is thick anyway. It’s thick hanging half way down my back. At a mere few inches from my scalp, it looks like it might take over the planet if left alone for a few minutes. I asked the stylist to thin it out a bit – a trick I had seen done many times with good results on my hair in the past. She adamantly refused saying that thinning it out wouldn’t work. I should also mention that while cutting my hair, she complained nonstop about my cartilage piercing, saying she couldn’t cut my hair correctly with it in my ear. I told her I had gotten it over three years ago and had never taken it out and that I was afraid to since I may not be able to get it back in right. She said, “what’s the big deal? It’s just a little earring.” I didn’t back down. I should’ve said, “what’s the big deal? I’ve gotten plenty of perfectly fine haircuts with it in my ear.”
When I walked out of the salon I felt like Samson. I looked like I was wearing a mushroom on my head. I basically had “the Rachel”, a haircut I wanted badly… twenty years ago. I looked the salon up on yelp and found it got miserable reviews. I couldn’t believe I had been so stupid. I called my regular hair stylist and made an appointment. After I explained everything to her and she took a look at my hair, she was in shock. She said the haircut was uneven, outdated, and far too short. She fixed it as best she could and I took solace in the fact that it would grow back. Meanwhile, I wake up every morning with short pieces sticking straight up. I blow dry it with a big round brush like I always have and it doesn’t lie flat. I try straightening it and I end up looking like a rock star from the 80’s with a glorified mullet. It’s finally, finally starting to look good again. I have new sympathy for people who regularly experience bad hair days. I’ve always known what to do to make my hair look good but lately I’ve been at a loss. I know that it’s punishing me, rebelling, getting a tattoo on it’s underage skin, sneaking out of the house to meet up with a boy in the middle of the night, acting out like a teenager with a mood disorder. And the worst part is, I don’t blame it a bit.