Choosing your hairdresser is serious business. I realized this when I switched over to a salon that wasn’t a cheap in-and-out place aka a man’s haircut was over $20.
Growing up, my mom decided who cut my hair. Usually it was this Turkish woman whose broken English I couldn’t understand, but that ended the day she cut my mom’s hair too short and my mom hurled some frozen hotdogs at the kitchen floor, she was so upset. (My mom is embarrassed I’ve retained this memory; probably more embarrassed that I’m blogging about it now.) Then my mom snipped my brother’s, dad’s, and my hair for a while – until I decided I didn’t want a buzz cut. Then we settled on a lovely woman whose chair I looked forward to warming.
Once I went to college, I saw that hairdresser less often and frequented places like Sport Clips and Hair Cutteries where I didn’t have a regular stylist. Each haircut was a new meeting where we could make small talk for 30 minutes before I dipped.
Last year things went wrong when I decided I wanted an edgy haircut aka I wanted lines cut into my hair because why not? My $20/cut hairdresser was like, “Chyeah! Why don’t we do both sides?” And then I ended up with asymmetrical lines on the side of my head that I didn’t know about until my friend told me the back of my head was ridiculous.
I boycotted and resolved myself to invest more into my hair. These are dead follicles that grow six inches every year, you know? I made an appointment at a salon where the stylist tells you that you should come back in “six weeks” or “eight weeks” as opposed to my old scheduling where I looked in the mirror and said, “I guess I need a haircut.” But this entailed committing to a singular stylist.
Committing to a person is a big deal, especially someone I’m going to see more often than I visit my parents. And this isn’t like the dentist where we say hi and then he sticks a scalpel in my mouth and I can only respond “mm” and “ah-hm” when he tells me what great teeth I have and how is my life (“Er-it-guh”).
You can only ask your hairdresser so many times where they’re from, how they became a hairdresser, do they like this area, etc. Twice is probably the max. Or else they realize you don’t pay attention/don’t care to remember their life story.
Eventually you have to manufacture heart-to-hearts. You have to talk about what you’re doing this weekend, why you’re annoyed with your coworkers, what shows you watch on TV, etc. And you all better relate to each or else there will be silence-snip-snip-silence. And silence panics me.
This is how I became friends with my hairdresser. I found out she had moved in with her boyfriend, had her fingers crossed he would propose, owned two dogs, became a vegan last year, and believed in horoscopes. I’m not sure how I learned the last thing, but I distinctly remember having my scalp massaged in the sink and being told I must be a Leo. “You can’t be a Crab,” she said. “Crabs are vicious.”
I’m actually a Taurus.
Two haircuts ago we started talking about Instagram, my favorite social media platform. My stylist told me to follow her, which I did, and she followed me back. Two days later she added me on Facebook.
Me at brunch: “My hairdresser posted about [insert brunch topic] on Facebook last week!”
Friends: “Your Facebook friends with your hairdresser?”
Me: *defensively* “She added me!”
At first I wasn’t sure who “Kathy Mary George” was, but after surveying profile pictures and scrolling through “Mercy for Animals” posts and PETA videos, I understood: this was my hairdresser. My stylist and I had officially reached friendship status – outside the salon.
At my next appointment, we fell back on old conversation aka what we watched on TV. Since I don’t really watch TV, I can only talk about three shows: House of Cards, Game of Thrones, and American Horror Story. Oh, I can also discuss Lost.
My hairdresser used to watch AHS, but wasn’t into this current season. I summarized the current storyline – basically, serial killers – and we found we both had a morbid fascination with serial killers aka we both know who John Wayne Gacy and H.H. Holmes are without being prodded by “the killer clown” or “the killer at the world’s fair and the creepy hotel.” We discussed Ted Bundy with her scissors dangerously close to my neck.
“I’ll have to catch up on American Horror Story,” my hairdresser declared as I scheduled my next appointment for in two weeks. “Next time we can talk all about it!”
Last week I saw my hairdresser had posted on Facebook:
Omg why is this season of AHS so awful!! What a letdown. I mean, does anybody even enjoy this trash?
…I do. Awkward…
This is when being Facebook friends with your hairdresser gets dicey. I did not like that status. But at least I know next time I see her we won’t talk “all about AHS.” I can congratulate her, however, on her recent relationship status change: she got engaged.
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