Saturday, April 26, 2008

got my hair did

one of these days i'm going to find me a hairdresser who takes one look at me and says, " boy, do i have the perfect haircut for YOU!"
i have been a hair victim for many years now. i've had more hairdressers than you've had hot dinners. i cannot stay faithful to one because eventually they will do something to my head that i feel is an insult forcing me to move on. trouble is i have now been to so many salons in the city that i am running out of options.
it's not that i'm hard to please exactly it's just that i have very particular needs when it comes to my head.
i don't want a 'do'.
it must look and feel 'natural', yet be expertly cut and styled and be unique to me without making me look too 'different' from the norm.
it must look modern yet not too current.
it's got to be wash and wear and must not require blow styling with brushes and accoutrements every morning. who's got the time? or the talent? let's face it.
are my requests unreasonable i ask?
of course not you say.
oh and let's not forget the colour. the colour must be... well that's a whole other blog.
if i want to go to the same salon twice and change hairdressers then i can only go when the former stylist of choice is on his/her day off. try organizing that one.
if i want to try out a new stylist in a new location then i have to take them at face value. i can't ask for their credentials or give them a photo of the style i want because that will immediately intimidate them or make them defensively say, 'well you can't have THAT style because, a) you don't have enough hair, or b) your have the wrong kind of hair or c) have you ever thought about wearing a wig?
and the recommendations of friends is a killer. you just know that your hair and your friend's hair will never look like they were done by the same stylist. she will have a vidal sassoon, you will have a sweeney todd. that's just life unfortunately.

so the other day i was two weeks into thinking, 'i need a haircut' and 'i don't know where to go'.
i was at the coffee shop before work and was daydreaming about whether i could pull off wearing a jaunty cap these days and not have to worry about my hair anymore when a campy guy in line 'mimicked' my english accent as i ordered my morning glory muffin and coffee.
"mawning glawry muhffin" he repeated after me in what he perhaps thought was a perfect parody of my geordie accent.
it was quite awful actually.
but i laughed politely because i'd just spotted that he was dressed nicely, had great hair and was wearing a belt with a fancy sheath holding scissors.
'my new hairdresser?' i almost squealed.
then i noticed he had tattoos. of the home made variety. on the side of his neck and the back of his head.
i don't mind a good tattoo but this was obviously done in a moment of boredom with pen, ink and a sharp instrument! is this someone i want messing with my head and my fragile psyche i pondered?
i don't think so.
i crossed him off before he even made it to the short list.

so i went to my local mall the other evening and as i have done in the past i looked in the door of the two salons that i have frequented most often. i saw that both salons were occupied by two of my ex-stylists so of course i couldn't possibly go in there.
you can NEVER go to another stylist when your former stylist is on duty.
they will sneer at you thru the mirror as they hiss in a pretence of being interested ' so-o-o how did the operation/holiday/birth/death/new job turn out?" making you squirm uncomfortably under the eye of the 'new' stylist who now realizes you are a serial-client.
an unfaithful client who jumps ship.
someone not to be taken seriously at all.
how low can you possibly go?

i carried on down the mall and seeing a few stylists lolling about looking bored near the front of the last salon in the mall which i had never before entered, i ventured bravely in.
virgin territory.
a clean slate.
i explained to the receptionist that my stylist had recently retired due to having children and that i was left in a state of limbo.
(you HAVE to lie about these things. the worst thing you can do is let your new stylist think that you are someone who doesn't have the ability to hang on to a good hairdresser. then they just KNOW you are not worth their trouble and that they have carte blance to do virtually what they want to your head.)
i spotted a girl with stylish dress, great hair and figure and fabulous plum coloured fingernails and a beautiful sleeve tattoo, definitely not home made.
i made eye contact. alas she had a customer coming in so they recommended michelle.
michelle was leaning on the counter with a vacant yet friendly expression.
she was dressed in a modern style with a shop-bought tattoo on her arm and a dramatic pink streak going across her red hair.
so far so good.
michelle came up with a cape and asked me what i wanted.
i explained, in great detail. lest there be a court case later then no one could say i didn't make my wishes known from the outset.
michelle washed my hair.
no soap in the eyes, no water down the neck and no sudden shocks of temperature changes.
things were off to a good start.
michelle took me to her chair.
michelle's station was dirty. brushes lying abandoned with matted 'hair' on them.
hair products uncapped and uncorked and ugh, hair of several different colours and textures lying on the floor beneath my chair.
i.e. from more than one previous victim/client.
her potted plant was dry and dusty.
her photos of her dog were dog eared (!) and stained.
michelle asked me how long had i been 'down' from england? and wasn't it neat that i hadn't lost my accent.
and was it true that it rained all the time in england and she'd never been 'up' there but would love to go one day.
go now, i was thinking.
uneasy feelings of deja vu began to stir.
i didn't want to make small talk because i needed to concentrate on the job in hand. if you don't watch every comb/scissor maneuver then you're going to miss something very important.
michelle didn't seem confident about handling scissors and holding hair at the same time.
she lifted a hank then peered then snipped then peered again.
i was beginning to sweat.
'how long have you been working here?" i tentatively enquired in a pretence at small talk.
"since march."michelle replied confidently.
"oh that's nice and how long have you been a stylist? i asked in as friendly and interested a manner as i could muster.
"oh since october." michelle replied making eye contact thru the mirror and smiling serenely.
'but i swept floors for the first few months." she added by way of a disclaimer.
my instinct told me to rip off the cape and run for my life but she'd got my head in her hands. literally.
so i sat.
and sweated.
i've blanked out the rest of it.

when it was over i paid and gave her a tip. (i don't know why but not giving her one would acknowledge failure on both of our parts; hers as a 'stylist' and mine as a 'client.')
i briefly glanced in the mirror as i left and thought i saw a reflection of someone who looked like 'the little dutch girl with a cap of pointed wings'.
when i got home m.o.h. asked what happened to my hair.
'who cut it? ' he wanted to know
'michelle' i answered.
'not going back there then' he said.
'no.' i answered.
'i'll have to find a new stylist'.
in another town i suppose.

12 comments:

Sara said...

oh god, I have to agree with everything you just said about finding the perfect hairdresser!! that post just made me laugh so much!!
I dont think I've ever stayed with the same hairdresser more than once cos I haven't found anyone thats impressed me that much!
Actually going to get my hair restyled on Tuesday, I already have butterflies! I always get the same nervous/excited feeling!
I'll probably get some 20 year old beauty school drop out who wants to make me look like a footballers wife!!
haha
x

Sara said...

see, mam doesnt have this problem. Shes been going to the same girl in Hadrian Park for years. BUT then again shes easily pleased!
x

Clippy Mat said...

may God be with you Sara.
xxx a.p.

wor vron said...

easily pleased indeed!! I am just the perfect client with perfect hair -they queue up to style me -n I wouldnt pay the bliddy prices in town!!!!
Its true sis you've had some darza haircuts in the past -the afro perm stands out in my mind as a fave or was it the purdy?!!!
lol xxx

clinka said...

i've got the PERFECT girl for you... give me a ring.
jbxo

Jan said...

COIFFEURED COMMISERATIONS Pat;this is precisely why i've had long hair with a centre parting since i was 16 - absolutley terrified of anything more than a quick trim!!!!!!! Jan x
ps,ROFL - (rolling on floor laughing)

Anonymous said...

Now you know why its called getting your hair 'done' and like you I certainly have been and while hating the cut/style/even the colour on occasions still stumped up with my hard earned cash while grimacing "Great I love it!" through clenched teeth, then spending ages at home washing drying and attempting to style it into something resembling a 'decent' look that won't frighten the kids or cause work colleagues to cringe sympathetically in corners or vainly attempting to cover their mirth with sympathetic mutterings!! Luckily the guy I go to now was in my class at school and as he considers himself to be the epitome of 'cool' I can blackmail him into doing a good job on me barnet (!rhyming slang i.e. barnret fair = hair!!) because I have some very dodgy photos of him looking decidedly ubcool playing with the girls at school.

Clippy Mat said...

vron:
i did have the perm. i went back the next day and made them straighten it after everyone at work said i looked like a robot!
the purdy: yes, well that was one of my faves. it was joanna lumley inspired from the avengers.i thought i looked dead cool--for about 5 minutes.
jan:
i wish i'd just left my locks in their original state too and saved my self years of misery, not to mention loadsa cash!
anonymous:
if only i had had the foresight to blackmail a stylist over the years i wouldn't be in this shape now!
clinka:
does your perfect girl know what she'll be up against? how much do you like her as a friend?

Emma-Kate Castricum said...

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, hilarious! I know exactly how you feel, it's like your story was mine. My ex hairdresser stood behind me the other day in the line at the post office and I wanted the ground to eat me up as she tapped me on the shoulder!

I think I've been blackbanned from all of the salons in my town. Thank god I have long hair and it only needs a cut every 5 or 6 months.

Dont worry about your little dutch girl cut, I always say to my hubby, I'll just wear it in a pony tail for a while, it will be back to normal in 3to 4 weeks!!

Em

Clippy Mat said...

unfortunately for me emma kate michelle did such a number on my head with my little dutch girl look, that i couldn't say, as you did, that i'd just wear it in a pony tail for a while. neither could i tuck it behind my ears. i'm definitely getting a hat or a wig! :-))

Anonymous said...

lol you're unreal!!!
xxjenn

Clippy Mat said...

i so know it! :-)