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.
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.
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.