Monday, February 12, 2007

The Tale of the Crazy Hair Lady

As I went into the process of getting a short cut, I struggled with the decision of who would cut my hair. I am a very frugal person, and have been known to trim my own hair to avoid paying for it. I knew this cut was beyond my limited ability, so a stylist was a must. But which one?

There's my stylist, Lynn. I've been to her twice, which is a sign of loyalty from me. It's only $10.95 for a haircut (add on $10 for actually fixing it), so that's been my choice for haircuts, if needed. But then again, would I get a good cut for $10.95? I was a little skeptical. Plus, English is not her native language. Would she understand, "Pixie cut, but longer in the back because of this weird cowlick thing I have"?

Then there was the nicer salon with a more expensive stylist. Jen was $35, but she would also have a consultation about what haircut fit my face and hair type the best. I liked that idea, but wondered if it would cost extra. Then there was the problem of trims later on. I certainly wasn't going to spend $35 every time I got a trim! So I would have Lynn trim it, but if I couldn't trust her with the initial haircut, could I trust her with the trim?

I finally remembered that my mom, who keeps her hair quite short, has gotten her hair cut by Lynn, and really liked it, so I shouldn't worry. I promptly made an appointment with Lynn, though it took a while to understand that "Twa" was not two, it was not ten, it was twelve. And that's when my appointment would be.

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I arrive at noon, armed with photos and a friend, Margie, who vows to stay by my side and make sure my hair does not come to ruin. It turns out that "twelve" is just a general term, and we finally make it to the chair at 12:30. My first hint at danger should be the chunks of hair still on the floor, but I decide to ignore it. Lynn is in such a hurry, she does not bother to sweep her previous customer's hair up. Even my own hair grosses me out once it's left my head! And now I am stepping on salt-and-pepper locks, and it's crunching under my shoes. "It's only $10.95, it's only $10.95...."

I hand Lynn the photos; she looks at me and laughs, "Are you sure??" Yes, I am!

Lynn makes quick work of my haircut. About three minutes after she starts, it has transformed into a cute bob with those long bangs that are in style now. Lynn reaches for the hairdryer, and it is then that I realize she thinks she's done.

"Wait! This is too long!"

"No, you don't want it that short. This is good for your face!"

"But I don't want a bob. I want a pixie!" (I realize I'm sounding a little like the whiny six-year-old in the waiting area.)

Lynn leaves for a moment, evidently to wax someone's eyebrows. She's been quite distracted the whole time, and Margie is pretty sure she's never even glanced at the photos I brought. I start to worry that the growing number of people flipping through hair books in the waiting area is causing Lynn to think more about the clock than my hair. "It's only $10.95, it's only $10.95...."

Lynn returns, and without a word begins working on my hair again. And again, three minutes later, she reaches for the blowdryer.

"Wait! Is it finished?"

With an exasperated sigh, Lynn hands me a mirror to inspect before she fixes it. It's all wet and stuck to my head, but it seems like it might be okay. I hand the mirror back, and she finishes drying my hair. At this point, I can't see the mirror, but Margie is looking at me as though to say, "Something is horribly wrong with your hair." Her eyes go from the reference photos to my haircut, and she says to Lynn, "It might be a little long still on top...."

Lynn flips the chair around so I'm finally facing the mirror. Ignoring Margie, she grabs some pomade and begins to work it into my hair.

"Wait!!" I stare at my hair, and the fluff ball it has become. I might actually resemble a Q-tip, if my hair were white.

Lynn, with her goop-laden hands suspended above my head, says, "You have to let me fix it! It will look good! You don't want it as short as you think!"

At which point, definitely crossing the whiny-baby line, I ask Margie to get out the photo I had of me when I had a pixie a few years ago. "See? I've done it before! I like short hair, and I want it really short!!"

I take a breath, knowing I was in dangerous territory to cross the one holding the scissors.

"Maybe just another half inch? I think that's what I'd like...."

She wipes her hands and picks up some scissors, quickly snipping off a little more off the top. It looks much better to me. But now the sides are a little long....

"I have to give you a whole new haircut! I have to cut it all over again!"

At which point she stomps off to do someone else's eyebrows. I notice that she's dropped her scissors on the floor.

During the small reprieve, Margie reminds me that I should not make the hair lady mad. Yet on the other hand, my hair did not look right the way it was. Somehow, I had to balance between keeping Lynn happy, and getting a haircut I wouldn't have to cover with a hat for the next month. Ambassadors have had easier jobs than this!

Lynn returns, seemingly a little calmer. I feel sorry for the eyebrows that took the brunt of her anger. She says, "I'll have to cut the sides really short so it won't cover your ears, and shave the back of your neck, which you didn't want."

Forgetting Margie's warnings, I say, "But the picture has longer hair in the back. I really don't want you to shave anything! And a little hair over my ears is fine."

At which point, Lynn jams a finger at the photo and says, "But you want it to look like the picture! See?? Her hair is not covering her ears! You SAID you want it like that!!"

Margie and I look at each other in horror. I am going to be bald when I leave the salon, and we both know it.

So, swallowing my hopes of a cute haircut, and settling for any hair at all, I say, "You know what will look good. Do whatever you think is best."

Triumphant, she begins looking for her scissors. I don't tell her about the ones on the floor, because each time she dropped her comb, she got a new one from the sterile box. I was sure she would do the same here. But after several minutes, she asks, "Have you seen my scissors?" I point to the scissors on the floor, half-hidden in masses of salt-and-pepper, and now my own brown, hair. She picks them up, flicks off the debris, and starts back in on my hair. $10.95 starts to sound exorbitant for what I'm getting.

Again in control, Lynn finishes my hair, saying, "Your hair looks cute! This makes your face look pretty! This is a good cut." I have no idea why the turnaround, but she is right. Finally, my hair looks like the hair in the picture. Margie smiles in approval to let me know Lynn hasn't hacked away at parts I can't see.

Knowing that I would be coming back (after all, $10.95 is $10.95), I decide to give Lynn a peace offering in the form of a large tip. Altogether, between the cut, the fix, and the tip, my ten dollar haircut costs almost thirty. But that's okay.

Frankly, I'm glad to be alive.


  1. Wow! What a story! I can't wait to see it in person.

    So, it's day three... do you still like it? Isn't it weird in the shower or when you reach back to run your fingers through it?

  2. Really...what Karen says. Is it weird?

    Wow, that's just about up there with the haircut I had with the big scary lady that horribly chopped my hair off while shoving her boobies in my face. You should thank the heavens that yours came out the way you wanted.

    Note to self - do not ask Lynn for something inventive!

  3. As of day three, I still really like it. It takes two minutes to dry, one minute to goop it up, and then a quick hairspray (not sure that's necessary, though), and voila! :)

    I'm not used to seeing myself with short hair, yet, though. I don't look in the mirror a whole lot, so when I do, it throws me off, like someone trendy is standing where I usually am. I'm used to seeing frump girl.

    And the feeling of short hair is not too weird. I guess because I've had it before, because the first time I had short hair, it was really weird. I have had the sensation that my hair was just in a pony tail, though, and I've gone to pull out the pony tail holder at night before going to bed.

    Things I can do now without worry:
    Open my car windows
    Drink from a water fountain w/o holding my hair
    Brush my teeth without having to pull my hair back
    Go a whole day without worrying about brushing my hair

    I love it!

  4. Aw yay, I am so glad you like it! That experience made me laugh! Wow, the lengths we go to for cheap haircuts.

  5. you deserve the purple heart for bravery and courage. You let someone who doesn't speak good english cut your hair!?!?!?! you're up there with....well...someone in history whos really really brave.

  6. Jon says he likes my hair a lot. :) He's always liked my hair up, so now it's like a constant up do!

  7. Based on your pictures, I do not think that you looked like frump girl before, although I know that frumpy is completely a state of mind so reason doesn't really matter.

    But the new cut looks very cute, and I'm jealous of your low-maintenance do!

  8. Haha... a convert to short hair!! :)

    I've always loved the convenience of mine and I'm glad you like your new cut.

    Any other brave ones out there??

  9. I posted your story on my blog on myspace and I'm sure to get a few laughs. She was sooooo crazy. And you say it best. Crazy woman.