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Haircut? Yes! Crazy? No!

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Contributor:
Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

My hairdresser and I have a standing agreement. She pretends not to know that I’m shaking in my boots at the prospect of a haircut, and I pretend not to fantasise about running out of the salon screaming.
 
It’s not that she’s a terrible person or a terrible hairdresser. She’s actually a very good hairdresser and one of those remarkable hairdressers that don’t need to change their name to Chrissi or Buffy or Britney or Kandi (Yes, with a ‘K’.).
 
No, I just have a thing where if people touch my hair, I usually try to bite, maim, or karate chop, in that order.
Yes, it is strange, considering invariably I hate the hairdresser before, after, and during, up until the point I’m out of that chair. At which point I invariably love the hairdresser.
Does anyone else have this problem? I know people who practically name their first-born after their hairdresser, such is the strength of their relationship, but I’ve never seen the attraction.
It could be due to the unfortunate sequence of events that led to my decision to become blonde and short-haired when I was in my teens, a la Mena Suvari. The result (from what I can remember, most of it will only be retrieved by hypnotic regression therapy) turned out to be less Mena Suvari and more David Bowie.
Or, it could be I usually receive a ‘C’ in hair care, despite my best efforts.
You know when you are quizzed on how, exactly, your hair reached the catastrophic state it did, because when you left the salon the last time it actually resembled hair?
 
For me, it usually goes like this:
B: Hi! My name is Britney and I’ll be your hairdresser today.
Me: Hi, Britney.
B: So, what are we doing today?
Me: Um. Just a trim, if that’s okay. And can I please have, like, flicky things along here? (Vague gesture in front of face)
B: You mean you want layers along your fringe.
Me: Um. Yes.
B: Okay, and would you like a treatment today, your hair’s a little...(Picks up a strand like it might attack at the slightest provocation)
Me: Oh, ah, no that’s-
B: You’d really be doing your hair a favour. I mean, if you don’t maintain (purposeful shaking back of her own gorgeous locks) basically any work I do today will be for nothing.
Me: (Sinking further and further towards the general direction of the ground.) Okay. Uh, sorry.
B: (Generously.) That’s quite alright.
 
Okay. I like my hair. Generally it does its job and only revolts when it’s raining. It doesn’t get overly knotty, it doesn’t have kinks or grow in weird directions, and if my natural hair colour is not much in evidence these days, well, it’s not my hair’s fault if I’m trying to channel Scully one week and Eva Longoria the next.
But whenever I visit a hair dresser I never get a “gosh, you’ve actually managed to use a straightener properly”, or at least “well, you’ve used mostly the correct amount of mousse.”
Are there secret guidelines handed out that I don’t know about? How To Not Bitterly Disappoint The Hairdresser?
 
The Hair Washing Thing is another issue that scares me, deeply.
I mean, I’ve managed for a number of years now to wash my own hair, but something about trying to make conversation while horizontal, trapped in a chair with your head in a basin makes me highly uncomfortable.
There’s nothing to look at on the wall in front of you, so by the time you’ve run through possible conversational topics, panicked when you realise you don’t have any possible conversational topics, rationalised that surely it’s their job to enquire how you’re finding the weather lately, and finished pointing out to yourself it’s probably not polite to ask why in god’s name they don’t have a television, they’ve finished washing, semi-drying and have you up in front of a mirror, brandishing scissors in a way that surely isn’t in The Hairdresser’s Guide to Health and Safety.
 
Maybe they do it on purpose; to keep you in such a state of frozen awkwardness any suggestion is a good one. (“Sure! An emo fringe will be fine! Just let me up!”)
 
Oh, well. Reluctantly I’ve come to the conclusion that hairdressing is a necessary evil. And since I haven’t walked out looking like The Scarecrow just yet, I’ll continue to go and get my C-minus from those that, surely, know better than me.

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