Hair We Go Again

When I quit my job to stay home with the kiddo, we knew that certain things must happen to streamline our finances. One of the easy things to pitch was my semi-monthly (that's every other month, right? Or would that be bi-monthly? I get them confused.) trip to a day spa/salon for my hair cut. At around $70 when you factor in tip and everything, plus the fact that it's about 45 minutes away (so gas is actually a reasonable concern), it adds up to quite a bit at the end of the day.

I tried a few local-ish places and found them meh. Then decided if I was just going to deal with meh I could be even cheaper and I ended up back at the Hair Cuttery. Really, I should know better. I played around with the Cuttery in high school and was never happy. Then in college I grew my hair long, in large part due to the Cuttery. But, desperate times call for desperate measures and, well, the stylist I loved back at posh salon started out at a Hair Cuttery, so I know they aren't all terrible stylists. (Just, it turns out, 90% of them are terrible.) After my first bad haircut, Tim has been telling him I can go back to posh land...but I've insisted that I can live with it.

First I spent time at the Hair Cuttery that's closest if you head South. Then I got tired of having my stylist and all the other stylists yammering at each other in Vietnamese the whole time my hair was getting cut while summarily dismissing what I'd asked them to do and giving me the hairstyle they decided I wanted. Which was never particularly flattering. So I switched to the Hair Cuttery that's closest heading North. Where at least the conversations are in Spanish so I can catch some of it and be reasonably certain they're not talking about how stupid they're going to make me look. I even found a stylist there who I really liked. Except that she never seems to actually work the hours she said she did and now appears to have moved on, probably to a real salon where she can make a salary that's commensurate with her ability.

Saturday I trekked out to the Cuttery, since I'd been thinking "I need a haircut" for going on three weeks now, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. And my stylist wasn't there (she's supposed to be) and there was a brief conversation about how she's not in anymore so I took whoever was next. This turned out to be a very nice, elderly woman with a passable grasp of English, though it was clearly not where she was most comfortable. All I wanted was a chin-length bob, so really...reasonably simple, beauty-school 101 type haircut. She nodded and set to work.

She was finished before I really could blink. Now, I did not go in with a bob that just needed a trim, so I looked and frumped and asked if she could make it shorter and more bob-like in nature. She argued that you can't have layered hair (mine is) in a bob. I gritted my teeth and smiled and asked her to try. So she made it shorter and more bob-like. But she didn't want to. Then she asked if I wanted it blown dry. At the time, I thought I did.

She then proceeded to put so much gunk in my hair that I wondered if it would withstand hurricane force winds. And then came the torture. I have never had someone scrape my scalp with their bristle brush so hard that I thought I must certainly be bleeding before. Frankly, I'm still numb in some places on my scalp and I'm also still astounded that I am not bleeding from every hair follicle. She spent an awful lot of time (and extra product) on my bangs. Now, I asked for an angled bang - which is generally the nicer thing with a bob because it's just a gentle bang the fades into the rest of the style. And that's essentially what I have, except that she spent a lot of time and scraping gluing it to my forehead. If I was an African-American woman, I probably would have loved that bang because it would have gone very nicely with my hairstyle (which would not have been a bob, but probably one of those super cool finger curl concoctions that only African-American women can pull off.)

When she turned off the blow dryer and spun me back to the mirror I stuck my fingers in my bangs to try and fluff them a bit and my fingers got stuck. Seriously stuck. So I wriggled them and tugged and finally the bangs came free, only to stick straight up. Think Something About Mary...seriously. So I mashed them down, listening to the cracking noise as I did so and she says, "I thought you want angle bang?" And I mushed my hair into an approximation of what I wanted and muttered something about "I do...just not glued to my head." She then tried to come behind me and undo every motion as I fluffed and tried to turn my hair into something I was not humiliated to walk out of the salon looking like. Finally, I moved out of the way of her hands and said, "Stop please, it's enough. The cut's fine, I'll go home and wash it. It'll be fine." And she said, "Wash it, why?" And I looked in the mirror and realized the problem: she's clearly blind.

Then, with my hair so stiff and full of product that you could open walnuts by bouncing them off of it, she asks, "You want some hairspray?"

Um...no thank you.

It wasn't until I got out into the fresh air that I realized that the overwhelmingly just-this-side-of-rotten melon/floral smell was actually coming from my head. And now I feel I should apologize to anyone who was in Safeway and got subjected to it as I ran through to pick up taco makings for dinner. Because really...it was dreadful.

I came home and showered - again - lathering, rinsing and repeating three times just to be sure the stench was gone. With my own hairdryer and round brush I was able to achieve a style that will not be terrible (is it lovely? No. Will it do til it grows out? Yes.)

On Monday, I'm taking Tim up on his offer and making an appointment at my old salon. My stylist there was always booked 8-10 weeks out anyway, so it'll work out just about perfectly.


Lynellen said...

I betcha I can cut your hair better and cheaper than hair cuttery.

Jen said...

I feel ya. I really do. I'm going on 3 months since I got my hair cut last and I'm dreading going back, but it has to be done and soon. I'm trying to stay away from the Cuttery, but it's hard to find a good stylist that doesn't charge a month's salary for a simple hair cut.

beth said...

You're probably right, Lynellen. Some day I may take you up on it. :)

Jen, that's why I ended up there. But yeah...time to find some other option.

Gwynne said...

I think there's a new style out now (but never trust me on matters of style) that involves gluing the bangs sideways across the forehead, like a combover but across the face instead of over the head. I've seen a lot of girls in the mall like that. Maybe that's what she thought you wanted? Or maybe she was just blind. :-)