When I was a kid spirals would cascade out of my scalp in the most unruly way driving my mother crazy. Being a straight haired woman herself, she had no clue as to how to care for a daughter with this type of mane. She was convinced, despite my screaming and countless tears, that she could brush my hair and have it sit atop my head in an organized fashion. Of course this is not the case with curly haired girls as the cardinal rule of having healthy curls is, “Thou shall not brush curly hair.” When my mom grew tired of dealing with this “problem,” she simply took me to the salon and had the hair dresser cut off all of my curls. It sounds traumatic but having short hair was quite liberating.
My mom and I went to the same salon for over twenty years at least twice a month if not weekly. My mom would get her hair and nails done and I would maintain my short hair by getting it trimmed, cutting in layers and sometimes making the fatal mistake of cutting in bangs that I would then have to hide by pasting down with gel or wearing head bands even when they were out of fashion. It was fun to feel transformed and renewed even if my mom and I left the salon looking exactly the same, which was most often the case. When our hair dresser’s husband passed away, she suffered through a period of mental illness and had to close down her shop. That is when my hair began to grow down my back, the long forgotten spirals returned, and my mother by then an older lady on a tighter budget, began to do her own hair. It was the end of a tradition, more evidence that time had passed.
As a woman in her thirties I have no hair dresser to call my own. As a result I have been to a different salon every single time I have needed a haircut since 2007 and still have not found someone I can pay a return visit to. I went to the young gay guy who was skilled and gentle to my tender head but worked in a location too far away. I went to a woman who gasped when she saw my hair and said that whoever had cut it last left one side 2 inches longer than the other, (I think that might have been me…Who knew!?). I went to a lady recommended by a co-worker who was sporting various colors and various hair lengths in a jumble that almost made sense as a fashion forward hair style. That should have been my clue, the haircut she gave me left me with more split ends than I walked in with. And finally, last night after work I walked into a salon in a shopping center in North Hollywood where I experienced the cutest and the worst hairdresser of them all.
This young man of bulky, clumsy hands and gentle soul was experiencing his first day as a professional cosmetologist. He was nervous, concerned and every time he asked me a question it came out as if it had been rehearsed. He excused himself to the back room and left me mid hair cut various times to consult with someone. He worked slow and meticulously with sweat pouring down his forehead even though we were in a temperature controlled environment. His big hands got tangled in the knots in my hair and he actually cut his own finger instead of my hair. He came back with a band aid on that pulled my hair out even more as it stuck to the adhesive. I felt like a little kid again getting her hair brushed by her mother. Even though I was in pain the entire time and a simple trim took over an hour, I was rooting for him the entire time. At the end I told him he had done a good job and left him a generous tip. This morning I noticed he left one thick strand on the right side longer than the rest of my hair. I will either be cutting that piece myself, or combing it to the other side…