I’m pretty angsty about my hair. I’m a natural blonde, but it’s getting darker. I was dying it red for years, then finally decided to go back to my “natural” color — or at least a lighter version of it. I’ve been slowly getting the red highlighted out of it.
Here’s the thing: I hate getting my hair done. I hate sitting there for three hours trying to make up chit chat with a stranger. (I hate small talk in general.) I hate that “cooler-than-thou” vibe that a lot of stylists give off. I just hate dealing with the whole mess.
And it’s EXPENSIVE!
So I wait until I snap up a Groupon every 3 months or so before I finally drag my ass in to get my hair dealt with, and by then, it looks like a hot mess.
Yesterday, I had an appointment at 4 with a new person (found through Groupon). I woke up in the morning and did yard work, then took a shower and let my hair air dry. I rolled up in baggy jeans, a grey Zelda t-shirt, Doc Martens and some hair that was half blonde, half red, and all fucked up.
The hair stylist was a man who was almost 60, was nearly bald, and was wearing a baggy black vest and cargo pants. There was nothing special about his look.
This matters. You will soon see why.
When I sat down in the chair, he asks me the usual stuff about what I want done with my hair, and I give him the usual angsty monologue about all the things that are fucked about my hair and how I want to fix it. This leads to a discussion about my general hatred of getting my hair done (see above), and he says, “Yeah, but you gotta maintain it. I mean, you don’t wanna look like a redneck.”
I tense slightly but think, “Maybe nothing. A lot of people throw around the term ‘redneck.'”
Then we talk about how long hair appointments take and I say, “Yeah, one time I got fake hair put in–” (intentionally leaving out the part about it being microbraids) “–and that took like all day. Torture. I don’t know how people get this done regularly.”
Him: “What did you get done?”
Me: “Braids. Microbraids. It was cool, but I doubt I’ll do it again.”
Tensing. Hoping for no stupid commentary.
Him: “So did you feel like a little black girl for a day?”
Internal monologue: Oh please god don’t say another fucking word. I know from that comment that you’re harboring a boiling racist cauldron, but don’t show it to me. Then I’ll have to say something or I’ll have to leave, and then you will have fucked up hair time — which took a miracle and a prayer to make happen with scheduling it around Chris’ work and making sure Quinn was taken care of and actually having the money. If I have to reschedule this fucking appointment, so help me.
We move the conversation to general getting-to-know-you chit chat about family and jobs and the usual. He manages to make that awkward by telling me about how fucked his relationship with his son is, how his son is a pothead who’s selling drugs in California, and about how his son’s mother’s boyfriend used to beat him up and lock him in the truck of the car.
What. the. fuck.
My strategy at this point is to just nod along. Do not add to or encourage further commentary. Just let him spin his wheels.
Somehow we bring the conversation back to hair, and this is where it really gets good. You were just thinking, “How could it get better?” right?
Anyway, he talks about how he worked in New York and did all these hair shows and the best part of his job was just giving people makeovers he thought they should have. He thought that was really fun and creative. I said that I used to ask stylists for their opinions to get a drastic makeover and they would never give them to me — maybe too scared I wouldn’t like their suggestions.
He goes on to say that since he’s worked in North Carolina, most of what he gets is maintenance cuts (which I was there to get) and that everyone wants blonde highlights (which I was there to get). “I guess it’s just different here,” he says. Like all the women here are just backass, unstylish hicks.
He waxes nostalgic about the women in New York who would “change their hair to match their outfits” since they were so into fashion, which he loves.
Seeing an opportunity, since this is such a seemingly innocuous topic, I say, “Well, what would you recommend doing with my hair if I were to ask for a makeover?” (Which I’m not asking for since he is halfway through my highlights.)
Him: “Well, that depends.” (Dramatic pause.) “Do you want to be a frumpy house wife or –”
Me: (deadpan) “Obviously, I want to be a frumpy housewife.”
Him: “–or do you want to be a hot house wife.”
My only two options include being a house wife.
By this point, I had already told him that I work from home — WORK from home. People seem to have the misconception that “working from home” means fucking around and selling Amway or some shit to my church friends. No, let me break it down for you: I’m a freelance writer. I work 7 days a week. Most nights, I am up until 3 a.m. working so that I can spend the mornings with my daughter. I make about 3 times as much as my husband. I am the primary breadwinner. I actually WORK from home.
Without actually giving me any advice about my hair, he goes on to say, “I mean, you come in here today and aren’t wearing any makeup” — see above re: yard work and not feeling the need to put on makeup just because I was leaving the house.
This segues into him ranting about how women are always complaining to him that they think their husbands are cheating on them and says that it doesn’t take any effort to put on a little lipstick (which I realize is directed at me). He then starts talking about the hair stylists he works with who are “50 pounds overweight” and says, “I mean, I’m into fashion. We’re in fashion. Fat is not beautiful!” He says “It doesn’t take much to be fashionable. Buy a nice dress. It’s not that expensive.”
My internal monologue at this point is “holy fucking jeebus you have got to be kidding me I should be so pissed but I can’t even believe this is happening this is just so ridiculous” and so I watch him with my eyes raised in mock amusement and a smirk on my face.
Him: (about my own apparent inability to put on something fashionable) “It’s not like you had anywhere to be today.”
Me: “I work from home.”
Him: “Well, it’s not like you were rushing out the door to get to the office, you know what I mean.”
Me: “I work more than my husband.”
Him: “Hey you asked for my opinion.”
Me: “About my hair.”
The rest of the appointment was pretty fucking awkward.
As if all that wasn’t enough, when he was finished, he asked if I liked it, and I said, “yeah, yeah it looks good.”
Him: “Really?” (sounds incredulous)
Me: “Yeah, it’s good.”
Him: “Eh, it’s not my best work.”
Me: Holds up both arms and gives him a “what the fuck?” look.
There ended THE MOST RIDICULOUS EXPERIENCE I HAVE EVER HAD AT A HAIR SALON.