Why Hair Stylists Make Me Nervous
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree and Rising.
I wasn’t always nervous around hair stylists. And I’ve never been nervous about a bad cut or color because it grows out and it’s fixable. Most hair mistakes are easily fixable but some things aren’t, and that why I’ve sometimes been uncomfortable around them.
Yes, I have a new stylist as of this morning. The mother of one of my daughter’s friends. I’ve seen her work before and liked it, and I liked that we could drop in at her house for a cut at a time that was convenient to my schedule. I like, too, that she’s coming to MY house in a few weeks to give me purple highlights!
She also ordered me to get back on vitamins and eat more protein. It seems the stress of earlier this year and the lack of eating for several weeks is now showing up in my hair, so we had a little talk on how I internalize stress. My other stylists haven’t been quite so helpful except to offer to sell me products in their salons. I’m thinking she’ll see a difference in a few weeks when it’s purple-time.
I’ve been to umpteen different stylists in the past five years, and they’ve all been satisfactory but I’ve never really settled in with one in particular. The previous long-term stylist also saw just about everyone in my ex’s family and while I liked his work and him very much, the man should have worked in a news room!
I’m sure it was just something for him to talk about to pass the time but I found out more about what was going on in the family from him than from anyone else…which could be unnerving when the news was me. About the last time I saw him, I had a lunch-time appointment with him. Five minutes before leaving for my appointment, I was told I had an emergency business trip to make, given the details, and then I had to scramble to get to the appointment on time. Because I hate to be late to anywhere, I mentioned why to my stylist. No problem. He cut my hair while we chatted about my job and my books and my kids, and I went back to the office for tons of mandatory meetings that would give me more information about my trip.
Meanwhile, a family member had a hair cut in the afternoon and learned of my upcoming trip and told another relative who told another relative who mentioned it to my ex’s mom who called my ex at work. By the time I got out of my meetings, my ex was already upset that I was going out of town and hadn’t told him.
Not that anything I ever told him was a secret but I got tired of hearing every conversation repeated back to me by every relative who visited his salon in the next week—and there was always at least one who did.
He didn’t make me nervous though. For as much as I liked him, his gossip irritated me and that’s why I left.
The reason hair stylists make me nervous goes all the way back to my college days to a stylist I also liked very much—and it’s also because of gossip.
I remember her as being beautiful, mid-30’s, and very outgoing. I was about 20 and I met her through some of my drama club friends at a wedding where she fixed the bride’s hair. I watched her cut two friends’ hair one weekend while we all chatted.
It’s funny that I knew her for about a year but the only thing I remember about her was what she said that day and I always found a reason not to be around her after that. I had mentioned a certain well-known beauty queen I knew through one of my classes and how beautiful her hair was. I was earnest when I said it, and I also meant it as a compliment because I knew the stylist whittling away with her scissors had “done” this girl’s hair for State and National beauty pageants—yes, this was a celebrity in those days but long forgotten now. I’d seen the stylist with the beauty queen and they always seemed so close.
“Yes, she has beautiful hair,” the stylist told us, “but she’s dirrrrrrrrrty.” She went on to describe all sorts of health and hygiene problems Miss Gorgeous had that none of us would ever have known or suspected.
Some people might feel good to hear that they’re “cleaner” than a glamorous celebrity, but I always felt a little nervous around hair stylists after that because I never knew what she was saying about my friends and me while seeming to be so close to us.