I’ve been avoiding it for a couple of weeks now. Too long, I think. In fact, people are starting to mistake me for Marge Simpson.
Yes, it’s true. Some people hate going to the dentist. I hate going to the hairdresser.
I don’t know whether guys feel the same way about the experience. Probably not. The guys I know never seem to have hair management problems. This is because most guys seem to wear the same hairstyle from birth until death — or until they go bald, whichever comes first. If they do vary it, it is usually to go from the challenging “part it to the side” style, to the difficult and high maintenance “shave it down to a quarter inch” style. Really daring men will part it to the other side.
Heck, I don’t even know whether other women feel the same way as I do. I just know that, for me, it’s nearly always a frustrating experience.
I think this is because there are basically two choices as to where you get your hair done. Your first choice is one of those industrial-type franchises with names like “Cut-o-matic” or ”Hair’em, Scare’em.” The advantage of these places is that they’re cheap and fast. Pay your $12, wait five minutes and presto, you’ve got a haircut.
The disadvantage is that . . . they’re cheap and they’re fast.
These things are staffed by a fleet of women in matching t-shirts and really, really big hair. After a quick wash in scalding water and eye-watering shampoo, you’re plonked in a chair, ratcheted up to gum-snapping level, and given approximately 2.5 seconds to explain what you want. Then she starts in with the scissors, at a speed scientists have clocked somewhere between weedwhacker and Mach 1.
Conversation is typically one-sided, and sounds something like this: “So, (snip) like, my (snippety) boyfriend is such a (clipclipclip) jerk, you know? (spritz, spritz) He called me up again today at work, (comb, heave) when, like, he knows that’s so totally (snipsnip) against the rules. And I, like (whack) … Omigawd! Was that your ear? Omigawd, I’m like, soooo, sick at the sight of blood!”
Your other option is to go to one of those exclusive-looking places (read: expensive) that call themselves salons. For some reason, these usually have names like “Ramone’s” or “Grizelda’s” and feature bottles of hair care products worth more than my car. I like to read some of these labels just for kicks. Like a bottle of Imulse (pronounced, of course, EEM-uls-AY, for that French mystique), which promises that its “Special formula is designed to give hair added body. This unique formulation is enriched with Vitamins E, X, Y1 and Z, alpha-hydroxy-butyl-emollients, aloe, eye-of-newt and is good for normal to dry, permed, nitrogen frozen, heat damaged, microwaved or frequently washed hair.”
When you finally get into a chair, you do actually get more than 2.5 seconds to explain what you want. Often, you get upwards of 20 minutes . . . as you and the hairdresser get into a fight, because inevitably, if you want a short style, she will argue that the current trend is to long hair, and vice versa.
After the dust settles, she gets to work. If you are the least bit self-conscious, do not, I repeat, do not venture into a unisex salon. Highlights, for example, are a euphemistic name for having your head sheathed in plastic wrap and bits of hair yanked through with a steel hook. You are slathered with foul-smelling chemicals and left to bake for forty-five minutes — or at least until some drop-dead gorgeous guy comes in and sees you looking like Bride of Frankenstein.
If you manage to survive this toxification and embarrassment, approximately three hours later you emerge from a cloud of hair spray with a magnificent hairdo . . . that you have absolutely no hope of recreating yourself. Don’t even bother asking about the bill — just hand over your credit card and pray it doesn’t melt in the swipe-through.
Perhaps it’s just because I have difficult hair. I know, I know, everyone claims to have that, but I’m serious here. Without a great deal of poofing, floofing, moussing, spritzing, sprunching, drying, curling and teasing. . . I look like Mr. Spock on a bad hair day. My hair doesn’t so much as have a life of its own, as it has a sense of humour.
I understand in some places they have hairdressers that come to your house. I think this is a wonderful idea. You could have a private consultation in the peace and serenity of your own home . . . where you can threaten your family if they laugh at you.
It’d be my luck however, that the first person I called for such an appointment would drive up in a big pink van with a huge pair of scissors on top . . . and the driver/hairdresser would have a serious case of road rage.