Monday, June 11, 2007

Head on FIRE

I strongly suggest all the male readers skip this post and go read something else today.
Seriously, it's about my last HAIR appointment.
Fine, but don't come bitching to me!

Lately I've been feeling like I've had an affair without actually having an affair.

My usual hair stylist is a dream, and I love her, I really do. She can layer like no one else, and turns what could potentially be a one-length Goth/Morticia*-look into a bouncy, somewhat fetching style that doesn't drag my face down and make me look like Neil from the Young Ones.

But I have cheated on her, not just once, but twice now, as I have been going somewhere else to get my hair coloured.

The dye that her salon uses is too harsh, and I thought I'd give the Aveda range a try. It's a little pricier, but people rave about how skin-friendly it is, so I tracked down the nearest (and most affordable) Aveda hair salon that was close-ish to my work. (Which actually turned out to be in a suburb far, far away. A *&^%#@*% 30-minute drive from my work. GAH. Never mind, it's only every 9 weeks.)

And guys, Aveda is AWESOME. Primarily because my scalp didn't suffer from chemical burns while the dye soaked in, and the fumes didn't cause me to speak in tongues.

I don't know the staff at this new place very well, so when I make appointments I just ask for a "Permanent Regrowth" and trust to the fates.

On Thursday night, when I arrived for my second appointment, and finally came out of the dressing room 17 minutes later (they give you black kimonos to wear and the sash had only one end and the loop thing was mystifying me as well and what is wrong with plain velcro? Or buttons? Don't laugh until YOU go there and try it, my friend, they have the most confusing garments), I was greeted by someone named Brendan.

He looked about the same age as my brother, which wasn't encouraging, since the last time my mother asked my brother to give her hair a trim (she couldn't be bothered going out) he ended up cutting on a 45-degree angle and she looked like an extra from Bladerunner. I think she resorted to drastic perming to hide the results.

(First the Young Ones, now Bladerunner, am I showing my age or what?)

Although Brendan did not suit my image of the stereotypical effete male hairdresser, which discomfited me slightly (what's the world coming to if you can't trust stereotypes?), I was glad he didn't have some cringe-worthy quiff or faux-hawk or trendy mullet thing going. In fact, he and the other male stylist had a number 2 or 3 cut. Minimalist. I like.

And you know what? Brendan was surprisingly good.

What I liked most was that he didn't try to start a conversation, because the last thing I feel like after a long day at work is conversing in a polite and civilised manner.

It must be hereditary because my sister and brother do it too, and my father to an extent. Mum is perennially chirpier than a chipmunk. (There were a lot of genes we should've gotten from her but didn't.) I'm more of a "Meh. Please don't bother to ask me about my day. It wasn't that interesting. You are not that interested. I just need to go and decompress quietly somewhere private for half an hour. No, really. Please don't even look at me. Let us spare each other a world of tears by maintaining a dignified silence. PLEASE."

Brendan commenced with some nifty pre-treatment, where he brushed on this petroleum jelly stuff around my hairline so the dye wouldn't leave a fetching red aureole around my face. Woo! 10 points!

Then he quietly (aaaaaah, sweet silence) and efficiently applied the hair dye while I read all of this month's trashy magazines, and only once spoke up to point out some article about a musician who had an unusually large scrotum (there was a photo), and honestly, it's not something you see every day, so I was happy for him to have a giggle about it.

Full marks for shampooing and rinsing also. The water was just the right temperature, and topped off with an excellent towel-dry. Brisk but gentle. He even remembered to dry inside my ears. But discreetly, not like my Aunt Pat, who, when she washed your face and ears (hey, I was 6!) would dig in so vigorously you'd think she was looking for Montezuma's lost gold.

Unfortunately he then handed me over to some apprentice to blow dry my hair. I can't quite remember her name. Sienna? Sheonagh? Shona? Sheena? Whatever it was, it started with "S" and ended in "naAAAARGH!"

Perhaps it was my refusal of a leave-in conditioner that aroused her ire (I was worried they'd charge me an extra $10 for styling products; it was that kind of salon), but she kept bringing the blowdryer too close to my scalp and it was BURNING ME.

Testament to the fact that I am the poster-child for passive-aggression was that I didn't say a damn thing about it. I just prayed for it to end and kept reading my magazine.

And flinching is NOT a universal language. Imagine that!

She also pulled at my hair quite roughly while she was combing it (No leave-in conditioner, eh? I'll show you what happens when you refuse my leave-in conditioner, BITCH!), and I naturally assumed she just hated me on sight.

I mean, fair enough. I don't even see some people's faces before I give them a bum wrap. But when she dropped the comb on the floor twice, and then recommenced combing my hair without so much as an "Excuse me," I realised she was just a brutal, rough-handed klutz.

The next morning, as I was driving into work, my scalp was itching and BURNING. I hope no permanent damage has been done, and that I don't wake up with clumps of hair on my pillow à la The Fly.

Damn you She-hyena! If I see you again I shall attack your tender parts with a GHB curling wand!

In my mind, of course.

* By the way, I actually know someone who legally changed their name to Morticia, but more on that another day ...


Libragirl said...

I had the same problem finding a colorist. I went to one place and told them I had allergies to chemicals and asked what brand they used for coloring. It was one I never heard of and didn't want to use it because, well, pain. She used it anyway and I was in so much pain I almost smacked her - the only reason I didn't was PAIN - Then when she was cutting - I said - no layers and I want the least amount of work possible - So she layered it and told me I had to blow it to make it look good. - needless to say - I didn't pay her (really) and haven't gone back to her.
Finding a new colorist/stylist is the hardest thing ever.

an9ie said...

Libragirl, I feel your pain. Awse that you had the cojones to not pay, though. I'm such a chicken I would have forked up the money but NEVER gone back. I'm fairly happy with what I've got now, but it's annoying having to go to two different salons. Luckily I'm growing my hair out so I don't need trims too often.

And I WILL speak up this time if someone burns my head!

Bronwyn said...

It is so hard to find a good hairdresser! I was almost brought to tears on my birthday at one bubble-bursting hairdressers, who basically was telling me that I couldn't have what I wanted (she was wrong, too). I've had another hairdresser who decided to chat with someone else while attending to my hair, as though I didn't matter, as if I was just a piece of furniture. One time my fringe was cut so long that I had to go back the next day to have it fixed. Another hairdresser claimed that my young teenage daughter had a white hair. I looked, saw, & stated that it was actually blonde. Hairdressers exchanged smart a$# glances & smirks, what b*&^#es!

-& yes, I just hate being passed off to someone else for hair washing etc, when I specifically booked a certain hairdresser, it's such a disparaging way to treat a client.

an9ie said...

Oh Bronwyn, I hope your birthday still went OK.

This situation is where word of mouth usually is best, but if you don't know anyone who knows someone you're pretty much trapped and have to proceed via trial and error. I hope your daughter wasn't too traumatised either!