Sunday, December 14, 2008

Close enough

I went to a new hairdresser today.

It's a bit like being on the dating scene, finding a new hair stylist. Once upon a time I had a really nice lady named Emma, who always did an awesome job.

I thought Emma and I would stay together forever, and then she changed to weekdays mornings, something about spending more time with her kids.

What about MY needs, Emma?

Then I got Kylie, and she was funny and nice, and also did good hair. I almost believed we had a future together, but then Kylie got married and left the salon. Boo.

After that I tried a few other places and got ripped off with sub-par cuts that I would have to correct myself later at home, ambivalent stylists that weren't into their work (and it showed in the boring, blah results), and colouring prices that could have bought a new well for a Cambodian village.

Then I read about this place on an Australian beauty forum, and thought I'd give it a try. My last (bad) cut was growing out and making me look like an inferior Chaka Khan impersonator.

I'm leaving for Europe in two weeks (ooh yes I am, I'll tell you guys about it later. Just a holiday, not for good.) and I know I'll look dorky in my limited traveller's wardrobe, so the least I can do is have Good Hair.

What an experience.

This little man ruled his salon like an evil overlord from a sci-fi movie.

He was Hyde to his hapless workers and Jekyll to his clients. The trouble is, Jekyll and Hyde won't fool anybody if they're in the same room at the same time.

"Hello, how are yooou?" he crooned to me, touching my hair like it was made from angel scalps and moonbeams.

Then, a split second later, "Don't waste my time!" he shouted at at an apprentice, who seemed to have no idea what she was doing. In fact, she did look like Lindsay Lohan on one of her gormless, hungover days.

I felt like a respected dignitary (perhaps a Rear Admiral?) making a visit to hairdresser boot camp. I wasn't fooled, I knew that if I was one of the shampoo girls instead of a paying customer, I'd be shouted at and humiliated too.

Still, I liked that he was decisive about what styles would work for me, and that he was deft and confident. I knew he was good because he made it look so easy. He didn't misinterpret "chin length" for some other length. Like this woman I went to once who spent the whole time talking to the other stylist and ignoring me, as she cut my hair, and re-interpreted "shoulder length" as, "Chop it all off up to the earlobes, please. And make sure it's really unflattering and bits stick out!"

While I was waiting for my colour to set, I got to observe the mini-dictator in action.

"Are you BLIND?" he demanded of one of the girls who fetched him the wrong colour bobby pins. She was about half a generation older than the other apprentices. I liked her hair-washing technique. She looked glum for most of the time I was there but when I thanked her for the shampoo she had a really sweet smile.

Boss Man flew about the salon like a miniature whirlwind, chastising employees, cajoling customers, shouting orders. I think he gave about five cuts in half an hour, and they ALL looked good.

I was then blow-dried by a gruff but competent lady. No nonsense about her and definitely no time wasted in idle chit-chat or smiling. It was all about the drying. She did a really good job, and, here's an important point that she got right -- she DIDN'T burn the top layer of skin off my scalp. (You know, I still have some slight damage from the damage this idiot caused in 2007, so I get rather flinchy when someone approaches me with a large, industrial strength hair dryer.)

Finally I was looked over by the Great Angry Small One himself, who took out his scissors and nibbled away at my fringe with it, cutting away some imperfection that only he could see. (I like it when they do this, it makes me feel like they care.)

As he bid me farewell, I got the full Dr Jekyll treatment.

"What's your name?" he asked sweetly, touching my hand.
"That's a beautiful name!" he chirped, which, frankly, I thought was laying it on a bit thick. The names that end with phonetic "-ee"s aren't really in what I would call the 'beautiful' category. Lucy, Wendy, Bree, Sookie ... Cute, maybe, but certainly not bee-you-tiful.

But you know what, after all that, I think I'm off the hair-dating scene. I've found my Mr Right-For-Now.

The man is a fruitcake with extra nuts, but he cuts hair like a dream.

Do ignore the toilet cistern in the background.
The bathroom has the best light in the house.


Anonymous said...

Lol I felt like I was watching a TV show or movie in my mind while reading your entry- so entertaining!

He did a lovely job- your hair looks great! :D

Blandwagon said...

I know what you mean about finding a new hairdresser. I had the same excellent one for over a decade before she gave up to have babies. My current one is barely adequate but I have no idea how to find anyone better.

I think it's harder for guys. It's just not the done thing to say to your mates, "I like your hair, who does it for you?" Getting a haircut is something shameful and furtive that we don't admit to in public.

Anonymous said...

Blandwagon I think your hair looks great but simple me thought it was achieved simply by running a number 5 through your hair all round. Like Genevieve, I felt I was in the salon with you Angie and was feeling great empathy for the employees. Not sure I could handle another Jekyll/Hyde personality in my life after living with someone like that for 24 years! Not even for the awesome haircut. Jaymez PS: How come Verity James, Pam Cassales, and that other women get to write crap boring columns in magazines and newspapers when those publications could have your brilliant, pithy writings?

Judith said...

Gorgeous, harajuka girl!

Anonymous said...

Oh you look gorgeous... not that you weren't gorgeous before the new look. I agree, it's a lot scarier going to the hairdressers than the dentist! So many of them ask you what you want, but it's as if they have invisible ear plugs in as then they do what they please. Hence my waist length hair for several years, trimmed by my friend Gen (and just once by a son who shall remain nameless). X