The Chair

I’m not a particularly huge fan of getting my hair done. I know some people love going to the salon, sitting in the twirly chair, and getting fussed over while chatting with their hairdresser, but I always feel a little uncomfortable with the forced socialization of the whole thing. Unlike my husband who feels that it is his responsibility to schmooze with barbers, massage therapists, and so on in order to make them comfortable, I am perfectly happy to sit in silence for as long as I have to.

I recently started putting highlights in my hair, which not only makes for loooooong appointments at the salon, but unless I want to look like I have a dark brown bowl sitting atop my head, requires more frequent trips to get my hair done. And because, in my 34 and a half years of getting my hair cut, I have found precisely one person that makes me feel good about my hair, I have to go to the same lady each time.

Which makes for more forced socialization, as well as some pretending on her part that she remembers who the hell I am when I come in after five months away.

Today was my appointment for a cut and highlights. My stylist used to work at Hugo Salon, which is a super-tendy, loud, busy place. To give you an idea, each stylist has some sort of crazy hairstyle or haircolor, the floors are metal, hair cutting tools are kept in shiny toolboxes, and it is the only place I have heard L7 played over a sound system since the ’90s.

I am not quite hip enough to get my hair cut there.

But it is located very close to my house, so I was willing to suffer. Also, because I’m not cool enough to be there, my stylists would tend to pick up on the fact that I didn’t want to chat with them and they would instead choose to talk to the other, cooler clients, or other hairdressers.

I was recovering from a really bad haircut given to me after donating a foot of my hair to Locks of Love when I found my current stylist. I sort of gave my head to her to do with what she wanted and she put in blonde highlights—something I would never have thought of doing in a million years. (Although I’m not sure why they call them “highlights” and not “big, chunky stripes.”) I was in love.

She recently moved to a new salon, and today I visited her on her third day of work there. And by “new,” I mean not just new to her, but new to everyone. I was there for three hours today and was one of only four customers. This is quite a change from Hugo which was always hoppin’. The receptionist and other stylist, who may or may not have been the owner, spent most of the morning staring blankly out the big front windows.

On the other hand, I was definitely hip enough to get highlights there. The floor was wood, the cabinets were wood, they were playing Jack Johnson and Whitney Houston on the sound system. There was not a bright color to be seen. In fact, I may have been too cool to get my hair done there. Oh, who am I kidding? Athough I do have to say that I preferred the music at Hugo. I almost fell asleep today more than once.

Demonstrating my loyalty by following her to her new place of employment, not to mention the dead silence of the building, required a little extra chitchat. I mean, at least I am able to hide my social awkwardness under the sheath of hair combed over my face, but it’s hard for me to make conversation for three hours with someone I see two or three times a year.

I’m supposed to go back in 8 weeks, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone in for a follow-up haircut that soon. I tend to forget until I can no longer put my hair in a ponytail because of the roots line across my head. So in four or five months I’ll head back there, sit in the chair, and have the exact same conversation with my stylist that I did today.

This is cross-posted at DC Metro Moms.

5 thoughts on “The Chair

  1. Blech. I hate going to a shop. I can chit chat all I want but I don’t enjoy it. I just tell them – cut it really short because I won’t come back soon enough to maintain the style, and then color it myself. Except – uh – since last time they cut all the color off – and it just seems too short to color – I’m almost enjoying my salt and pepper look for now!

  2. I go every 6-8 weeks b/c my hair is short-ish with high and low lights. Yeah, I’m totally fake! ;-) Anyway, I just bring a book for the time I have to sit and “process.” I also usually tell them I’m super tired (usually true!) and they leave me alone.

  3. How odd that yesterday, Saturday, was the exact same day I sat in my stylist’s chair for a cut and color. Weird. I used to go every six months, but 8 weeks ago I cut it all off. Short. Don’t know what I was thinking. Too much upkeep!

  4. Wow. You figured it out for me. I couldn’t figure out why I never go back to the person twice even if they do a kick a$$ job. I have good hair one time a year, since that’s all I can muster socially. I’d bring a book but then I’m all obsessed about appearing rude (I’m the person who won’t say ‘your kitchen is on fire’ if I can’t figure out how to bring it up. My kiddo’s get their social issues honest, that’s for sure.)

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