I rarely get my hair cut. It’s not that I don’t have a fashion sense (okay, that statement’s questionable) or that I don’t understand the concept of cutting off my crispy split ends. But my entire family on my mom’s side was gifted with loads of hair that make most hair stylists gulp. Add in the fact that I almost always have bizarre experiences at the hairdressers and you have a perfect equation for an appointment I procrastinate in making just slightly less than heading to the dentist.
A haircut has ended up being an annual event for me. (I know all my teen magazines recommended a haircut every 4-6 weeks, but now that I’m older, I sometimes suspect those magazines had ulterior motives, and not necessarily my best interests, in mind when they penned those “helpful” beauty articles.) Last Tuesday, when I was bumming around Duluth for a day while Andy attended a seminar for work, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and take off a
few inches half a foot of hair. I knew with a walk-in appointment, I was subjecting myself to the barrage of questions: why I never cut my hair; why I don’t dye my rapidly graying hair; why my eyebrows slightly resemble a Wookie; why last night’s mascara is still hanging out underneath my eyes like a raccoon.
But I had a lovely stylist, the same one who fought with my mane last year, I think. The experience was surprisingly painless, although the poor lady used nearly an entire bottle of serum to keep my newly released curls from going all Bozo under the hairdryer’s heat. Yet, during the whole haircut, we sat just to the side of a salon stylist workshop.
Since I don’t get my hair cut terribly often, I don’t spend a lot of time about the profession of hairstylist. But when you suddenly find yourself in a room filled with capacity with stylists while the head stylist lectures them on setting goals and pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone, your mind kind of starts to muddle over the whole haircutting profession. I mean, did you know they only make minimum wage? While tipping stylists is a pretty standard practice, it’s not exactly as ingrained into our American psyche as tipping waitresses is. And these aren’t unskilled laborers. Maybe they’re not big on the book learning, but most of them have some training and they can all do something I can’t do. I mean, I occasionally trim my father’s hair and it usually just looks like some wild animal with talons mauled the back of his head.
Haircuts are usually paranoid self-centered events for me. But listening to the head speaker address all these stylists, urging them to fill up their schedules, send out appointment reminder cards to their clients, I realized that stylists have a ton of external pressure placed upon them. All the scary questions I dread so much from hairstylists are just part of their job. And probably not necessarily a part of their job they’re nuts about. Plus they have to deal with people who can’t bother to cut their hair more than once a year.
I walked away from the salon with shorter, healthier hair and a reminder that we’re all in this together. Making the cut’s never easy.