How I became a hair salon snob

As you may know, I am a short-haired lady.

However, maintaining my short hair now that I live in a small town has turned out to be a challenge. This is the story of why I continue to drive three hours to L.A. to get my hair cut. The story of my evolution into a hair salon snob.

The beginning

I lived in Santa Monica. My aunt, ever the model of frugality, suggested I get my hair cut at Vidal Sassoon Academy. It’s only $20. It takes three hours, sure, but it’s only $20. For the next five years, I go to the academy because I believe in education.

The wedding

A few weeks before I am to wed the love of my life, I get my hair cut at the academy. I don’t clearly communicate my vision. I feel a sinking disappointment.

oranges-210251_640The mitigation

I make an appointment at a salon. I pay a handsome fee. I get a Louise Brooks. The wedding is a blast. The pattern is established.

The pattern

My husband and I leave L.A. I begin to try salons in my small town. The first is very girly. They see my short hair and act nervous. One choppy cut later and I understand why.

Thus, the pattern begins. I try getting my hair cut in town since I don’t get back to L.A. often enough. The haircut invariably fails. I get it corrected in L.A. for big bucks and a complimentary glass of sparkling water.

I was at split ends

Terrible pun, I know. But here’s when my allegiance to big city salons was really cemented.

Imagine it…

The smell of chemicals. Not just perm chemicals, but acrylic nail chemicals. It’s making your eyes water and your nose burn.

You’re led to the chair by the stylist you’ve just met. He takes you through a narrow path flanked by pedicure stations. This will be important later.

He washes your hair. He gets a lot of water on your face. A lot.

Back in the chair, the stylist begins insulting other clients. That woman’s laugh is fake and evil, don’t you think?

He takes his comb from his cabinet. It’s thick with hair. Chunks of hair.

The woman in the pedicure station next to you begins to talk about her psoriasis.

The woman in the salon chair next to you begins to talk about her gastric bypass.

The stylist cutting you hair begins to call himself an incredible artist and sculptor of hair.

He insults people from Santa Monica. “D bags,” he says.

He begins to blow the hair off your face and neck with powerful breaths flecked with spittle, like he’s the wolf in The Three Little Pigs.

Finally, the haircut is over. You get up from the chair and attempt to leave the salon as you entered it, through the pedicure station. “Don’t go that way,” he says. “Those bitches and get all upset when you walk through there.”

Upon returning home you write down notes from the experience because it was so incredibly bad.

Okay, but what about the cut?

It was alright, to be fair. But it didn’t take into account my face, so the style made me look very long-faced. Which I suppose I was.


2 thoughts on “How I became a hair salon snob

  1. My sister had her hair done every week for nearly 20 years…by the same stylist. When she moved from California to Ohio, she had no luck finding a salon where they paid attention to what she wanted. Small shops, big fancy shops, it made no difference. So for 10 years now she has “made do” with an okay sort of stylist, and when she comes to Central California she drops in on her old gal, and they are both happy. – Fawn

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