25 June 2009

It's all in my head, so to speak

So it's been hours and I'm still ridiculously preoccupied with the hair cut I got today, enough so that I'm here writing instead of trying to go to sleep.

The hair cut is not bad, it's just not what I wanted. I've been putting it off even longer than I would've since my quiet tattoo guy, a stylist with near full sleeve tatts, went out of business. (Which of course I feel in part responsible for since I don't get cut my hair often.)

Anyway, the salon that took over his space in the mall was finally open, so I thought I'd give their $10 opening promotion a shot. Yes, I know walk-in places are hit or miss, but if you find someone good, they're gold.

Problem #1: I didn't really know what I wanted except that I was sick of looking so shaggy.

The woman at the front counter told me the wait was going to be five minutes, and I was going to flip through the books (not that they ever have anything I like for curly/wavy hair if they have anything at all), but they don't have a waiting area, so she just took me on back to a chair. She went ahead and caped me, so I felt sort of stranded... and warm.

Anyway, the person who was supposed to "be right back" hadn't shown up after several minutes, so the woman from the counter said she'd cut my hair.

All the while, a large group of people were standing around chatting while two guys from their group got precision trims.

Amanda asked me what I wanted done and I showed her how short I wanted it to be along my jawline. Granted sometimes hair dressers are cagey when you want multiple inches cut off because I gather some people freak out. Then we talked layers and she asked how short I wanted the shortest layer. That threw me because tattoo guy would just say "OK" and cut my damn hair.

By then I could see that it wasn't as short as I wanted, so I told her that I wanted another inch to inch and half taken off. While my head was forward she asked if that length felt OK and I said yes when I should've lifted my head to better gauge the length.

She asked me something else for which I had no answer, so I said, "Do you have any suggestions?"

She sort of gave me a blank look and then said, "How about bangs?"

"Maybe really long bangs."

Well, thank heaven they are long. I said yes because I sort had this idea about what I would do if I kept my hair long (for me) and it involved side-swept bangs, and even though I wasn't keeping it long, the romanticism of that notion crept in and made me say yes.

Amanda diligently cut long layers for me, measuring them out to be even and so forth.

I knew it wasn't as short as I'd wanted overall but didn't feel like going another round. There's a point when you say, "I'd like it cut to here," not once but twice and the person doesn't cut it to there and you say to yourself, it's good enough.

I was frustrated because she was willing to do what I wanted if I described it explicitly. Like someone who has basic skills but not the savvy to take a basic description to levels of personalized awesomeness. Tattoo guy wasn't perfect in this regard but he definitely had skillz and didn't make getting the cut feel like so much work. If I'd told Amanda I wanted layers of 3, 4, and 5 inches, I'm sure she would've done that. But what do I know about layers? Not enough apparently.

When I went to pay, she said it was $12 and I didn't ask about the big banner on the counter below me which said it was $10 for the opening. It's what I'd expected to pay anyway. And I gave her a tip because I think it's not cool to skip tipping even if it's just a walk-in mall hair cut place.

As soon as I left I felt like getting my hair cut again.

When my hair was more dry, I checked it out in a mirror in Target and inwardly cringed. Again, the cut is technically fine but it looks just like my hair from the end of senior year high school and college. Like being confronted with an even more confrontation-averse, confidence-lacking version of myself. It's a reflection that really bothers me, literally and figuratively.

The last cut I got from tattoo guy was a roll of the dice that landed on unexpected cool; I left feeling... sophisticated and confident.

Last thing I need right now is hair that reminds me of wanting to be cool and failing.

Tomorrow I will pull it back to change my reflection to a more favorable one and see what I feel like doing from there. (Which I suspect will be take another stab at this merry-go-round and get it cut somewhere else on Friday. Grr.)

A year ago on TTaT: Oriental poppies


  1. I read somewhere that it's good to give hairstylists pictures instead of descriptions because they're visually-oriented people. But you're right, it is almost impossible to find curly-haired sample pics. Sigh. The plight of the curly.

  2. Finding suitable pics is a conundrum.

    On the other hand, I did show her visually with my hand where....oh never mind.

    Actually, now I'm considering trying to rock Amanda Palmer's hair cut. I've had something similar before, but mine is a good deal curlier than hers I think. Also a matter of finding a pic that shows it off well...

    We shall see. I've gathered some patience with the current cut and may see if I can hold out a few weeks before trying this again.