Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hair salons I have known

My friend T recently wrote about hair salons in her blog, and it got me to thinking about my salon experiences. I've had some scary ones. Let's face it - I've never been the girliest girl on the planet, and my fine wavy hair has a will of its own. Add that to the fact that for the most part, I hate hair products. Hair spray, for example. Who needs it? Not me.

Just spending time in a hair salon is difficult enough for me. I don't like the smells, and I don't like small talk. I just want to be treated with a little respect, to get a good cut, and to be left alone.

Still, I never really thought about hair or hair salons until I moved to Indianapolis. The first place I ever went for a haircut was so sad, I just can't even write about it except to say that it made me want to cry. It was as if the world had been shaken, and all the down and out hairdressers landed here. They had virtually no business, and when I walked in they all swarmed on me. Like I said, it was sad.

I tried a well-known salon/spa in Greenwood - which was fabulous, but so big that I never saw the same person twice. I tried another nice place on the South side, but just as I was getting to know the stylist, she moved to a salon up in Fishers.

Last Spring, after moving to a new neighborhood, I felt the urge to do something drastic with my hair. I made an appointment at my local "salon and spa." For about $35, I had what could possibly be the best short-short haircut on the planet . . . ever!!! The young woman did such a great job, I had no trauma whatsoever, no regrets, no remorse. I really thought I'd found a stylist I could go to forever. Happily, I made an appointment for six weeks later. On a busy Saturday morning, I arrived 15 minutes early, checked in at the desk, and waited. 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 40 minutes passed. People were coming and going, and chatting as if they had known each other since elementary school - but totally ignoring me. Somewhere in between, there was a shift change at the desk. Eventually, I went up to ask the new person how much longer it would be before my stylist would be ready. "Oh," was her disinterested reply. "We didn't know you were here. She's already working on the person who had an appointment after you and she's booked up the rest of the day."

I passed the stylist's booth on the way out the door, and mentioned that I'd been waiting there the whole time and wasn't sure why she didn't come to the front and call me back. She just shrugged, as if to say "Tough luck!" without an apology. I looked around the room and it occurred to me that these people really had all known each other since elementary school, they were probably all related, and I was just the new kid in town who nobody wanted to have lunch with. I knew that as soon as I walked out the door, they'd be talking trash about me.

I never have since, and never will again, give another dime of my money to this so-called salon and spa. In fact, I would write their name here, but nobody who lives in my neighborhood reads my blog anyway, so it wouldn't matter.

On my way home, I made a detour and drove east to a cute little salon on the county line, where (amazingly) the owner was able to cut my hair right then and there. She was very nice, and did an OK job on my hair, but on the way out the door she asked me to sign a petition on a highly-charged political issue. In order to remain polite, I told her that I don't sign petitions. But I never went back there again. I mean, she and I had just met, and she just assumed that I would agree with her on this particular issue?!!

Earlier this year, desperately seeking a good stylist, I found one - at a totally cool hair salon overlooking the downtown Circle. She hadn't known me five minutes before she started dropping the f-bomb on me like we'd . . . known each other since elementary school (LOL!) Unfortunately, I dropped $75 for that haircut - actually it was $65 for the haircut and I left a $10 tip. Honestly, I don't mind the f-bomb too much - I've been known to let it fly myself occasionally. I just can't afford to pay $65-75 for a haircut every 6-8 weeks. But this was maybe the second best haircut I've ever had. If I'd been smart, I would have just let it grow out after that. I've always heard that you know you got a great haircut when the hair starts growing out, and it looks good. This truly happened.

By that time, I was living in Vienna. I had my hair cut twice while I was there, both times by stylists who were under the age of twenty and spoke little English. Somehow, things turned out well enough. Those haircuts were 28 euros each (about $45 at the time) but you were also expected to tip a few euros to stylist and maybe one euro to the person who washed your hair - always two different people.

I've had one haircut since I got back from Europe. My last haircut cost $11. No kidding. I didn't go to one of those chain places, either. I drove all the way down to Franklin, Indiana, to a "beauty shop" where a co-worker has been going for twenty-some years. The woman who cut my hair was very nice and she did everything I asked. I really couldn't tell that much difference (OK, there was some difference, but it was minor) between the $11 haircut and the $75 haircut. But I probably won't be driving down to Franklin anymore just to get my hair cut. It's just too far.

I'm now trying to decide what to do with my hair next. I really like the convenience of short hair. It only takes about 2-3 minutes to dry! And there's not much to do except slap some paste on it. Sometimes I don't even bother doing that.

Should I go back to the f-bomb stylist and pay out the wazoo? Or find someone new? Or maybe just do like my Aunt Florrie and cut my own hair? Would anyone even notice? Sometimes I wonder!