For me, getting a hair cut is like going to the dentist. I’ll put it off and put it off, and it’s only when dire need arises (I get a toothache/start to look like the girl from The Grudge) that I’ll schedule an appointment.
My wariness stems from the fact that I’m not really fussed about my hair. I realised fairly early on that it’s never going to be my crowning glory, and that I should aim for clean and kempt rather than majestic. I’m more likely to opt for a JustCuts (or maybe even on old-timey striped barber shop) than a salon, and I usually just ask them to lop off a couple of inches and do something in terms of layering. I never ask them to make me look like Jennifer Aniston, just to stop me looking like an Afghan hound. I sort of get the reasoning of those CEOs who drop $400 on a haircut because it’s something you wear every day (a ‘suit for the head’, if you will…yes, permission to barf), but if a suit requires daily upkeep, styling and trims every few weeks to stay sharp-looking, I’ll go the cheaper non-designer option thanks.
My Haircut Heebie-jeebies also come down to past bad haircut experiences. As a kid I’d cry every time Mrs Edith cut my hair into a mushroom bob (yes, it was on my Mum’s insistence that it ‘framed my face’, but I still feel that that there was some moral culpability or breach of the Hairdresser’s Code right there). The one time I broke my rule and went to an upscale salon, I paid $90 for a hungover J-T lookalike to hack away at my hair like it was a paper snowflake. At one point I felt something wet on my head which I’m pretty sure was beery spittle.
My haircut yesterday was one of the more uncomfortable I’ve had.
I intended to treat the stylist list like a wine list and opt for the most junior (not the 2nd cheapest stylist, which everyone knows is a Trap) but unfortunately only the Senior Director was available. This was ok price-wise as I had a coupon, but somehow it turned my simple ‘cut’ request into a 2 hour-long ordeal.
The assistant spend 45 minutes washing my hair ie. kneading shampoo into my scalp like she was working flour lumps out of bread dough. This migrated down my face til she was literally pushing my forehead skin folds over my eyes. She must have sensed my extreme discomfort because she justified this as ‘loosening the hair follicles to absorb the conditioner’. Riiight…
Once at the styling station, I was offered a drink about 7 times. I was really mystified that they kept asking, because in my mind I would be out the door in 20 mins… but clearly most of their customers need to rehydrate/do settle in for the long haul. Indeed, the topiarising itself took probably only 15 mins, but then the Director set about blowdrying my hair with intensity. She had the power-stance going, biceps rippling, and eyes fixed in hawk-like scrutiny of my tresses. This went on forever! Finally, after 45 minutes I made up some excuse about needing to get to a choir rehearsal and asked her to ‘just give it a quick blast’. She was Not Happy at this, and huffily told me that if I want to get my hair cut, I really need to set aside a whole afternoon. She added that perhaps their salon was ‘not the place’ for me.
…but it doesn’t matter. My course is only 1 year and I just ticked off my annual haircut!