Salon Etiquette

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Like J, I too am lazy when it comes to my hair. I’ve had essentially the same hair style my whole life. Unlike J, I owe my luxury of laziness – not to the natural growth of my hair – but to my amazingly talented hair stylist who I see about three times a year.

Finding a hair stylist you trust implicitly is not easy and if you are lucky enough to find that person you hold on for dear life and do. not. let. go.  This is a sacred relationship. There is a mutual, unspoken respect here: I will be loyal to you, if you continue to make me look fabulous. If you break that trust – well, you’re on your own. Which is why I am so ashamed at what I am about to tell you.

I cheated on my hair stylist. Not only did I cheat on him, but I cheated on him within his salon – and got caught.

It was not all my fault. I didn’t cheat because I was looking for something better, or needed a change – I am an extremely loyal client. I know that switching hair stylists is a huge betrayal and a hard one to come back from. But my guy was booked solid for weeks and really how much of a hippie/cave women do I have to look like before making an appointment with someone else is not considered a betrayal? After complaining to a friend one night about my lion’s mane and busy stylist predicament, she simply asked “why don’t you go to someone else?” She even recommended a woman in the same salon as my guy. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe how calmly she said it – “find out his days off and make an appointment!” It sounded like the perfect crime. But I did not think I had the balls to do it. What if something went wrong – how humiliating would that be and in the end would it all be worth it?

Long story longer, I thought about it for a few days and decided I was being ridiculous. How much do I pay this guy? Just because he’s booked until Christmas does not in any way mean I need to wait until he’s free to feel pretty again. So – knowing his day off was Wednesday – I called and played dumb. “Oh, is he not in on Wednesday? That is unfortunate. Does Christa have any openings by any chance? 4pm Wednesday? Great! See you then.” I had done it.  It was done.

The day of my betrayal I was nervous – but again kept chanting the facts in my head. He’s the busy one, it’s my hair we’re talking about and most importantly he’s not even there today. No one will ever be the wiser. I had already planned on letting this new stylist know that I had heard great things about her but I belonged to someone else. I had all my bases covered. Except the base where my guy switches his day off because of a last minute photo shoot he has to do on Thursday.

I walk into the salon all confident in my decision and right smack in front of me is my guy busy at work.  I froze. What in God’s name do I do now. Do I ignore him, pretend I don’t see him? Do I approach and confess? Do I blame him in my confession? Do I cry? Because I felt like crying. Crying felt like the most natural reaction. I held it together and went with …ignore him at all costs – no eye contact – pretend you are oblivious to everything around you. I should mention here that I am a blusher. I turn BEET RED when I have even a tiny insecure thought in my head. So you can imagine what my face must have looked like in the bright salon lighting – reflected in the dozens of mirrors all around me. Nowhere to hide.

To make matters worse, the hair washer who I see whenever I am there started to bring me to my guy’s chair out of reflex. I had to stop him and say “oh no! Actually I tried desperately to get a spot with him today but they said he was out and he’s been so busy and just look at my hair its really an emergency so I had to call someone else etc… etc…” way too much information for this hair washer. I eventually get to my proper seat and luckily I am not in my guy’s direct line of vision. I can get through this hair cut without him seeing me and just relax and plot out my apology.

Needless to say it was a stressful haircut. I was sweating on the inside as well as the outside. He did end up seeing me. Our eyes met, I tried to do the awkward “oh my goodness I didnt realize you were here today” smile that I don’t think translated. He was definitely offended and looked away more quickly than I did. God only knows what ridiculous expression I had on my face. I was barely able to converse with Christa because I was going over and over in my head what kind of apology I was going to relay to my guy when this nightmare was over. Maybe I should twist it and be angry at HIM for not being available… surprise attack. He’d never expect that! Or – I can go the comedic route. Isn’t this funny? What are the odds?! In the end I decided it would be best to blame the girls at the front desk. Don’t judge me.

When I was all blown dry and looking fabulous – Christa was as great as my friend said she’d be, not that I noticed until a few hours later when I was home and remembered that someone had actually cut my hair today – I took a deep breadth and walked right up to my guy. He acted surprised, like he had not in fact seen me sitting in the chair near his for the past 45 minutes – good play – and I proceeded on telling him that I had asked specifically for him but whoever answered the phone had told me he was out! Could you imagine!? This was not a lie, per se, just a different take on the events that could just as easily have been the whole truth. He frowned, apologized for the miscommunication and said next time email him directly and we’ll sort it out ourselves.

I seemed to have smoothed it over.  I got lucky and I think we are going to be OK.  I now even have his direct email for such hair emergencies. But even with this “reward”, I have learned my lesson. There is such a thing as salon etiquette and it is not to be ignored.

As crazy as I may sound I know J will understand my perspective here. Which is why we are friends. And also probably why after reading this she will not change her routine of one hair cut a year.

xo K

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