January 27, 2012

Don't touch the fringe

I like my hair. I'm quite attached to it, really, and I know it's attached to me, too.

Last night I got a haircut. I'd bought a Groupon for a place I'd never been before. That's why I love Groupon. Hair cuts are expensive and it's hard to find somewhere good so Groupon lets me shop around affordably. $25 for a haircut makes me very happy. I have found somewhere I really like but with tip I usually drop about $50. Roughly four or five times a year I am totally okay with that and I'm happy with the girl I've been seeing. She understands my hair's needs, but it's still nice to get a good deal.

Last night was one of those "you get what you pay for" situations hair-wise, but it was also full of new experiences, which doesn't happy very often. When I walked in the woman at the desk gave me a little "questionnaire" to fill out about my hair. While I think this isn't a bad idea in general, I felt like they were putting me in a box with answer options that I didn't feel expressed my true hair feelings. I got a little flustered and started over-thinking the whole thing. "How often do I get my hair cut? Do I like big changes or little? What level of styling am I comfortable with?" I found myself worried that putting the closest to correct answer would make me look boring and inhibit the stylist from seeing that I am open to change. My hair was there to be her canvas, so long as she kept it long.

Nothing beats the feeling of lighter, bouncier, fresher hair that comes with most hair cuts. Last night wasn't one of those times. Apparently reading my desires off a multiple choice hair survey really did box me into a boring stereotype.

She sat me down in the chair, asked what I wanted done, and then took me over to the sink. I told her I liked it long but other than that I'm easy. She asked me specific questions about how long I like my layers and how much I wanted taken off of each and where. I told her I'm easy, thinking to myself that I'd never been asked in such great detail before about what I wanted. After that she washed my hair, gave me a mediocre head massage, and then brought me back to the chair. I'm totally not picky about head massages and they don't make or break whether I'll come back; they're an added bonus to the whole process. One time I had a stylist that had no strength behind it and it just felt like she was stroking my head in the weirdest way possible. Last night was a cross between that and a good one.

Once in the chair she trimmed a little here, a little there, spent forever drying my hair (which is normal but boring) and then took a little more out before focusing on my bangs. I didn't think she was done with the rest of my hair. There was pretty much nothing on the floor, but I couldn't see behind me so I didn't know. Well, I was right, not much had come off at all. I'm not even sure she trimmed my whole head.

When I got home I realized that she hadn't used any product in my hair. For a salon that advertise the exclusive line they carry she never once mentioned it to me. I know full well I'm not going to buy anything that costs more than my hair cut, but she didn't even try the up-sell. The whole point of a hair cut is to flog products and hair colouring on unsuspecting deal seekers and to convince them that what you offer is best. My hair looks and feels exactly the same as when I wash it at home, and has none of that impossible to duplicate fresh from salon thing going on.

My bangs were the strangest part of the whole experience, though, by far. I've had them since I was fifteen, roughly eight years, and identify with them. The first hairdresser that refused to give them to me because I wouldn't like them was on crack. Over time they've evolved from very to the side, to a little more centered, to, more recently, straight across. It's been at least six months since I decided to mix it up and go straight or side swept and it's a decision I'm happy with.

I have had bad jobs done on my bangs before. Too short, too weird, too full, too... un-full. There came a point where I'd cut my own bangs and tell the pros to just leave them. Last night felt like one of those times. After trimming my bangs she showed me the finished product and there was a new word for my bangs: crooked. My right eyebrow was totally covered, and part of my left was showing. It took ten minutes to direct her until we were at a place where they looked more or less okay. She kept telling me that the hair was even so I joked that maybe it was my eyebrows. Either way, my face looked crooked and I wasn't feeling it.

It took ten minutes to get her to just trim them in a way we were both satisfied with. I was ready to just tell her to forget it and go home where I'd have a go at them myself.

When I got home I realized that that's how I feel about my hair. I feel like I'm sporting a look that I gave myself, with home cut bangs. I got what I paid for, but I still feel ripped off.

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