When Good Hairstylists Go Bad
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As a token of my appreciation for my mother, I bought her a gift certificate from a local hair salon, so she could get pampered. I used to do her hair myself when I owned my salon, but after retiring from a 20 year career, I buried my scissors, blow dryer, and curling irons in the backyard next to Farfel, our dead rabbit. Unlike Farfel, who I still think of fondly, my career as a beauty professional has all but left my memory.

Itís not so much that I retired in the sense that I sold my salon, and everyone threw a big party for me. Itís more like I was issued a restraining order that states Iím not to go within 30 feet of anyone who has a scalp (but thatís another story). Not going near anyone with a scalp is fine by me since a scalp is usually attached to a head, and that head usually has a mouth that tells all.

  
 
I donít know what it is about people that make them want to tell their hairstylist, a complete stranger, their entire life story. The most intimate details are shared in a hairstylistís chair. I just donít understand it. Maybe itís because theyíre not facing you and canít see the look of shock in your eyes. I mean how can they feel safe with someone holding a pair of razor sharp scissors close to their temples? Why do they feel safe with someone who has the power to make them look like Carrot Top, if the mood strikes? And let me tell you, "The mood STRUCK." (But thatís another story for another article as stated in the previous paragraph)

Speaking for all beauty professionals, we do try to be empathetic and compassionate as clients tell us deep, dark secrets that oddly enough make our hair curl.

I would spend extra time with clients that had serious troubles and give them any resources that might be of help. I would hug them and cry with them. This made me feel good about myself. You know, kind of like Mother Theresa except with a cape and mousse.

Toward the end of my career, however, I grew numb to the constant whining and bearing of souls. I emotionally shut down (cracked). Whatever piece of Mother Theresa that I thought was in me, had apparently packed up and moved to Bangledesh because I just couldnít grasp their demands for my time anymore. Yes, I had cut my last head, colored my last grey hair, and heard the last of Thelma, Adam, and Bernice.

Thelma, would never again have the opportunity to tell me about her ongoing foot fungus that I got to view up close and personal during sandal season. Adam would not be able to share with me stories of his "curious" years in New England. And my weekly Saturday appointment, Bernice, would never again explain to me how marrying her cousin Roger would end up causing her offspring to walk funny.

And if the talking wasnít bad enough, there were the outlandish demands to transform a client from "Hairy Mole Woman" into Jennifer Aniston. I always liked a challenge, but there was only so much I could do with clippers, a flat iron, and prayer.

I know this sounds a bit dramatic, and please donít let my confessions color your view of your own personal stylist. Iím sure she or he loves what they do. This is just my story, or part of it (please see note on paragraph 2 and 3).

So when I handed my mother the gift certificate, I told her to be kind to her stylist. I said, "If she asks you any questions about whatís going on in your life, or what kind of haircut you want, just smile and tell her she reminds you of Mother Theresa. Sheíll give you a great haircut, and you will have kept her in the business for one more day."

If only I had known that catering to my clientís every need would have led to my downfall, not to mention my arrest, I would have saved a lot of heartache, and I would still be allowed to buy scissors, duct tape, and Craftsmen Bushwacker Hedge Clippers in the state of New York. (The hedge clippers and tape are part of that other story, but as I stated before, thatís another story.)

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