When I Grow Up

Gambling With a Hair Stylist Is a Mistake

SCAN0618It was the start of the 80s, the decade of big hair. I had been begging my mom to let me get a perm. I had long, wavy hair that didn’t do anything interesting. I got it in my head that permanent curls would be wide, flowy rings that would bounce just right. When I awoke the morning of my 15th birthday, my mom had left a note with money, telling me it was for me to go get that perm I had so coveted.

So, off to the salon I went. I had a regular stylist, who I loved, but he had casually mentioned once that one of his colleagues was good.  (We had been discussing someone else’s hair at the time.) For reasons I cannot explain, I decided to switch stylists and go to her that day for my perm and haircut.

Though I have always been particular about who cuts my hair, I had gotten complacent, knowing that “my person” knew my likes and dislikes and could be trusted 100 percent of the time. I didn’t consider that I needed to be specific in my instructions. I told her I wanted it permed, and that the end result should be all one length (I had spent years growing it out) so that I would have the desired curls.

She went to work. I patiently sat through the lengthy process, the curlers, the stinky solution, the sitting and waiting, the checking the curl, re-curling and sitting some more. Finally it was done. She took out the curlers and it was curlier than I expected, but I was warned it would relax and fall, that it always starts out overly curly.

Then came the cut. She trimmed the back, about shoulder length, then made the first cut for bangs – right between my eyes. I couldn’t get the words out fast enough to stop her, and it was done. Two inches of hair wide, just above my eyebrows. There was no point in stopping her now, the worst damage was done. There was no way to salvage it. She gave me full bangs and then they bounced. The curl made the bangs even shorter! I had spent many years trying to minimize and hide my high forehead and years growing the hair out and it was gone. With one snip of her scissors.

I should have complained. I almost cried. What I did instead was to thank her, pay her and even give her a tip! Then I went home and cried. For two days. I tried every home remedy I could find to loosen the curls, shampooing right away, soaking in salt water, nothing worked. So I became friends with ribbon and tied a bow. It was the only thing that made it even bearable.

Though I am still particular when it comes to haircuts (I currently have only one person I allow near my head with scissors), I have since learned an important lesson. No matter how bad the cut, hair grows.


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