Being a hair stylist isn’t just about cutting people’s hair; it’s about making your customers feel good they chose you to cut their hair. Hair stylists have a different styles of social interact with their clients, from tight-lipped to gossipy. But no matter how your hair stylist talks (or doesn’t talk) to you, there are some things you just never want to hear.
I’ve always been wary of getting my hair cut by a stylist. After all, cutting hair isn’t that hard, and I can cut my own hair into the style I want ninety percent of the time. I’m actually kind of a savant when it comes to cutting my own hair, but that’s another story.
From time to time, I’ve enlisted the services of professional hair stylists. As a teenager, I thought it was great fun to plop myself down in an unfamiliar hair stylist’s chair and say, “Surprise me!” I got some great haircuts that way, and I suspect I was the guinea pig for more than one Fantastic Sam’s employee to vent his frustrated creativity. I’ve had everything from a mohawk to a steeply asymmetrical bob, and I’ve loved every one of my “surprise” haircuts.
On the other hand, a surprise haircut also means a surprise hair stylist. To preserve the theme of the unforeseen haircut, I never went to the same hair stylist twice. You can see what’s coming next, right? Let’s just say that although the haircuts were fun, some of my hair stylists were more socially adept than others.
It started with the woman who gave me the haircut that resembled a pixie cut in back and a graduated bob in front. I loved that haircut, which seemed to become popular in the late nineties before resurfacing again recently. The haircut was neat, but not the reason I’m telling you about this particular stylist. The point of this story is that this woman exclaimed, mid-haircut, “Wow! You’ve got such a hairy neck!”
Now, I’m mostly Hungarian, so the fact that my neck was this hairy didn’t come as a total shock. The fact that my hair stylist seemed repulsed and surprised enough to tell the world was a bit shocking. Up until this point, I expected hair stylists to have a bit more tact when it came to other people’s head abnormalities. I was proven wrong yet again when I asked my hair stylist (probably against my better judgment), “Is it the hairiest neck you’ve ever seen?”
She faltered a bit before answering, “WellÃ¢Â?Â¦on a woman.”
Okay, so I’ve got a really hairy neck. All the other hair stylists who cut my hair before her kindly shaved my neck in silence. This woman managed to make me insecure about my hairy neck for the last seven years of my life. I’m slowly getting over it, but no one’s mentioned it recently.
On another occasion, a hair stylist (giving me a Billy Idol cut that I would later bleach blond) essentially told me my mother didn’t love me. This is what she said, and I’ll let you interpret what she might have meant.
Hair Stylist: “Wow! The back of your head is really flat!”
Me: “I have a hairy neck, too.”
Hair Stylist: “Usually, I only see really flat backs-of-heads on my Asian customers. Their mothers don’t carry them around everywhere like in the U.S., so their skulls develop a flatter shape in the back from being on the floor.”
Me: “SoÃ¢Â?Â¦what does my flat head mean?”
Hair Stylist: “Your mother must have never held you, because the back of your head is really flat.”
Okay, maybe I’m being sensitive, but a hair stylist really shouldn’t talk about my mother like that! I cut my own hair for years after that one, mortified that future hair stylists would also notice the flatness of my head and speculate on my mother’s lack of affection for me.
I just recently moved to Chicago, and I thought I’d get a haircut to celebrate my arrival. I’ve been growing my hair out for a while now, and I wanted a bit of style to go with my new length. Just my luck – the hair stylist I randomly chose was another one of those socially backward types who can’t keep from making me feel bad about some aspect of my head.
Silly me always assumed that my thick hair was something to be proud of. My hair can sport a wide variety of haircuts and styles. My hair also grows quickly and doesn’t get very damaged when I dye it. Apparently, thin hair is in this year or something, because my most recent hair stylist accused my thick, healthy hair of resembling a helmet!
While it’s nice to get my hair cut by a professional stylist, I often don’t think it’s worth the grief. If I had to hear something derisive about my hair, head, or neck every time I got my hair cut, I would’ve started buzzing it off a long time ago. As it is, I cringe when I consider my next hair cut from a stylist. I’ve already got the hairiest women’s neck in the world, the flattest American head, and a helmet permanently attached to my scalp.