Monday, February 17, 2014

This One's for Leah

There’s something about a girl’s hair stylist that is just very personal.  In so many ways, it parallels a romantic relationship. Leah has seen me through breakups, new relationships, an eating disorder, new jobs, schooling (and more schooling) and meeting the man of my dreams.  She did my hair on the morning of my wedding and cut it after I returned from my honeymoon.  She gave me a confidence-boosting haircut two weeks before delivering my first child.  She always knows what I want and also knows what I hate.  She knows my family and all the main characters in the story of my life.  She asks the right questions, gives the right advice and I leave her feeling happy and refreshed.

Long story short, I had a baby nearly five months ago and am going through that balding/hair loss/new hairgrowth/maybe-I-should-go-get-some-Rogaine-for-women type of phase.  As I said, a very fragile time in my life.  I have a precious, healthy and very stubborn baby boy who will not cooperatively take a bottle and who likes to eat every two hours.  I have an irreplaceable hair stylist whose salon is, unfortunately, a 45-minute drive away.  And I was desperately in need of a haircut. You do the math.

I started asking girlfriends for referrals, figuring it’s just a haircut…I’ll be fine.  My sister-in-law, who has hair like a goddess—naturally blonde, luscious and thick, soft, wavy curls—gave her stylist a glowing recommendation; so I booked an appointment.  I waited until baby boy’s naptime and surfed Pinterest, searching for a ‘do that would suffice.  (Let me preface this by saying that Leah NEVER needed a picture of anything.  She just innately knew what I wanted, just like she had ESP.)  I found one that was pretty much what I was looking for: a chin-length bob with bangs…nothing too high maintenance or mom-ish. 

Fast-forward to Saturday morning.  I bounded out of the house (once again, at naptime) eager to meet the new and improved me.  I managed to snag a parking spot only a block from the downtown salon, certainly a sign of good things to come if there ever was one.  I walked in and immediately felt that sense of intimidation that sometimes comes with being out of place.  If the pre-child me was not cool enough for this joint, then the post-child, spit-up-smelling, breast-leaking me was definitely not cool enough.  Strike one.

An Amazon woman with Kool-Aid red hair came to retrieve me from the waiting area with a “Jenny?” and a fake smile.  My name is NOT Jenny; only my mom can call me Jenny.  Strike two.  I sat down in homegirl’s chair and instantly felt as if I might cry.  Am I going to have to tell my life story all over again? She doesn’t even know my name. I quickly explained that I was losing my hair post-baby and that I needed something to disguise my affliction.  (Strike three: she did NOT ask to see a picture of said baby).  I managed to pull my pictures up on Pinterest and she briefly glanced at them and nodded assertion.  Upon washing my hair with some vegan shampoo and conditioner (I know, I was confused, too), we got down to business. 

A short time later, I definitely had a new haircut.  I pretended to just love it as I left and ran to my car, trying not to cry.  It was a mom cut, no two ways about it.  I also weirdly looked like Bruce Jenner circa 2014, when he decided to grow his hair out after his breakup with Kris.  I thought I’d stop at my parents’ house and show my mom; when she said she loved it, I knew I was in trouble.  (For as long as I can remember, we have never agreed about my hair.  When I love it, she hates it, and vice versa).  I burst into tears and started sobbing just like a 4-year-old.  I was still crying as I arrived at home to a husband who was so kind to say that I looked beautiful.

Something this experience taught me: good haircut or not, this new chick could’ve been the Virgin Mary herself and I would’ve found something wrong with her.  I was just not ready to move on, not ready for a new relationship. 

Something else I learned: if you are lucky enough to find a hairstylist you love, don’t let her go, no matter what obstacles may stand in your way!

1 comment:

  1. I understand exactly what you mean about holding onto your hairstylist. I've had the same one for 13 years and before that, one of his employees did it. I have followed my hairdresser all over Southfield, (4 locations now), and I will never let anyone else do it because he is just that great at making me look beautiful. Interestingly, he's a straight, black, male and I never even imagined that a straight man would know how to do good hair but of the three hair dressers I've ever had, two of them actually were straight, black, men and they always made me look amazing and the one woman who did my hair from 11-15 once was so negligent giving me a perm that I got second degree burns on my temples. Just goes to show ya, lol