Thursday, September 27, 2007

Parting Waves

Gentlemen readers of this blog will probably want to skip today’s post. This is about something only the ladies will understand.

OK, girls, now that we are alone – My hairdresser is moving!

[pause for exclamatory responses]

Yes, that’s right. Jenny, who has cut my hair for nearly 20 years, is moving. To Florida. Do you know how far Florida is from SW Ohio? Neither do I, but I do know it is too far for me to drive there for a hair cut every 6 weeks.

Now, let me note that I am not particularly vain about my appearance. I rarely wear make-up or jewelry, and my style in clothes is heavy on comfort, function and practicality, light on fashion. But, I have great hair. It is thick, dark, naturally curly, and takes very little maintenance, which is good, since I am pretty much a low-maintenance kind of gal. (Or am I like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally” – high maintenance who THINKS she is low-maintenance?)

Those of you blessed (and cursed) with naturally curly hair will recognize the love-hate relationship my hair and I have had over the years. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, when straight-straight hair was in, my hair and I received more than our fair share of jokes, but we have gotten our revenge in later years. Now, we coexist in relative harmony, except on days when my hair feels it is necessary to remind me who is in charge of our personal style. (For the record, it is not me.)

My look is dependent to a large degree on the weather (high humidity days are hell) and the whims of my hair’s independent streak. Some days it behaves perfectly well, while other days it is fly-away, frizzy, and sticks out every-which-way. I don’t know why, it just does what it wants to do. When people say, “Your hair looks great, what did you do?” I always reply, “I wish I knew.” However, over the years, I have learned that one important part in the care and management of naturally curly hair is a good stylist. One visit to a beauty school in college and occasional trips to the $5 El Cheapo Salon convinced me that even if I don’t spend any money on the rest of my body, I HAVE to pay for a good haircut.

Time to see Jenny!

Finding the right person to cut naturally curly hair can be tough. I find it is best to rely on someone else with hair like yours, which is how I was introduced to Jenny in 1987 or ’88. And, except for the year I moved to Marietta, Jenny has been taking care of my hair ever since.

What will we do to my hair today?

You can develop a hair-style shorthand with a stylist who has known you that long. I can tell her, “I’m going camping later this month,” and get my “camping” haircut (very short, trimmed in the back, no need for hair care products or blow-dryers) or I can say, “Well, I guess it’s time to let it grow for the winter” and she knows what I need without explanation. A good stylist will be honest with you, too, like the times when I crave long luxurious locks and she tells me, “Kathi, your hair won’t do that, unless you want to spend a lot of time with the blow dryer and curling iron every morning,” something she knows I won’t do. I appreciate her honesty.

And, I trust her not to screw up my hair. Today, I said, "I'm in a rut, I'm bored, I need a change. I am going to a wedding and then on vacation, what can we do to my hair that's fun?" Jenny said, "How about highlights?" So, on went the tight cap, and she began to use what appeared to be a little crochet hook to pluck tiny strands of my hair through the holes in the cap. (This was mildly painful.)

Porcupine head!

The next step was to brush on a really smelly solution, cover my head with another plastic shower cap, and sit under a dryer, baking. What price, beauty.

My first highlights. It doesn't really show in this photo, but I see a big difference in my hair color after that process. (I have to say that, for what it cost me!)

Thanks, Jenny, for understanding me. I will miss you!


Sara said...

Oh, Mercy ! You really have my sympathy, currently I'm in the same dilemma. You are absolutely right about the pitfalls of the drop-in, quick appointment type salons...Danger, Danger ! Bad haircut ahead !
So, back to the tactic of asking TOTAL STRANGERS with good haircuts for the name of their stylist. Best of luck Katdoc, I hope you find another artist.

holly said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear of this! When I worked in the salon for that one month last year (hired as 'massage therapist' but in reality their minimum wage receptionist, head towel laundress and chief color bowl washer-outer) I got to see an interesting side of hair stylists not normally seen by a once-monthly vist. We had 2 that did the same thing to everyone-every lady got a wash, set, comb out, tease, curling iron and a ton of hairspray. The other 2 were true stylists that cut according to the person's lifestyle, hair type, etc. No one ever looked the same and most of their styling was done with fingers and comb (easily copied by hair owner).

Can Jenny give you a referral that she knows, someone she trusts to style the same way she does, listening to you, styling for your life?

And ooh-la-la on the highlights. I remember you saying you'd give up other things before your remember that message board conversation, don't you? ;)

KGMom said...

Kathi--I totally totally totally understand. I have not been as fortunate as you to have one hair person for almost 20 years. But I have wavy (not quite curly) hair that definitely has a mind of its own. And several years ago, I went through similar trauma when my then hair stylist decided he was leaving hair cutting to go into real estate. Real estate? !
Good luck in finding a new person to help you in the hair battles.

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, Kathi! Hi-lites? Can't wait to see that.
I have the curse of naturally curly hair, but over the years, I did way too much to my hair and it gave up on me for a while. It is finally coming back to its curly glory and would look a hell of a lot better if I cut a good 6 inches off.
The only good thing about humidity is what it does to my curls. I get that Raphael look.
Sigh. But why did I grow all this hair? It's not like I have time to do anything to it other than a daily wash/condition.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know just how you feel. We recently moved and my two biggest concerns were: 1) choosing a new veterinarian, and 2) choosing a new hair dresser. So much harder than finding a new dentist, or opthalmologist, or internist. (And WAY more important!)

Julie Zickefoose said...

Like Sara, I ask perfect strangers who cuts their hair. I have just recovered from a merciless butching. It took a whole year to get enough hair grown to cut again. And now I'm going to try to go back to Tina to get it thinned on top a bit so it doesn't flop around. I can completely sympathize with you, KatDoc, because I used to drive 1 1/2 hr. to Athens just for a haircut every six weeks, until it just became too much of a pain in the butt. I trusted Alex, and now I'm trying to trust Tina, and so far so good. It's hard having hair, but it's much better than not having it, as certain people like to point out to me when I whine.
Lookin' forward to them highlights! Yer brave! My word verification: dyyko. Hmmm.