by cheri sabraw

In June, I said good-bye to my hair stylist of twenty years. I just needed a change of scenery. She was terrific but the salon was spartan. And so, I made my break.

Since that time, I have been salon shopping, trying to make a match. It isn’t easy because to most women, hair is more critical than say, knees.  Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate workable  joints, but when was the last time you heard someone obsessing over her knees?

I’m sure my notions about how a salon should look and more importantly, how hairdressers should present themselves, are archaic. Or maybe Freud would observe that since I am not young anymore, I am just jealous that I can’t wear black tights, a revealing tank top, and baubles to work.

As I have said before, I am not a prude, but unless the salon is for men-only (aka message parlor, strip club) who  want to get their hair cut while at the same time gaze down a tight blouse, usually stuffed with ginormous breast implants (“Yes…please trim the front of my hair (what’s left of it) very very very carefully and oh-so-slowly, my dear”), then stylists should consider that most of their clients are women.

The first salon I tried in July and in August was clean and upscale, set above a bank on main street. The decor reminded me of a high-class saloon in Virginia City, Nevada. Brick walls, lovely chandeliers, and piano music. It was all quite orchestrated. The stylists dressed in everything from black tights and heels to short skirts and sandals. The talking heads in reception said the exact same words to each “guest” who arrived. “Hi Cheri (said in 1 second). Can I get you some water? Have a seat. Lola will be with you shortly (said in 2 seconds.)”

Oh my.  I am not going back there again. Done with Choice #1.

Yesterday, I tried a new salon in a town known for cowboys, vineyards, and space. This one may be a match.

The stylists were young and attractive but whoever owns this establishment gets that all types of people are its clients and that most women, young and old alike, are put off by New Year’s Eve attire on Saturday morning at 8:00 am. It’s like Frank Sinatra at 8:00 am or caviar on a cracker at 8:00 am.

So, there we were yesterday, competing in the Saturday morning hair challenge. We all sat around a table and drank coffee and looked at People Magazines while our color goop tried its best to penetrate our strong grey strands of steely hair.

This salon understands “pamper.”

There I sat, among the group, with a heated neck pillow. When the time came to wash the dye off my scalp, they covered my eyes with an eye pillow and massaged my hands with Aveda hand cream. The wash basins were such that I reclined instead of the usual back-wrenching chairs, not build for petite women, where your neck bends like a pretzel.

My stylist and the other six there were gorgeous with their skirts, jewelry, and accessories. They looked classy, not trashy.220px-Cosmetology1946

I am going to try this salon again in one month.

Of course, I could go grey and save myself a lot of money and salon angst.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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15 Responses to Hair

  1. Dan OBrien says:

    A 10… While I am an avid fan, my wife especially identifies with this article… She is going through a similar transition.

  2. says:

    well said. Add an “s” to the word tights in paragraph? I am just jealous that I can’t wear black tight , a revealing tank top, and baubles to work. love, cindy

    Cindy Block Usedom Cindy and Partners

    Cell: 510-501-4140 Office: 925-426-3760

  3. Linda says:

    I can certainly identify with this one! When I stopped working in the City, it took me years and actual hair damage to find the hairdresser I now have. She can’t blow dry very well but I don’t care because she is an expert at cutting and tinting. She has received many awards as a colorist and yet she is still about half the price I paid in SF! So I am a happy camper. I have followed her from place to place and she has finally settle just a few miles away at a wonderful salon arrangement called Sola Salons where stylists rent their individual spaces that are beautifully appointed. So I don’t have to endure the “greeting” nor am I forced to share magazines and gossip with others as they wait for the tints to take. If you were willing to come this far you would love her! And then we could go to lunch!

  4. Brighid says:

    Great post! Have been down that road, but now have a small salon that gets it, and me! Which means I race in, ask for something done and they will tell me… that would look great or oh hell no! They have a lot of male clients. It’s a small community so it isn’t uncomfortable to be setting side by side with the newly retired judge, all of us talking about his trip to Africa.

  5. Having recently left the same salon after 15 years and which took you 20 years, I found a tiny shop nearby which is owned and operated by one person, and only cuts, I am happy to simply walk in, sit and have a trim. Voila! I have obsessed for too many years about my hair, and finally said “I’ve had it”!

  6. wkkortas says:

    I sympathize somewhat, as my knees are not everything they once were, and I am having a bad hair life.

  7. Cyberquill says:

    Once, when I was 18, I dyed my hair jet black. I did it on my own in my bath tub at home. Who needs a stylist for that?

  8. Christopher says:

    “……..unless the salon is for men-only (aka message parlor, strip club) who want to get their hair cut while at the same time gaze down a tight blouse, usually stuffed with ginormous breast implants……..”

    Are you saying in so many words that we men are all, at heart, lascivious beasts – implying that women aren’t? Well, you should *read this*!!

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