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1:39 p.m. - 2011-12-07
It's ALL About theHair. Always.

Let the joyous news be spread...this wicked old witch has a pretty, pretty head.

I found a new salon! And a stylist who is talented and listens. Better still, she understands what I'm saying to her. For some reason when I said, "Layer the top. Leave the length and the sideburns alone and trim a neat curve over the ear." The previous two stylists heard, "Attack my head with a razor comb and take whacking chunks of my hair off in random places." It'd be almost funny if it hadn't devastated my hairdo and my self-esteem so badly.

However, the dark days seem to be over. I am very pleased with the new cutter and my new 'do. But before I get into the whole story and the pics I gotta tell you about this other thing. On the weekends Mick is usually in his bathrobe when he goes out to get the paper. The newspaper sleeve is next to the mailbox down at the bottom of the driveway by the road. Inevitably while Mick's out there at least one car goes by and Mick is always embarrassed at being caught outside in his bathrobe. It happened again last Sunday and he came into the house growling. Something about the way he came banging in through the door with his grouchy face on seemed familiar but I couldn't put my finger on it. Then the other night we're upstairs in his den futzing around with this spring-tensioned exercise bar. The bar is called a 'crusher'. AHA! That was it!

Ladies and Gentlemen...Mick in his bathrobe getting the Sunday paper.

You can watch the whole cartoon HERE. Funniest 7 minutes of your day today. Promise.

So. My hair. For months now I've been scoping out salons. There's certainly no shortage of hair salons around here. I factored in reputation (if any), location, probable cost of services, hell, even if my car was likely to get smacked in the parking lot (too much transient traffic at nearby businesses increase the odds). And if I could see into the salon like the ones in the malls I checked out the stylists' own hair. If everyone in the joint had lousy hair what does that say about the quality of the staff? Even the busiest of places have some downtime. If the crew doesn't work on each other, or worse, they do and everybody still looks like, yeah. Perhaps it's a little unfair to judge hairdressers by their own hair, but I wouldn't go to a 450lb cardiologist or an oncologist who smokes, so why go to a salon where the staff has awful hair?

The sifting process went on and on. This place was too far. That one too grungy. Blah, blah, blah. I crossed them off one by one and this one place kept popping up in my mind. No clue why, really. I'd never been in there and its location in a small strip mall where the other stores are a printer's, a vacuum repair shop and a pizza joint wasn't the most promising. Didn't seem like they'd get a lot of walk-ins and if I wanted some nearly dead place with apethetic hairdressers who treat customers like annoying interruptions in their gossiping, well I could back to the place that did the last hack job on my head.

That place wouldn't go away though. So yesterday I got in the car and drove over to Malltown. There was a neon sign in the window that said, "Walk-ins Welcomed". And so I was.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in. The place was clean and pretty and thoughtfully laid out. I was greeted with a smile by a lovely woman with fantabulously cut and dyed hair. I gave her my sad story and my hopes about finding a new stylist to succeed my beloved and now retired Zee. The woman nodded, said she was glad I'd given her place a chance, and then waved me to a chair in the waiting area and offered coffee. She said Carmen was finishing up with another client and would be with me shortly. I looked around. A young woman with a faboo poodle cut and another terrific dye job was sweeping up hair. The music was good. The style books were recent and a nice variety. Good, good vibes all around. I relaxed with my coffee and flipped through the books to find examples of the kind of cut I wanted.

When it was my turn Carmen didn't hustle me off to the sink, she went over the books with me and we talked for a bit about the pics I showed her. Then it was the sink and again, the washing stations were spotless and very cool- the panels over the lights in the drop ceiling were tinted to look like the sky. Blue with fluffy clouds. I just kept getting more relaxed and happier. Whatever happened from here was going to be good.

And it was. Before even touching a scissor Carmen combed and flipped my hair around, seeing what I had and how it could be styled like I'd asked for. She and I hit it off right away. Then while she carefully started to snip and comb and snip some more we started exchanging stories about kids and men and her experience as a stylist. She told me how much she liked the shop and her boss, who she'd been with for 14 years. Score another one in the plus column. This was no sad place that would fold within the year. Nor was the owner (the woman who'd greeted me) some jerk out only for the quick buck. Everything just clicked.

Now perhaps this sounds a little crazy, it's just hair. But it's NOT 'just hair'. Not to me it isn't. There's no relationship outside of friends and family more intimate than the one I have with my hairdresser. I see my gyno once a year. My GP maybe twice. My tax guy in February. My lawyer (sigh...) as often as necessary, but he doesn't touch me or change how I look. But my hairdresser? Every 5 or 6 weeks. My hair is my last remaining vanity. It's the most obvious outward expression of the woman within. And I want it done right. I want to feel comfortable and welcome and valued as a client. I want to leave looking good and feel my time and money was well-spent. It's truly the ONLY thing I do just for me.

I think I've found it. Found her. The Thomas Jefferson to Zee's Ben Franklin. Now there's still some more growing out to do in a few places, and we'll be playing with shape and volume for months to come. And now that it's cut Mick will finally be allowed to do my highlights this weekend. But even as it is, a work in progress, I am very pleased with the new 'do. Sorry about the quality of the pics, it's very hard to take good pictures of your own head with a laptop camera.

Nifty, eh?

You know, with everything that's gone fubar these last few months it feels like the cycle of Yuck is honestly broken now. A first and very necessary step forward out of the mess. Maybe it's just me and how everything seems more manageable when I have good hair. But is that really such a weird or bad thing? Everyone has a comfort place, a place where you feel strong inside yourself and can get up the juice to take on the rest of the crap. And with me (now that I have Mick and am so securely and thoroughly loved) it's my hair. I feel less lost. More like myself again. Certainly no shrink ever made me feel more whole or more confident than Zee and now Carmen, has. With a good haircut and an eyebrow wax I can face down anything.

In a much better (and prettier!) place, ~LA the Well Coifed

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