So I thought I was going to get all philosophical and discuss "happiness" with everyone since I'm reading Happiness is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager for my bookclub buuuut.... then I went to the hairdresser and my post was born. I’m not one of those breezy women who floats in the salon on a cloud of self-importance; rather I skulk in as my confidence trails behind me like a sullen teenager. I really wouldn’t go at all except this year I’m trying to actually be honest with myself. I’ve seen the pictures and reluctantly agreed that *sob-sob* only Jennifer Aniston and Christie Brinkley can still pull off that carefree California hair. I, on the other hand, just look tired. And old.
So I took a deep breath and went and saw Niklaus, my imposing German hairdresser (I've changed his name to protect his identity but who am I kidding? There's only one tall German man who cuts hair on the tiny Micronesian island of Guam.) So anyway, Niklaus scares me. He's tall and big and has a thick accent but most of all he's quiet. I wind up making up what I think he’s saying and it’s not pleasant. At all.
I plopped down in the seat facing him and with pressured speech I babbled, “Okay here's the story, the cut was a little too short for the first couple of weeks and then lovely for a couple of months but now that it’s been 4 or 5 months it’s gotten a little out of hand and the highlights were nice last time and I want the same color, warm and sunny and not at all brassy or ashy cause you know my skin can't handle it..."
He cut me off abruptly with the universal hand wave and said, “Slow down” He then immediately picked up his rather large yellow coffee cup and took a sip. He smiled and I smiled back, uncomfortably. I think he really meant to say something else, but he showed restraint- which I appreciated. That was just the beginning.
As I waited for him to return from mixing my color, I settled into a book. I figured I'd bury myself behind the words and the morning would progress nicely. No such luck. Niklaus returned, leaned over and very gently took the book out of my hand and placed it on the shelf in front of me. He then placed a pile of foils on my lap. My eyes widened in disbelief. I had just become the first assist to my hairdresser.
I really just wanted to relax and talk about the weather, "How's about this rain?" or perhaps, "Do you think we'll have a super typhoon this year?" But no, this was a collaborative effort. I sat up straight and got ready. They didn't teach me this in medical school, but it felt pretty darn close when I rotated in the surgery clinics. Those were stressful days spent dancing around a surgeon’s ego and learning the fine art of "assisting". I still have one flashback that includes a certain surgeon yelling incessantly, "Eyelash length! Cut the suture eyelash length!"
I'm relieved to say it went well. With each tap of my shoulder, I delivered a foil smoothly and effortlessly. Not too fast or too slow. I was able to anticipate situations and problem solve. When two foils stuck together, I played it cool. I licked my finger and rubbed gently to disengage the pair. When they wouldn't split, I deftly tucked the foil behind the stack and kept on moving. I was proud.
So you see I couldn't talk about a silly thing called "Happiness" when I had real issues to deal with like surviving my salon experience. I'll let you know how the next time goes- but it might be awhile. You can see an older cut in my Flickr photostream at DrCason.org. It's actually shorter now but basically the same. Sort of.
What about you all? Are haircuts intimidating for you as well? And for all you men - Do you go into a fancy salon? I see plenty of guys but my husband won't even attempt it!