Oh my god. I have been mugged, people. At the hair salon. To be mugged is to be assaulted, usually with intent to rob, according to good old Merriam Webster. And I was definitely assaulted, and then I handed some money over, so the term “mugged” is for sure appropriate.
What the hell is going on these days with the stylists out there? This is the second stylist I have been to in a high-end-ish salon where the haircutter people are viciously attacking their clients. This lady tried to kill me. She wanted my scalp ripped off of my head. She really did. This happened to me yesterday and I can feel my head still tingling a little today with the brutality.
She looked normal enough. I was going to her, and not the woman I saw last time, because that woman was booked up and my hair could not wait. So I smiled and shook the new lady’s hand, and she smiled right back at me and then put me in the Chair of Pain. She started out by washing my hair like it was a dingy prairie dress that needed beating against a rock. There was wringing. Hard wringing. Ow ow ow. I think she may have scrubbed my hair hard against a metal washboard. Ok, maybe not, but I can’t really be sure since that is exactly what it felt like. I have to insert at this point that I am no delicate flower that can’t handle hair pain. I grew up a dancer and am used to people tugging at my hair and pulling it back so that I have that instant facelift feeling. This was more than that. I tried to speak up: “um, a little less pressure please.” But that’s what you say to a masseuse, not a hair stylist. What do you say to a hair stylist to indicate that you would like the hair to stay in your head, please? My head should not be jerked around on its neck like that. This ain’t no tug of war, lady.
After she beat the dirt out of my very naughty hair, she came around to the front of me and (without telling me what she was about to do) took one of my hands, pulled up the sleeve of the hoodie I was wearing, and started squeezing the living daylights out of my arm. My head was still leaned back in the sink at this point so I couldn’t quite see. In the middle of this assault, she says “this is your complimentary massage. Just relax now.” A massage? Is that what we’re calling this? Because I can feel your nails, digging into me. Remember how Monica Gellar thought she gave great massages? This lady was Monica Gellar.
Then, she started to cut and style and blow dry my hair. My head was a big wad of pizza dough and she was kneading the shit out of me. She actually had to put one of her feet on the bottom of my chair, to counterbalance her attacks, or she might have pulled my ass right up off of the chair. She was putting that much effort into it. It was like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in that Barber of Seville cartoon. She was a heartbeat away from kicking her shoes off and standing up on my head like Bugs did.
“Your hair is so healthy. I think you are going to be my hair product model for the day!” she says all of a sudden. What? What is a hair product model?
A hair product model, people, is a person who has every single hair product ever created in their hair. Let me list for you all the things I had gooped on my hair by the end of the session. I know this because she gave me a little list of products to take home with me. I had: leave-in conditioner, a hair nourisher, a hair detoxifier, a hair volumizer, hair gel, a hair pomade, and hair spray. And, as she layered all of this crap into my hair, she kept explaining how I didn’t need any of it. Figure that out. “Your hair is really shiny, so you don’t really need this pomade. But hey, let’s try and give it even more shine, shall we?” “You don’t really have fly-aways, but if you did, this is what you use.” What the hell, lady? First you beat me up, and now you’re trying to kill me with fumes? Now I know why shampoo bottles say “rinse and repeat.” Because that is exactly what I did when I got home. I lathered, rinsed, and then I repeated. Several times over.
Then, when she finally had my hair almost done, she ran a comb through it a few times, from the front of my hairline across to the back of my head. Except, she kept overshooting and starting the comb stroke near my eyebrow. Sure, go ahead. Rake your comb across my forehead. Get dangerously close to my eyeball. I am pretty much numb at this point anyway.
Needless to say, I am not going back to this dominatrix of follicles. But let me just say this. What disturbed me the most about this experience was not that she beat me within an inch of my life. What disturbs me is that I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say. And I am a very self-possessed, assertive person. I am a person accustomed to knowing what is ok with me and what isn’t, and I have no guilt, no shame, in telling you what those things are. Boundaries is my middle name. (“Librarian Boundaries Girl.” Not kidding.) It is one of the things that I am the most proud of about myself. And yet, in this situation, I was waging a silent battle. I was pissed off, pulling my head back against her every time she pulled at me, but not a word came out of my mouth about it.
So I am saying this now. On the off chance that anyone out there reading this is a hair stylist. Please. Don’t let clients’ heads be your vehicle of getting your aggression out. Stop the madness. Or else one of these times, there will be a client uprising, and you don’t want an army of pissed off ladies high on hair goop such as myself fighting back. It won’t be pretty. And aren’t you in the business of making us pretty?