Haircuts from Hell

Stories of haircuts and hairstyles gone wrong – Part One

Why on God’s green earth are there no songs dedicated to the impossible pursuit of a good hairdresser?! The search for a good man is the stuff of legend and song. Women kvetch in bars and beauty salons about the frogs they have kissed trying to find the prince hidden inside. Many have the warts to prove it. But for millions of women, a good hairdresser trumps the hardships of finding a good man! Sure, we know the general hangouts. And we have recommendations from trusted friends. But unlike dating a guy, you really have to “jump into bed” with a hairdresser to know if you’ve found a good match. Go out with a man and you get a feel for how he may act in a relationship. Not always, but a few more dates and you know pretty well if he’s a control freak, a braggart, a stinge, a romantic or just too needy. The final phase can be delayed until you’re ready, but if this guy has real potential as a mate, the bedroom is less likely to be a deal-breaker. And you can allow a little leeway for the learning curve!

hairstyles from hell

Not so a hairdresser. Say you like the ambiance of the salon. The cost is right. You find this person pleasant and understanding about your needs. And three close friends swear this hairdresser is God’s gift to women. But until you put your trust in those powerful hands and commit to the cutting, you don’t know squat, sister! I know whereof I speak.

Recently I received the third Haircut from Hell of my life. It got me all worked up about this issue with hairdressers and who can we trust, and how many women have been traumatized at the hands of professionals? Almost every woman I know has Haircut from Hell stories. It often starts in childhood with mothers who always cut the bangs too short. Though, when I was growing up, they revolutionized hairstyling with the Toni Home Perm. Oh, God. I remember those noxious fumes and the hard little curlers. Followed by a long period of overly-tight hair that you could barely get a comb through, and adults oozing, “Don’t worry. It’ll loosen up soon, and you’ll look really pretty!” Gee, my mom said I was really pretty before she gave me that hideous perm.

Haircut from Hell I

My first real Haircut from Hell will probably hold the title of #1 Worst Ever for the rest of my life. It was a dreary winter day in 1982. The fifth month of my fifth pregnancy. I needed a pick-me-up. Having no favorite hairdresser yet, I ventured into a salon at Lazarus, because we had a charge card there, and they were having a sale on perms. Big hair was in, and unlike my sister’s, my hair was never big without help. Confident and hopeful, I pointed to a picture of a slutty model with black hair and Brooke Shields eyebrows and asked if my hair could poof out like that with a perm. No problem, she assured me. Two hours later I emerged resembling the Bride of Frankenstein, minus the white streak. I had not gone in and said, “Can you make me look like that hot wench who married the Frankenstein Monster?” Yet somehow my stylist must have interpreted my request that way. Strangers sidled away, fearing I may have escaped after an aggressive round of shock therapy. My friends and family could not look at me without choking back laughter. Followed by lame apologies, “I’m sorry… (snicker)…. It’s not really that bad.” (suppressed giggles) When I went to pick up my husband in the lab where he worked, one of his co-workers later asked, “So, Doug… your wife stick her finger in a light socket?”

These science geeks aren’t known for their suave social skills. Only my sissy was totally sympathetic, “You should sue their asses!” She has anger issues with hairdressers. Weeks later, when it had calmed down and returned to its own color, my picture was taken at our daughter’s fifth birthday party. So I do have photographic evidence, but I suspect the statute of limitations for a lawsuit has expired on Haircut from Hell I.

To be continued…