I suppose everyone needs one horrendous hair cut story. I suppose I’m lucky I got this far before it happened.
The abridged version goes thus:
Held hostage by junior stylist for 4 hours. All going well until the crazy shit happened. Now traumatised and wearing a hat.
The detailed story is:
Doing chores in town I was approached by a young girl outside a Hairdressing Salon. I almost walked on, I had some more things to do. But I didn’t. For some reason I stopped, removed my iPod earplugs and listened…
“I’m a trained stylist” she said “but I need to learn the way my salon cuts, and I need to do work on shorter hair”
It had been 2 months since I last had mine cut. I needed a hair cut. She reminded me of an old friend of mine – which lulled me into a false sense of security. “I’ll get the cut I want?” asked I “Oh yes!” she replied. She said it wouldn’t take that long and hey – it would only be £10.
So into the salon I went. Into the chair I go, she introduces herself as “Dimante”.
I should have noticed this as a warning sign. But it passed me by as a blip (Dimante? Really? Yeesh).
She looks at my hair, then guesses correctly that the last time I had it cut was 2 months ago. This gives me (false) confidence in her abilities. We have a talk about my hair. A bob basically, says I, but cropped a little closer at the back, and angled down lower at the front. Basically what I already have, minus the extra bit of length that has grown over last 2 months. The style is there, it simply needs tidying up.
“Have you ever thought of having an asymmetrical style?” she asks “It would look funky with it squared off on one side and long and pointy on the other”
“No – I am not that adventurous. Just want what I have. Thank you”
“No” says I. Told story of coming home from school when I was a child and stating unequivocally to mother I was going to grow out my fringe, and that I have never had one since.
“Yes” she agrees “You don’t need one… Small forehead, strong parting, cowslick…” (cowslick I learn is the name for the little jutty out bit of hair I have at the front)
Alfredo, senior stylist, arrives. “Tell me about this hair” he instructs Dimante. “Tell me about shape of head” he demands. “What length would suit her? Look at her face shape” he instructs.
I am again lulled into a false sense of security. He is getting her to see how this hair on my head behaves, and is getting her to talk about how to cut it in a way that will suit the weight of my straight hair, and the shape of my face. Right down to angles. “She has gentle rounded head, Occipital bone here, does not need steep gradient” he says “so gentle gradient – what angle would you use?” When she gets the ideal length of my hair wrong (too short for my liking, and Alfredo’s) He says with Italian Flourish “NO! look again at her face, think again!” He moves my hair around and lifts it to where he thinks it should stop. It is where I think it should stop.
“Here” he explains “She needs some length, shorter would not suit, needs to be below jaw line. She needs long enough to be able to pull back off face like so” (Italian Flourish with my hair – he plays with my head and hair a lot. Is very pleasant)
“Fringe?” he asks her
“No” she says (well, we’ve been here before) “Small forehead, strong parting, cowslick…”
“Correct!” Alfredo exclaims proudly “She no need one – Small forehead, strong parting, cowslick – would not work!”
Feel proud that I chose to grow it out at such a young age when I had no idea I had either a small forehead, strong parting or cowslick.
“Okay!” says Alfredo, satisfied at last “I will put in guides, you will follow” He then sweeps away to finish the glorious locks of his other client.
Hair washing. Nothing dramatic, just the usual bending backwards over the sink awkwardness followed by nice head massage only slightly spoilt by shampoo in the eye.
Waiting for Alfredo to put in guide cuts before she starts.
“It’s a bit dark here, let’s move chairs”
Hair starts drying off. Water dribbles out of my ear…
Alfredo! More playing of hair. Head gets liberally spritzed with water spray. He cuts the length guide. “You follow this round” He says “It is the length. No shorter” He returns to his other client. Dimante starts cutting.
The concentration on her face is intense. I am afraid to talk to her. Don’t wish to distract her in any way. She is already accidentally stabbing me in the neck now and again with the tips of the scissors. Wouldn’t like to think what would happen if she were surprised. She is also pressing the comb against my neck causing a red ligature mark to appear. Awesome.
It takes her a long time. I actually start drifting off. Till my tummy rumbles and I realise I am hungry. She finally completes her task. Hair is now indeed shorter. Good length.
Time for the gradient bit.
“We just have to wait for Alfredo” she says.
Then… She trims a little bit more. Just a tiny bit. Tiny tiny tiny bit.
Humm, maybe, just a little more trimming… here.
“Okay!” Afredo arrives. Flips hair around with Italian Flourish.
He gives her lesson on angle of gradient to cut. He cuts a guide for her. Goes off to see to a new client.
She snips away with similar intense look on face till the left side of the back of my head is done. She looks at Alfredo. Looks at my hair. Looks at Alfredo. She shuffles over “When you’re ready…” comes back. Twiddles hair. Starts cutting right side.
Out of the corner of my eye I see Alfredo reach out and tap her on the arm. She stops.
“Wait” He instructs. He quickly finishes with client and comes over. Tells her off for cutting “Parallel not Vertical” He tidies up what she has done on the left side of my head while showing her how to do it “Parallel”. Much time is spent swapping back and forth as he cuts a bit, she cuts a bit, he cuts a bit, she cuts a bit. Much discussion on Parallel and Vertical. Gradients and Layering and the difference between them. Angles of fingers and cutting. I await the moment when Alfredo produces a protractor, some graphs and a compass while explaining the use of pythagoras’ theorem in the art of hairdressing.
By the end of this the whole left side of my head is done. And it does look good. They move over to the right side. He lets her get to work and watches. She keeps slipping into cutting Parallel (how she has been taught) and he keeps lifting up her elbow and saying “Vertical!” with Italian Flourish. Eventually, aware his next client is waiting, and satisfied she is finally cutting “Vertical” he leaves her to it.
And away she goes. Snip snip. It gets to the point where I think it’s done. I can see it’s not quite the same as the other side, but figure Alfredo will sort that out. Alfredo comes over and inspects hair with Italian Flourish. All good. Now to blow dry hair and lightly trim to break up the lines and soften it.
My head is Blown and Brushed and Straightened straighter than it already is. Then she starts snipping. But only on the right side of my head. A bit more snip. A bit more cut. Each time she stops and surveys her work I think “Ok, that’s it. You’re done”. I noticed the rising swell of fear as she lifts my hair and trims just a little bit more off. MORE? She stops and looks again. I can see a look of panic briefly crossing her face. She wants to get this right… so.. she starts trimming some more.
And for some reason my voice is not working. The more she cuts the more paralyzed I become. I start sending out telepathic messages to any hairdresser who walks by “Stop her! Stop Her! STOP HER!”
Hairdressers are not telepaths.
She wanders away for some reason, and I have a moment to inspect it. I am not sure how I don’t cry. It is excessively short and at a very sharp angle, if I move my head slightly the tiny bit of longer hair drops forward and a huge gap appears across the side of my face. I start to wonder if she decided to go with her crazy asymmetric style after all…
I see Alfredo escorting his client away, He comes over with Dimante and looks at the left side of my head. Which is fine. He shows her how to neaten it up, since she hasn’t touched that side. His next client comes in. He moves round my head and the disaster that is there slowly starts revealing itself to him. She is saying she wants a go at what he did to neaten up the left side, but instead he says he will finish and sends her to wash his next clients hair. He finally takes a proper look at the right side of my head and his face says it all. The look is one which says
He looks over at Dimante and hisses her name. But she does not hear, or ignores, him. He catches my eye in the mirror and a silent exchange takes place.
“Fuck. She totally fucked up your hair”
“Yes. I see that”
“Yes. I know. It’s on my head”
“I will try and fix this”
He starts flipping my what is left of hair around with Italian Flourish. This is considerably harder now. I finally find my voice. I express my concern with the interesting cutting that took place.
“I was with a client” he says “I’m sorry”
He looks over to Dimante again
“Dimante!” He snaps “How did you do this?” She looks back
“I don’t know…” (You don’t know??? you are a nervous cutter! that’s how!)
He flicks it’s around a bit more “I will fix. I will balance it out” He gets to work. There is a 2 inch difference between the left and right side of my head. I watch sadly as the length I wanted on the left is diminished to match the right.
He is even forced to bring out clippers to neaten up what she has done on the right, which means clippers on the left.
I have shorter hair than my boyfriend.
Finally he is finished. I look like a boy. Like a fat boy. With hair that is too short. With a gap in the side. I dare not stand in a mild breeze lest the little bit of hair I have been left with is blown to the side to reveal this gap.
“It is neat” says Alfredo “It is balanced out, look!” he moves a mirror around my poor sad head “you have lovely shape back of head, is good shape, lovely hair line” He did his best to convince me it was ok.
I found I didn’t have the energy to be angry about it. Or that sad. It’s more funny than anything. I gave Dimante feedback as I was leaving “It is a lot shorter than we agreed, you kept cutting, you need to be more aware of that.” Which made her nervous and she dropped my coat and said I should get it cut again in 2 weeks, no 6 weeks, or 4 weeks or erm…
I still found myself paying, as I simply don’t have the balls to say “No, you all fucked up, my hair is a disaster, I will be wearing hats for the foreseeable future”.
I was most shocked that when I left, the church clock said it was 3.30pm. It was getting dusky, but I somehow didn’t believe it. I checked my phone. I had really been in there for 4 hours. My whole day, gone. That annoyed me. I got home and had lunch at 4pm.
I type this wearing a hat.
Edited…. to add pictures!!
First, some ‘before’ pics to give you an idea of what i asked for…
But here is what I ended up with…
If I ruffle it around enough to try and make it look normal, how she actually cut it,
Alfredo’s ‘Balancing up’ of the left side, and a view from behind
(probably the most successful view – at last, I have a best side!)
And here is the hat I am currently hiding it all under…