There are two different classes of women when it comes to getting a haircut. There’s the class that always goes to the same trusted, expensive stylist every three months and comes out looking stunning (shall we call them the upper class?) Then there are the rest of us who would drive to another state if it meant getting to use our 15% off coupon. This particular class of women that I belong to generally chooses the thrifty hair salon simply because we’re afraid to spend a third of our annual income on a cut that we’re most likely going to hate. It’s a sort of epidemic, this female fear of bad haircuts. I’d be willing to bet that millions of women’s haircuts each year lead to undiagnosed depression, recurrent visits to the hair salon for “touch-ups,” and an increasingly frightened female population.
My disastrous, traumatic experience that contributed to my absolute fear of haircuts happened when I was quite young. It was 1993, I was seven years old, and Demi Moore was at the height of her popularity. I can’t say I was a huge fan, being only seven at the time, but I did love her hair. The specific cut I am referring to was sported by the famous actress in such films as “Ghost” and “A Few Good Men.” Nevermind that in the latter movie her character was in the Navy. Needless to say, it was a very short cut for a girl. Also of note, only women with pencil-sized figures and needle-sized necks (ie Demi Moore and Natalie Portman) are able to pull off such a look. My mother tried to convince me that the haircut of my choice might not turn out looking like that of the model in the picture book, but I would hear none of it. My sweet mother with her liberal attitude towards parenting believed in letting me choose my own style. Thanks Mom. I have you to thank for letting me do this to myself:
I know what you’re thinking. That bow’s not fooling anyone. I wasn’t especially horrified with the cut at first. Yes, it was very short, but I was a tom-boy and frankly, it made things easier. It wasn’t until I went to summer school that year with all new teachers and classmates that the traumatic experience unfolded.
I was washing my hands in the girls bathroom when a female classmate of mine screamed, “Eww! There’s a boy in the girls bathroom.” I tried to protest but it was clear by this young girl’s disgust that short of pulling my pants down for proof, there was no convincing her otherwise. All of the screaming had caused quite a crowd to form and eventually a member of the staff came in to intervene.
“Young man, what is your name?” At this point I could tell I was fighting an uphill battle.
“Jordan, “ I replied.
“And just what are you doing in the girl’s bathroom? Get out of here this instant!”
Ok that hurt. I ran out of the room crying. How could a reasonable adult not even ask to hear my side of the argument? Also, I LOOKED LIKE A BOY! That teacher would later apologize to me after learning the truth. As if I hadn’t suffered enough humiliation.
Anyway, that’s about all it took for me to become deathly afraid of ever getting my haircut again. Such drastic measures led to me looking like Cher for a good part of my high school career:
Regardless, my incessant fear of haircuts has followed me since that fateful day in 1993. I still dread going to the stylist. I still put it off and complain about my hair until my husband begs me to go in for a trim lest he cut it off himself while I sleep. I still scour the phone book for coupons to make the process of paying for a haircut I may not like that much less excruciating.
It wasn’t until recently that I began to question this last policy. I was always going to the nearest discount salon to ensure I wasn’t overpaying for a bad cut only to end up repaying for a new haircut. Sure, most stylists had the policy of fixing any unsatisfied customer’s hair for free, but I wasn’t exactly eager to give said stylist a second chance at my scalp with the knowledge that they weren’t getting paid for their services. So, inevitably, I would find an even cheaper salon and ask someone to fix it without compromising length, which every girl knows is impossible. Meanwhile, I was nearing the cost of an “expensive” haircut by my standards and was looking increasingly like a young Bon Jovi.
By this logic, and according to my husband, it would make more sense to go ahead and pay the expensive stylist to do wonders on my hopeless mess of hair in the first place since the price ends up being the same. It does make sense. I could find a stylist who takes appointments (a concept unknown to someone like me who frequents the walk-in salons at department stores). I could build a relationship based on trust and past performance. I could know what to expect every time I walked in and my fear of haircuts would eventually be alleviated with time and countless positive experiences. There’s only one flaw to this theory. What if I hate the $100 cut? (Insert the sound of my husband slapping his forehead in defeat).