25 February 2010

Search for the Perfect Hairstylist

I have been searching for the perfect stylist for three years now. Three years. I feel like I should have found someone already. Does this neverending quest mean I'm too picky? Does it mean I am unable to sustain that kind of a relationship?

When my husband and I moved to Fort Worth, I was so focused on adjusting to the newlywed life that I didn't get my hair cut regularly. (Not that I had adhered to a haircutting regimen while on my college student budget.) Then I got a job in the stockroom where no one cared what my hair looked like; I pulled it into a ponytail most days for practicality's sake.

Not long afterwards I began my current job and discovered a lovely little Aveda salon about 8 minutes from where I work. It was new, and right next door to a little bakery/ cafe I frequent. The smell inside was so refreshing (bamboo and eucalyptus!), and they offered you water with cucumber while you waited (never long) for your stylist. I saw the same stylist for three haircuts, and when I called to schedule #4 I discovered that she was no longer an employee. So...I switched to another stylist, whom I came to love. I loved the free bang trims in between appointments. I loved the peppermint scalp massage. I loved the hand massages while in the stylist's chair. I loved the occasional make-up touch-ups. I loved that I could get my hair cut and be back to the office in about 45 minutes. She even cut my hair when I wanted to donate ten inches to Locks of Love.

I saw her for over a year, though our relationship had its less-than-perfect moments. (The receptionist failed to tell me that my stylist had been promoted to the next level - which would cost me an extra 10 bucks. And then there was the time she had pneumonia and they called me 30 minutes before the appointment to let me know I should probably reschedule.) It was a bit more than I wanted to pay - just under $60 with tip for a simple shampoo, cut and style. But it was worth it...right? And then suddenly, last October, I called to schedule a bang trim and discovered that my stylist was no longer working there! No notice, no phone call, no conversation about the break up. And so it ended just like that - without a reason.
The stand-in stylist did a decent job on my bang trim, but she was not a very good conversationalist. And she left those pesky little hairs on my nose (my old stylist would never have done that). So I resumed my aimless search...
A friend had recommended her stylist to me, saying she was fabulous and so reasonable ($25 for a haircut!) and she had the same name as me. Surely all good omens. The only problem was that her salon was 30 minutes away from me - and that's not considering traffic. But I thought for $25, I'd give it a shot. Our first meeting was great, and my hair looked fantastic. On top of that, when I walked out the door there wasn't a hole in my wallet where my money used to be! But then the second appointment had to be rescheduled and I had to settle for a less-than-ideal time. When I showed up for my appointment, I noticed someone else sitting in her chair. She had a blow-dryer out, so I assumed she was putting the finishing touches on this client's 'do. But then she picked up a piece of foil and began painting on highlights - right in front of me! I was so taken aback by this brazen act of infidelity that I got up and walked right out the door. "I don't have time for this," I thought.

That was the final straw. All hope I ever had in the haircutting profession was now gone, and I vowed never to set foot in a salon again.
Well, the "I'm growing out my hair" excuse only worked for so long. I almost couldn't stand to look at myself in the mirror. So I Googled area hairstylists and came up with a place I thought I might try that was close to work. The first haircut went well - until it came time to pay. It was almost as expensive as the Aveda salon AND I didn't get any of the perks! But they did give me a bunch of coupons...so I went back there to get my haircut yesterday. (Even with the coupon, it was still too much.)

It shouldn't be this hard. You see, I am the world's easiest haircut. I always bring a picture. I have naturally straight chestnut strands that do not tangle easily and generally do what I want them to (except curl, but that's another story). I sit still in the chair, never crossing my legs or chewing gum. I can hold up my end of the conversation, but I'm okay if you need to work in silence. I do not have dandruff or any other unpronouncable scalp conditions. I do not color, highlight, straighten, gloss, or perm my hair - which means that a haircut generally takes about 30 minutes.

In exchange for all that, I just want an experienced and reasonably-priced hairstylist at a clean salon that is no more than 15 minutes' drive from my house. Is that too much to ask?

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