The Ragamuffin Kid

occasional rumblings of the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out

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I am a traveller on my way Home, passing through this little land. It's a lovely place, though nothing compared to where I'm heading, I was told. I have journeyed through several valleys. Not the kindest place I must say. But hey, I've had some "mountain top" experiences too. They made me long for Home. I heard there are no valleys at Home. I have met some fellow travellers along the way. But mostly find myself among locals. If you're local, please bear with my quirkiness. I know my accent and ways are puzzling sometimes. If you're a fellow traveller, keep going. We should be reaching soon. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hairdresser from Hell

Let me deviate a little from my usual writings about spirituality cos I JUST HAVE TO TELL YOU about my "devil-prada" experience at a local salon last Saturday.

I have not had a hair cut for a long time; not even a trim. The ends were beginning to look and feel like straw. It is also badly out-of-shape from months of neglect. I have given up searching for a good hairdresser with a reasonable price. Either they are good but overpriced (like $80 and above) or acceptable rates ($30-$40) but so-so results. Service, while important to me, is not as crucial as a pair of skillful hands and good judgment. Of course price comes into the equation too. Although I appreciate good service, I do not let it affect me too much as long as they can deliver what I want.

Last Saturday I thought I should give my old stylist a chance again since his salon is near by and he did a pretty good job the last time. The only problem is, he can be very intimidating - read: make you feel like the ugliest person in town. That was why I have not looked him up for over 2 years. I went only as a last resort. I was out of options. It's either I go to someone totally unknown (translate - very risky) or to the rival salon next door who's salesperson corners you like a vicious pirana - no thank you. Pride may be a tough pill to swallow but I thought could handle it.

He: Hello. Wow...It's been quite a while.

Me: Yeah.... 2 years at least?

(He was probably wondering who I've been visiting for the past 2 years but I didn't bother to explain)

He: So...what can do for you?

Me: Errhem (I cleared my throat a little)..... I would like to have a trim. The previous stylist thinned too much of my hair out, so a lot of the roots are very short now. I want to grow them out but in the meanwhile I need to have the dry ends trimmed. So if you can do that and give the overall some shape, it'd be good.

I could see his growing disapproval as I tried to explain what I wanted. He cut me off mid way and told me bluntly that I'll end up with a mushroom-like head (ie. puffy at the top) if that's really what I wanted him to do. I asked about different ways of toning down the volume since that is a major problem he foresees. He was adamant with his position. Every option I explored or suggestion I made was met with a blunt no from him. So after exhausting all of my own ideas, I asked him what he would suggest.

"Either you cut it short or do a soft straightening. Nothing else will work."

That would mean either I end up with a short layered bob or I can have what I want minus the dreaded volume. The second option sounds good except that the so called "soft-straightening" was how I ended up with all the stick-straight dry ends in the first place. And I have vowed never to do anything chemical (read: murder) to my hair again. I want back it's natural texture, softness and luster. Never mind the curls and volume. There are people who actually envy me for them anyway. All I needed was a good cut.

Seeing I was visibly perplexed by such limited options - which were really not much of an option from my point of view - he adds,

"Look, I think it's better that you go back and think about what you really want and come back when you're ready. You don't seem to know what you want."

I stared at him. I thought I was just exploring the possibilities?

Seeing my lack of response, he continued, "It's not that I can't do what you ask. Just that it will turn out horrible and people will talk about what a lousy job I've done when they look at you. I am very honest with my clients. If something is not gonna work, I tell them. I don't want to waste their time and mine. I don't need to earn such money. If they're not happy, they can get someone else to do the job and come back to me to complain about how the other stylists have damaged their hair. I don't have time for this sort of thing. You came to me because you have confidence in me, so you have to trust me."

Now, I have no problem with my stylist telling me that my request will not work because he knows his job better than me. I can deal with that. What baffled me was how reactive and defensive he got when I have not said anything to doubt his skills. I was just exploring my options. He went on and on about his annoyance with his clients - by the sound of it, anyone who dares to ask questions. He asked why I did not want to do the straightening and I told him honestly that I could not keep up with the time and price involved to maintain it. He seem to accept that explanation at first but went on to brag about how much he spends on his face.

"Do you know how much I spend on my face? Much more than what you spend on your hair. There is a price to beauty."

Yes, you have a point. But not everyone is as vain as you. I started to ask him about Japanese cut. Being fellow Asians, I thought they would share similar hair structure as us Chinese. If they can have a good cut why not us? He lean close to me and whispered,

"I am not trying to be a hypocrite but.....those Japanese girls are prettier than you.....taller than you."

I was shell shocked by his tactlessness. He made further remarks about my petite frame and lack of height. A few pairs of eyes were already on me. His assistant was visibly sympathetic while I was more bemused and embarassed than I was angry. This guy is WAY over the top.

In the end, I stuck to my original decision and the result wasn't as bad as he made them to be. The soft curls at the base added a sense of femininity and my hair had never felt so natural and healthy in a long while.


(btw, did I mention that he also bragged about how much he spends on his trips to UK? Jeez....)


Blogger Jennifer said...

That's terrible! You were brave to go back to him, and braver still to stay when he unleashed his ego on you!

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! thats not the way he should treat his customers! totally rude!! how can he critisise and compare ur sizes.. so mean!! its not like the japs are any taller. infact, they are not as tall as they always report! dont go back to him!! please!

i too once had a haircut downstairs. i wanted the funky short hair and ended up looking like im balding and she actually blamed that it to my sparse hair roots! wtf, i dun have balding symdromes! she layered it too much. from then on, i never go back.

i heard from my fren maisons in far east is actually quite good, u could try? ~less $30. ex but at least not pissed. and good.

10:46 AM  

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