If I had more disposable income, I think I’d get a haircut much more frequently. Oh yes indeed.
I typically wait until my hair is getting out of control– takes too long to dry, starts to curl up on the ends if I don’t attend with hair gel, looking like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket if I drive around with the windows rolled down. Once I reach that point I usually wait a couple more weeks. You know, stretch it out a bit, hang onto that twenty five bucks, maybe until the next payday. Sometimes you need to put gas in the car.
Then I call my haircutter for an appointment in a panic because… maybe my Mom’s coming to visit, or I’m having lunch with a lady friend, or I’ve got a meeting with some bigwigs at work who all tend to be immaculately well-groomed while I sport the Neanderthal look. Some sort of situation where I’d like to put my best foot (and neatly shorn head) forward.
Vicki’s been cutting my hair for 20 years or so. While it’s a little mind-boggling to think of how long I’ve been getting my haircut from the same woman, it’s not at all surprising to me that I keep coming back. Vicki’s just awesome. She’s this tiny little Latina transplant from Florida who’s got this outsize and vivacious personality, a killer smile, a delightful laugh. She’s just a beautiful woman who’s as lovely now as she was when I first walked into her salon so many years ago.
I first came to Vicki while tagging along with a female friend of mine who was one of her clients. At the time, the woman I had been going to for a few years had just jacked her rate up for the third time in just a year’s time and I told my friend I was looking for someone who was more reasonable.
I still remember that first time, not just meeting Vicki but getting my hair washed beforehand. I was a little surprised because up until then whenever I got my hair cut they’d prep my hair by spraying it down with water, or occasionally dropping me back into a sink and wetting it. It wasn’t like my hair was oily and yucky– I wash it each morning. I was a little worried that “shampoo service” would cost me extra, but when the assistant (an older lady who ended up being one of Vicki’s coworker’s mom) applied the shampoo and began to vigorously wash my hair I instantly entered in a trance state and just went with it. It felt so good that I didn’t care if I had to pay for it.
Turns out I didn’t have to pay for it; in fact, over the years as Vicki moved from salon to salon, a full shampoo hair-washing was given prior to every hair cut as a matter of course. And each time, no matter whether it was one of the numerous assistants over the years or Vicki herself, the shampoos were all the same– long, thorough, vigorous, scalp-pleasing hairwashing.
Her current assistant is a beautiful girl who used to work with Vicki a couple salons back and I’m glad to see her back. She’s chatty as she applies the shampoo, the herbal formula smelling wonderful. Her strong hands run through my hair and rub my scalp thoroughly. She doesn’t rush through it, she’s deliberate, going round and round my skull. My skin tingles, my eyes are closed, my body relaxed. I try and keep my wits about me to carry on my half of the conversation with her, but my mind just wants to drift away into a meditative state, my body wants to sleep.
Eventually, but not too soon, she rinses out the shampoo, dries my hair, and with a smile sends me over to chair. Vicki comes around and works her magic, asking me about my kids, life, work, smiling and laughing. With a growing pile of black hair accumulating on the floor my unruly mop is transformed into something smart, manageable, handsome. She shaves the back of my neck with a straight-razor. She trims my moustache and even trims my eyebrows. When she’s done I feel like a million bucks, and she sends me on my way with a big hug.
All this for the same rate she’s been charging me for five or six years. God bless her, and the wonderful women she’s worked with over the years.
Oh yes indeed. If I had more disposable income, I think I’d get a haircut much more frequently.