I went to go get my haircut this morning.
I am a delinquent haircut customer, I think you are supposed to go in every six weeks but I stretch it to six months because, I don’t know why, really. Why do I do anything?
So I arrive for my twice-yearly haircut, and since we’ve just moved it’s with a new stylist and a new salon – which of course looks like the old salon and every other salon before it. Sleek white furniture, artsy chandeliers, racks full of expensive product I get suckered into buying and never use.
I meet my stylist and change into the black cape-y thing and we arrange ourselves in front of the hair cutting station. She releases my hair from its sad ponytail and frames the whole bedraggled mess around my face, like she’s laying crime-scene evidence onto a table. My hair is now Exhibit A.
“So what are we doing today?” she asks, kindly, and this is when I decide I like her. She hasn’t mentioned a thing about the mountainous ponytail kink, or what must be a glaringly obvious botched home trim job. She just meets my eyes in the mirror and asks, in hairdresser code, “What would you like me to do to fix this, and render you human again?”
“Whatever you want.” I reply, “Seriously, as long as I can still pull it into a ponytail I’m happy.”
She talks to me about light layers and fine hair, and mimes a length just above my shoulders. I nod and she smiles, and off we trot to the row of sinks running along the side wall.
When she asks me what shampoo I use, I sort of freeze, because I don’t always tell my hairdressers that I make my own. I don’t know why. Some of it is small-talk exhaustion and I just don’t have the energy to get into The Whole Thing, so I just say “Aveda” or “Pureology”, which is what I used to use, and then they tell me that my hair is super-healthy, and I smile secretly like some weird lady in a commercial successfully hiding her adult diaper beneath a pair of sensible slacks.
But this time instead, emboldened by her understanding demeanor, I tell her that I have made my own for the past few years with great success, but I just moved from BC and Edmonton water is messing with my whole life. She takes it all in stride, just nods and smiles and listens, making sympathetic noises about hard water and dry air.
Now I really, really like her.
After the haircut I watch her dry my hair, and I decide to do it.
I nervously clear my throat.
“So, erm, when I am doing this – blowdrying my hair, I mean – and you’re not around to help because, well obviously, ha ha! I mean..what do I do, exactly?”
And she looks at me and I see her brow furrow but I just keep plowing ahead.
“Like, when I am blow drying my hair at home. Do I put my head upside down and just, do things with my hands? Or…”
Here I trail off as I see that she finally realizes – as if the lank ponytail wasn’t clue enough – that I am indeed a thirty-year old woman who has no idea how to do her own hair. At all.
I have blow dried my own hair, good lord of course! Many times. I just never have any idea what the hell I’m doing beyond actually getting it dry. I have no concept of the mechanics behind styling to achieve volume or soft waves or anything beyond “not wet”, really.
Every time I get my hair cut I try to watch what they are doing, these stylists who seem to have eight arms like Ganesh ,and eighteen specialized tools. Then I go home and attempt to recreate the effects in front of my own mirror, with nothing more than my own two clumsy hands and a gap-toothed comb.
After she understands what I am asking, my lovely stylist starts giving me a little lesson on blow drying, and I am so glad I finally got the balls to ask. She talks about where to section and where to aim the dryer and how to create volume without looking like you have a beehive. We discuss my crazy post-pregnancy fly-aways and my cowlick, and things finally start making sense. I can see the light!
At one point she asks, “Do you own a round brush?”
“Of course!” I reply immediately, as though the idea of my not owning a round brush was preposterous, more preposterous than a thirty year old needing a lesson in blow drying her own hair.
Here is my hair! It’s terribly exciting, as evidenced by the exclamation point. Groundbreaking, even.
Anyway, if you’re waiting for this post to have a point, there isn’t one, I feel it’s only fair to inform you.
Or if there is, it’s that this lesson was far, far overdue and if you are a grown ass woman who approaches her hair with the same befuddled detachment as I approach mine, maybe you should ask for a mini blow drying lesson, too. I kept thinking how it should have been given to me when I turned thirteen, especially because I never had an older sister to pass on this important knowledge (although I AM an older sister and I certainly never contributed anything this useful to my four younger sisters.)
Or maybe the point is that I can’t wait for Olive’s next bath so I can blow dry the heck out of her hair and show her how to get some wicked volume with this here round brush.
Never forget: I taught that kid everything she knows.