Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Confessions of a Salon-phobic

I overheard a conversation the other day about Dental Bliss, essentially a dentist-spa hybrid that caters to dentalphobics who have avoided getting dental care for years due to their extreme anxiety about the dentist. (They spoke highly of it, by the way, so if you live near Nashville and have that problem...)

"Wow--imagine neglecting a basic component of hygiene and personal care because of fear," I thought, sweeping my split-ended, under-conditioned, layer-less, product-free hair away from my face. I had been in need of a haircut for over a month, and that is even according to my own lax schedule of professional hair care.

Yes, I am a salonphobic. I blame it on the full time job, the toddler, the long commute...and that is certainly the reason I don't bother even trying to schedule an appointment until I am so desperate for a haircut that I wear a ponytail even on the days I wash my hair. But deep down, I just plain hate going to the salon.

I am intimidated by the super-stylish stylists. Their cute clothes, perfect makeup, unchipped manicures, and trendy haircuts make me feel like I'm in middle school again. Only this time, rather than bodysuits and stone-washed jeans, it's skinny jeans and loose (yet somehow slimming) tunics. I would use actual hair-examples, but I don't know what stylish haircuts are called--then or now.

One thing I'd liked about my Clarksville salon was how normal my stylist seemed. I didn't feel intimidated by her clothes or hair, and she is a toddler-mommy herself, so she doesn't judge if I go twice as long as I should between appointments. But,  I'd had trouble finding an appointment time lately, and since Matt and Kate were both out of town last week, I decided to bite the bullet and make an appointment with a salon closer to work. That would negate the excuse of needing to call weeks ahead for a weekend appointment in Clarksville (or, more commonly, calling a few days before the weekend I want the appointment and having to settle for a time slot three weeks out).

So there I was, trying to look confident and non-chalant while waiting on a cushioned cube for my turn. I had felt reasonably good in my cardigan and gray slacks, but felt dowdy compared to my stylist, who wore black leggings, black high-heeled boots, and a sheer black tunic. Not surprisingly, perhaps, she had relocated to Nashville several years ago with the hope of becoming a singer.

I love having my hair shampooed for me--so relaxing!--but all I could think about was how she must be analzing my huge pores and unwaxed brows. My stomach churned as I sat in the chair, face to face with my own reflection for a half hour. That's an uncomfortable thing to do regardless of the circumstances, and no one looks their best with a drape over them and wet hair flopping in their eyes.

Another girl dressed all in black approached as my hair was being blow-dried. "What products did we use today?" she asked my stylist. My stylist named two French-sounding products (which were probably manufactured in Honduras or somewhere else far from France), and the lady returned carrying several bottles in a little metal tote in one hand, and a leather-bound planner in the other. "Let's see... eight weeks would put you at March 29. Is 2:00 okay?"

"Ummmm...." I replied. It would probably be May before I would even start to think about getting another cut. "I'll need to look at my schedule," I responded.

My stylist finished with the blow drier and went to work with a paddle brush that probably cost $45. I waited nervously for her to put one in the basket of things I would be pressured to buy. She finished up, and fortunately didn't ask me "does it look okay?" It did look okay--and usually does, when freshly cut and styled--but I'm typically so overcome with relief that the ordeal is over to really care. Besides, what do they expect me to say... "no, put those two inches back on"?

My hair looked good, and I was glad to have it shorter and cleaner, with my layers renewed. I know I shouldn't get as worked up about this as I do, and it really wasn't that painful... in the great scheme of things. I thanked my stylist, gathered my things, and headed to the desk to pay. Along with my wallet, I got out my planner.

"So you do want to schedule your next appointment?" the lady asked.
"Yes," I replied. "... let's go with mid-April."


Kim and Josh said...

This made me giggle a little... salon lighting is always terrible and I feel like I can see every wrinkle in my face when I sit in those chairs! But I do love getting my hair washed... aaaaahhhhhhh!

Kristen P said...

I feel your pain! I usually just get my regular trim at SuperCuts or Fantastic Sams because it's cheaper and less intimidating. But even at my most recent trim I found the stylist pressuring me to get highlights! I think all types of salons (even the low-end ones I go to) have taken a major hit due to the economy since people are making cutbacks, thus the pressure for people like me to spend more. No thanks!

Lisa H. said...

I thought I was the only one who felt this way. The comparison to being back in middle school is spot-on, Jess! I always feel intimidated. I just found a new place recently that had good reviews online and is a little more "adult" without loud music or "hip" decorations. Plus, I hate when they talk to me. I don't want to discuss my work, my husband, my weekend or anything else...I just want to relax, close my eyes and enjoy having my scalp massaged.

Lisa H. said...

PS Kristen P has excellent hair! I'm always jealous of it...and I tell her so!

TeeTee Lynn said...

I also feel the same way. I just got my hair cut again for the first time since April of last year. Oops.

I hate feeling unattractive and judged. AND I definitely hate the awkward conversations. Just let me relax for a few minutes in peace. Please. :)

Kristen P said...

Thanks, Lisa! But it's not all that excellent! Recently I started to think my hair looked a little 80's, but Lisa assured me it doesn't.
Oh, and I don't like chatting with the stylists too much either. A little is ok.

My boyfriend was getting his haircut recently and the woman had a thick accent and asked him if he wanted a "SEEZER" cut, and John thought she said "Caesar" like Goeoge Clooney in the 90s, so he's like, "No! Not Caesar, SCI-SSORS on top!" and made little scissor hand motions. He didn't realize he was being rude until I told him later that it was just her accent! She was probably so confused.

Emily. :) said...

I'm so, so glad I'm not the only one who absolutely hates going to the hair salon. I have since I was little.

Katie Bug said...

I am right there with you. I just got my hair cut last weekend...but before that no scissors had touched it since July.
My big issue is the money. I've learned that inexpensive, quick-cut places don't work for me, but I just hate shelling out $50 on a haircut.
Unfortunately, I've also avoided the dentist for an embarrassingly lengthy amount of time.

SpeasHill said...

I'm the same way! One of the best things about Bethpage was the stylist who worked out of a little shed kind of thing on her property. You were greeted by pygmy goats and chickens in the yard. She was a church member and her sons loved Becca so they played with her while I was in the chair. So low-pressure!


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