Thursday, January 24, 2008

My cheatin' hair

Oh, the drama. Oh, the angst. Oh, the shame of it all.

I cheated on my hairdresser. And I got caught.

It's not like we had a long-term relationship. I suppose you could argue that we had an "agreement" - but, really, it had never been stated explicitly. It just sort of evolved that way. I started seeing her casually, and then it was just easy to book a follow up appointment on my way out the door, and the next thing I knew we had an exclusive thing going.

But, honestly, I hadn't been seeing her that long. And in my defense, I was just coming out of a ten-year relationship with my former hairdresser. That, in itself, is a long story - my ex-hairdresser is a lovely woman who was with me through a lot of tough times. I care about her - I will always care about her - but things had just run their course, you know? It had become same old, same old in the haircut department and our schedules were such that we were having trouble finding time for each other. And I just needed a change - I needed something new and exciting - I needed some pampering. So when my colleagues started coming back to the office with fabulous new hairstyles... well, it didn't take much convincing to make me stray.

It was some time last summer that I first went to The Salon and met my most recent stylist, Rachel. We were set up on a blind match, and at first it felt like maybe there was something there, but I see now that I was just on the rebound - and perhaps, if I'm being totally honest, I was looking for a trophy stylist.

And Rachel certainly fit the bill. She's young - out of her teens, but not by much. And she's stunningly gorgeous, in that casual , natural way that looks effortless. And she's petite and graceful and lovely in spiky high heels that she stands in all day without getting blisters. The reality was, no matter how fabulous I felt walking in the door, after just a few minutes in Rachel's presence I felt like a barn animal. An old barn animal.

It wasn't her; it was me. Truly. She's just as sweet and as gracious as can be. But she's quiet - an introvert - and so am I. And we didn't have a lot to talk about to start with, so once we got through a few minutes of "how 'bout this weather," we spent most of the rest of the haircut in silence. Not especially awkward silence, but silence nonetheless. But it was fine. I didn't have a reason to end it. And the haircuts were good. So I stayed with Rachel for months.

Then, sometime in November, I got a call from The Salon telling me that Rachel had taken a very sudden leave of absence because of a family emergency and she wouldn't be able to do my December haircut. They fixed me up with someone else. Meg.

Meg is a dream come true.

First, she's experienced. She knows what she's doing. Where Rachel is measured and patient and careful, Meg is carefree and loose and creative. And I can relate to Meg: She's closer to my age. She's a mom of boys. She has pictures at her station of her newly-remodeled kitchen. We have the same gynecologist, for heaven's sake. It's like it was meant to be. Being with her was just so easy, you know?

But she's a responsible professional. She was fabulous, but she kept her distance. She gave great hair advice, but couched it in "I'm sure Rachel has mentioned that..." and "You could talk to Rachel about..." She made it clear that she knew I was taken. So, when I stopped at the desk before I left that appointment and had to book my follow-up, I booked it with Rachel. But I couldn't stop thinking about Meg. So three weeks later, I called back and switched.

I'm one of many to Rachel, I told myself. It's been so long, she probably doesn't even remember me. I was too old for her anyway. She'll be relieved.

I said it enough that I believed it, which made me able to show up for my appointment with Meg today - well, if not confidently, then at least not sheepishly.

Meg came out to meet me in the waiting room, and I thought I caught a look in her eye. But of what? Surprise? Confusion? Delight? I couldn't be sure, and it lasted just a second before she fell into that easy, breezy Meg banter that made me sigh and start dreaming of our future together. I was so caught up in it, in fact, that I was startled when, as I was laying backwards with my head dangling into the sink, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I looked up to see the upside-down but smiling face of Rachel. Sweet, young, beautiful Rachel. She waved, and I stammered: "HEY! Welcome back! It's so great to see you!" My words said "I had no idea I could have scheduled with you!", but I know that my eyes betrayed me, as even upside-down they laid it out bluntly and without apology: "I'm just not that into you."

I tried to put it out of my mind. I tried to focus on the engaging chatter that Meg was so bravely offering up. I tried to remember that when Meg was done working her magic, I would look just a little less like Keith Urban. I tried. But, to my horror, I soon discovered that Rachel's station had moved since the last time I'd seen her, and now - yes, you know where this is going - now it is right in front of Meg's.

So I listened to Meg's delightful monologue as I watched Rachel - focused, hardworking, quiet Rachel - silently cut the hair of a woman who I think looked older than me, but who is probably five years my junior. And as I sat and listened and felt the magic of Meg's clip-swirl-clip, I was overcome with conflicting emotion. I was so happy to be where I was, and yet I felt terrible about feeling so happy. I can only equate it with the feeling one has at the senior prom when one sneaks away from one's prom date to go make out in the hallway with one's ex-boyfriend (er... not that I would do that... what kind of person would do that?)

And then there was the moment - after the final reveal (ta-da! fabulous hair!) and before I walked out the door - when Meg walked me to the reception area and said with the political neutrality of Switzerland, "Brianna can help you if you'd like to schedule another appointment."

And I did. Schedule, I mean. With Meg. But I feel just awful about it. And what's worse, I feel that I'm without options - that I've made myself a hair salon pariah. Stick with Meg and make her an accomplice to my betrayal, or return to Rachel despite the fact that we both know it would not be because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to.

I'm stuck. And angst-ridden.

But my hair? It's fabulous.


Drama Mama said...


Does Meg do color?

Anonymous said...

A hairdresser that's quiet throughout the whole haircut? Sounds like paradise. I haven't had the luck of encountering one.

kristen spina said...

Oh god, I walked this very same road last year. I switched within the salon--and to make matters worse for the poor stylist I was betraying, I took up with her boss. It was awkward, it was difficult. I started taking my son to my old stylist, as what?, a consolation prize.

In the end, I had to leave them both. I do worry, however, that I'm already too clingy with the new girl. I love her cuts, but the color? Well, so-so...and yet, how do I wiggle out of it? Yes, you can cut my hair, but no you cannot color it?


Bea said...

Cheating on your stylist with someone in the same salon??? Ballsy. It's like dumping a girl and then asking out her sister.

Unknown said...

Hee! Only women will understand this post.

Club 166 said...

ROTFLOL! I laughed hilariously at this, because yes, only women will be able to relate to this post.

I mean, it's a haircut! You find a style you like, you keep it for twenty years. Have a midlife crisis, maybe you get another one. Maybe not.


Eileen said...

So funny! I am sure we all have a similar affair to tell. I know I do. I am also the quiet one sitting in the chair and it has always been weird when I have had a quiet hairdresser. I too need a someone with Meg's carefree and creative personality. I have "my girl", Joanne, though she is no girl. She is actually ten or so years older than me, but still so stylish and up on the latest trends. I have been with her a good 15 years now. I have followed her to the many shops she has moved to. No, I am not letting this one get away!

GFCF Mommy said...

I can't help you with your dilemma, but I loved reading this post! I needed a good laugh today, thank you!


Anonymous said...

No big deal Mom Nos! As you know I work in a salon Clients worry about this all the time Truth is we would rather you have a back- up stylist for emergencies maternity leaves ect. I'm sure Rachel wanted to let you know there was no hard feelings. We always offer a client someone else if the client REALLY can't wait. I can see how clients might feel awkward but REALLY we don't talk about you after you leave LOL XOXOXO -Noelle

Marla said...

This was really cute. I could picture everything. I would stick with Meg though.

Anonymous said...

it's a no brainer: stick with meg.

does she travel?

MOM-NOS said...

Noelle!!!! You have just made my day! You've made my WEEK! My secret hope was that someone would pop in and say exactly that. Knew I could count on you!


Anonymous said...

Well good for you!

I have no loyalty to hair dressers whatsoever. I'm an absolute harlot. The problem is that American's can't cut hair. They can do wonderful things with 'product' and a hair drier, but once you've left and washed it on your own, you look like you've stuck your fingers in the outlet.

I don't know what they teach at hair school out here but it's definitely not how to cut.

Happy to be controversial in this instance.

My neighbour, a delightful American, visited Europe and had her hair cut and styled, she was ecstatic and looked fabulous.

If you have found the only hair dresser that can cut hair then marry her and be damned.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing my a$$ off! I recently had an affair on my hairdresser of 20 years. Just this week I had to crawl back begging forgiveness and for damage control. I promised never to stray again. And my hair is happier too.

Niksmom said...

ROFLMAO! I think we must have all been there at some point! My hairdresser (stylist?) does FAB color and the most amazing cuts! The exact opposite of what maddy described...after Theresa blow-dries and styles myhair I feel like I ought to be presenting an award on some rinky-dink talent show. Byt when I get home and do it myself...the cut is so awesome that it even looks great when I *don't* style it!

Tough noogies for Rachel; stick with Meg!

Angela said...

Too funny, the angst and the guilt. I say you deserve to just be able to sit back and enjoy the chatter and the great haircut.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, you are SO NOT the only one who has been there. My stepsister is a hairdresser! And yes, I've cheated on her, too. LOL.

karen in ca

Leightongirl said...

I'm with Maddy. Call me hair slut. What a wonderful post.

Stimey said...

Hilarious. I love this post. I don't get my hair done often enough so whenever I go back to my stylist she always jokes that she thought I left her for someone else. I even recently followed her to a new salon, but I didn't love the last color she gave me so I'm thinking about cheating for real.

I love that this is a universal problem.

Unknown said...

@stimey I took so long between hair cuts that my stylist went out for the proverbial pack of cigarettes. Now I'm out at the bars... hanging out online... My hair is long and ratty hoping I'll meet just the right stylist again. I'm thinking of switching to the other team... and just using my uncle. He's a barber. ;)

Jordan said...

Totally hilarious! I just move often enough that I can switch with no one being the wiser! But now that we're going to stay here FOREVER...I can see how this would get tricky. Hmm..

Loved it.

Stick with Meg.

Anonymous said...

You know your hair did look really good yesterday! And I wanted to make a hair comment related to the birdnest, but nothing witty came to mind.

AND OMG you are SO not an old barn animal! (What a great line!!) AND you DON'T look anything like Keith Urban. Although both of you are very good looking!

Really a very charming and funny post mom-nos! Thank you. " eyes betrayed me, as even upside-down they laid it out bluntly and without apology: 'I'm just not that into you.' " Maybe they wouldn't have laid that out if they were right-side up? Who knows?

Daisy said...

Oh, the guilt! Don't worry. Stylists know this can happen. They don't poach from each other's clients, either; the client ultimately makes the choice.
I wonder who does Dierks Bentley's hair? :)

MOM-NOS said...

Funny you should ask, Daisy! You can see for yourself here!

Joeymom said...

I have the fun of only getting my hair even looked at every few years. So I usually end up in the middle of my mom's hairdresser angst every few years...

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I'm sending this to my hairdresser!

You describe this dilemma PERFECTLY. So relatable and hilarious!

Finding the right hairdresser is harder than finding the right husband. If you have? Do whatever it takes to keep her/him. For God's sake, it is your HAIR we're talking about!

KAL said...

Terrific! It's so hard to find the right fit with someone - Meg is a keeper.

Anonymous said...

This piece is so clever in so many ways, I can't stand it. Mostly because I didn't write it.

I've spent years being bored stiff with inappropriate salon stylists and forced chatter--but getting out is better than staying home. Still, there must be 50 ways to leave your cutter.

I finally found a soulmate in Little Rock, AR. We had to break it off after five years because we moved back to Massachusetts. Long distance hair relationships never work.

Thanks for writing this funny piece. I shall send it to my nail biting friend in Maryland who cannot figure out how to stop seeing her manicurist.

Anonymous said...

Boy have I been here. I changed hair dressers in the last couple of years too. My original one was a relative of my ex. I continued to go to her for 2 years after the divorce but it felt wierd even though she backed me 100%. I had to break clean and I did but I'm still scared I will run into her in the store or on the street! Ack!

Anonymous said...

a) a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
b) breaking up is hard to do.
c) at the end of the day - it's all about our hair really...isn't it?
:) mh

Anonymous said...

I've blogged about this same issue!

WHY do we (I include myself!) have such a sense of loyalty - that we'd put up with less-than-stellar results to avoid hurting people's feelings? Especially in what is essentially a business relationship where the results are what should count. e.g. Would you continue going to a bad mechanic because you felt sorry for him/her? Dang.