I went through a bad break up recently. It was devastating. We’d been together for over 6 years. And during that time she was always there for me…for every wedding… every holiday…every special event. She always made time for me when I was having a crisis. She listened to my complaints about my family, my co-workers, my boyfriend, my hair….
I did mention that my break up was with my hairdresser, didn’t I?
Don’t laugh. Oftentimes a girl’s relationship with her stylist outlasts her romantic relationships. I’ll even go so far as to suggest that the relationship a woman has with her hairdresser is more central to her self-esteem than any relationship she’ll ever have with a man (well, with the possible exception of her father!).
My hairdresser, Monica, was kind and considerate. She didn’t mention my awful cowlick; she just made it seemingly disappear. She made me feel special — like I was her only client. She was quick with a hug when I first entered the salon, and always offered me water with lemon or a glass of wine. She remembered that I parted my hair on the right, and that sometimes the red hair dye made my head burn, so she added a little sweetener to the mix to take out the sting (her own little secret). She was understanding when I called from the car to let her know that I was running late for our appointment. She was generous – sometimes not even charging me for a deep conditioning or a “gloss” treatment. She understood that sometimes even the best relationships can get a little stale, so just to spice things up she’d add a little glitter to my hair or give me a cut that was especially funky, or add some blond “rock star highlights.” I always left the salon feeling like the prettiest flower in the field. If my ex-husband had half these qualities I’d still be married to him today!
So why did we break up? It was all my fault. And the worse part is I did it over the phone! I still feel guilty.
She didn’t do anything wrong. We simply grew apart.
I moved 90 miles south from Manchester, New Hampshire to Pembroke, Massachusetts. For months I tried to make it work, but I just couldn’t get over the physical distance between us. She even gave me her primo spot – a late Saturday morning appointment – but after getting stuck in traffic over and over again on Route 93 North, I just couldn’t take it.
I did stray. Once. When I first moved to Massachusetts. At the time I thought it wouldn’t be that hard to find a new stylist. Boy was I wrong! I asked the girls at work who they went to…who had made them happy in the past. I wanted to go to a nice place, a swanky place, a place that served wine and offered spa services to boot – I wasn’t going to cheat on my girl with just anyone. Anyway, I got what I thought was a solid recommendation and made my appointment.
I was apprehensive when I first arrived, but my “new” stylist was fresh-faced and friendly. She listened to what I had to say, told me to relax, and started clipping away. What?! What were those scissors? Monica used a razor!
When she was finished, she spun me around and I saw my reflection in the mirror. It seemed right. But when I asked her to trim my bangs just a little she refused. She said she didn’t like to cut bangs because people always complained that they were too short afterwards. I asked if she’d color my hair next time — I wanted it just like the fashion photo of the porcelain skinned redhead above her station. She told me she didn’t like to dye people’s hair red because they were never happy afterwards; red is such a difficult color to get just right. She was a “Master Stylist,” supposedly the best and most expensive professional at this salon. If she wouldn’t cut my bangs and dye my hair the red I’ve come to love then what was I going to do?
Frustrated I called Monica. I told her of my indiscretion. She didn’t chastise me. We just booked another appointment. And when I arrived five weeks later, it was like nothing had ever happened.
That was about 7 months ago. But this time I broke it off for good.
I’ve found another girl, Marissa. Her salon is in Scituate. It’s right on the wharf. It’s swanky all right …and she did offer me a glass of wine. But it’s still not the same. I find that I can’t really be myself around her. She was all flirty at our first appointment. I knew she was just buttering me up…telling me that I gave off this very cool urban vibe. (Monica never had to resort to such blatant flattery to get me to like her. What we had was real.)
Marissa suggested this ‘80s style asymmetrical haircut. The idea was kind of appealing, but I had gone through such pain over the last two years with Monica to grow my hair out that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to just lop half of it off in one fell swoop. But I was so eager to please my “new” stylist that I relented.
She did do a good job. And I did get a lot of fanfare from the other stylists and clients when she removed the plastic cape and presented me to everyone for their approval. Unfortunately, now that I’m home and on my own, when I blow dry my hair myself it just doesn’t have that same Flock of Seagulls look.
I go in for my first color with Marissa next week. It’s a big commitment and I’m still a little nervous. It’s sort of like sleeping with a new guy for the first time – and only on the second date. We’ll see what happens.
In the back of my mind, however, I know that if anything truly awful happens I can always go back to Monica. She’ll always be there for me. She’s just that type of person.
I guess from time to time we all find ourselves in situations where we need to move on…make a change. Whether it’s a move from New Hampshire to Massachusetts for a new job, or a change in hair stylists. I guess the key in both situations is to just take a deep breath and move forward…thankful always for the good things behind you, but with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead.