leave it to the pros, please

A man walked up and asked if I had time for his mother in law. To do what? I asked. He beckoned her over, as she had been standing outside of the shop where I couldn’t see her. “She doesn’t speak any English” he explained, as she walked up nervously.

I could see immediately what she needed. This poor woman was the victim of a Bad Haircut. Notice the capital letters. It was that bad.

So I had her come back to my chair and sit down. I was looking at the damage, exchanging meaningful looks since I don’t speak Russian. (She was from Belarus.) The parts above her ears were cut down almost to the skin, while the top and back were choppy, with several inches’ difference in the same areas. It looked like she had gotten in a fight with a rusty weedwhacker and lost.  By now her daughter (the man’s wife) had joined us. I made a comment that I didn’t have much to work with on the sides, when it came out that the daughter was the one who had cut her hair. Usually when I correct a haircut it’s because a young child found scissors, not because a grown woman thought she could do her mother’s hair “real quick”.

The son in law had gone to have one of the other girls cut his hair, which was just as well, as all he was doing was cracking (mean) jokes – telling me I should just shave her head and whatnot. So the daughter was now my translator. This was especially awkward since she was the one that had inflicted the damage. So I did what I could with the poor woman’s hair. It wasn’t a designer haircut by any means (see the aforementioned bald sides), but it looked …better. I think the woman understood that and we were able to convey to each other that I did my best and it was acceptable.

The kicker was that by now the husband was done with his cut as well. He just had a normal men’s haircut, not too different from what he walked in with, but his wife said “I don’t like it.” She went on to criticize why it was bad while my coworker refuted her with why it was, in fact, not bad. I bit my tongue, but I wanted so badly to say to the woman “LOOK! Look at what you did to your mother’s hair! Nobody, especially a licensed professional, is going to be taking your advice on haircuts!” But I was good and didn’t say anything. I know for a fact her mother won’t be letting her cut her hair again, and the husband liked his cut, so she didn’t win in the long run.

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