He had shoulder-length hair, and a fantastic mustache. I mean a mustache that looked like this:

He sat down and my chair, and said “cut it all off! I need a businessman’s haircut. I need a new job. I’m tired of working 80-90 hours a week. I have no time for my family, and I hate my job. I need a new one.”

So I gave it to him. When it came time to trim his facial hair, I stopped. Are you sure? “No,” he said. Leave the mustache. I can’t change who I am.”



big hair

I had an 11-year old girl sit in my chair, and the only thing I could say was “wow.” She had hair like this:


I said “what are we going to do with all this hair ‽ “

“Just make it… smaller.”

She liked the length, which was most of the way down her back. She just didn’t like the outward growth. So I gave her the tiniest trim on the ends and then went to work with my thinning shears. It took me over an hour, but I got that girl’s hair down to a manageable size. I also showed her how to use a diffuser to dry her hair, and what products to put in it to keep the frizz down.

I had no idea what an impact I would make, but the little girl was so happy, and her mom was almost in tears. All I did was cut her hair, but they made me feel like I cured an illness.


I walked out of the back room of the salon to find a customer sitting at the sink. She said “Well, I’m ready!” This was the first I’d seen this customer, so I asked “ready for what? Have you been checked in already?”

*heavvy sigh* “A shampoo and a blow dry!” Everything she said to me had the distinct tone of  “you’re such an idiot” even though this woman had just come into the shop and sat down at the sink. I looked quizzically at my manager, who was in the middle of doing a haircut, and she told me to just use the one-time check in. That uses only the client’s first name, and does not track her for future visits. So I asked the customer her name, and exasperated, she said “Sister.” So that’s what I put.

I started the shampoo and was still wondering who this person was. In the middle of it, she suddenly sat up to answer her phone. It was so sudden that I was in the process of  rinsing her out, and ended up spraying myself because my target was no longer there. When she got off the phone, she looked back at me (still annoyed of course), and said “are we done here?” I said no, and explained that she was the one that had stopped the process. She sat back down and I continued. She reminded me to use conditioner, which not only is standard procedure both inside the salon and at home, but at that point was already done. .. I was toweling off her hair.

We went back to my station and I asked her how she wanted it styled. She gave a bunch of vague answers that somehow contradicted themselves, so I still didn’t really know. When I asked for clarification, the lady decided I was a deaf, retarded, 3 year old and shouted “UP, BACK, AND UNDER” all while miming the movements with exaggerated gestures. So I started styling it and the person got on her phone, because she was clearly too important for anything else. When she ended that call, she asked if I’d ever used a round brush before. When I said yes of course I had, she demanded that I use a different brush, because apparently when I said “medium size” she interpreted it as something other than the three options I gave her (small, medium, or large brush).

She got back on the phone, occasionally pausing to order me to get a curling iron, and then to get her a pen and paper. I didn’t have any paper, but I brought her a pen. Again, she was annoyed, and in her search for something to write on, she tore a paper neck strip out of the dispenser, sending many others falling to the floor, rendering them useless (since their entire function is to keep you sanitary). And of course, they are paper but not the kind that you can easily write on, so she threw it on the ground when her (my) pen didn’t work. During all this, she is moving around all willy-nilly, which is making it darn near impossible to style her hair. When she decided she didn’t like the job I was doing and told me to use the curling iron. Then she was annoyed that I had to go get the proper comb. Still, she yakked away on her phone, which were clearly very important business calls, and continued moving around. Once she put her feet on my counter and pushed the chair around. While I’m trying to curl her hair. With a hot curling iron. I had already asked her to stop moving, which of course she ignored, so this time I said “Ma’am, you need to stop moving while I have this curling iron next to your face, or I’m going to burn you!” It wasn’t meant as a threat – just a fact. That made her put the phone down and say “just do this side and I think we’re done here. I’m in a hurry. You have 10 minutes.” She got back on the phone and didn’t hear me remind her that she came to me for a service. 

When we finally finished, she threw the cape and neckstrip she had been wearing onto the chair and stormed over to the register. I gave her the total, which was $18, and she threw two crumpled up ten dollar bills at me. Literally threw them. Luckily when they hit me and the counter, they were only paper so they didn’t do the damage that she had intended. Then she stormed out the door, back on the phone. I took her $2 change as my tip and went back to clean up. Both of the other stylists in the salon took a break from their clients to come make sure I was ok. They had heard her be so rude (one could even hear her all the way from the bathroom), and were ready to cover me in case I needed a break. I appreciated that, and I also appreciated that my manager had heard me threaten her with the curling iron and was silently wishing I would burn her. (I did my best to avoid it, but to be honest, if I had accidentally burned her, I would not have felt badly about it.)

And to think, she will probably tell all of her important business associates about the awful service she received.

late life crisis

A lady of at least 70 years old sat in my chair, and said “I’m sick of my hair. I want it gone. I don’t want the curls anymore. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Make it gone. Make it so I don’t have to do anything to it.”

So I did. Her hair wasn’t that long to begin with, and she had been coloring it a fiery copper color, which suited her personality. We got to talking, and it turned out she had gone to the roller derby recently, and quite enjoyed it. “I used to rollerskate in my day. I think I should join the roller derby. Show those young girls what for!”

I couldn’t even continue cutting her hair at that point, I was so overwhelmed by this lady’s spirit. Hopefully she wasn’t just going through a late-life crisis, but from talking to her, I don’t think that was the case.

Back Seat Cosmetologists

Yet another pet peeve can be explained with this sentence: “Well my mom / sister / uncle / neighbor / dog, etc. does hair, so I know what I’m talking about.”

Did you go to cosmetology school? Did you learn the science behind color theory or the chemistry involved in giving a perm? Did you log 1500 hours and send hundreds of dollars to the state to get a license in cosmetology?

No? Then you don’t know what you’re talking about, and that’s why you are paying to sit in my chair.

I’m not saying you are completely ignorant, but I really do know best. I especially know best when it comes to the products we use in the salon – the kind you can’t get unless you’re a licensed cosmetologist.

Case in point: A lady came in today wanting her hair washed and styled with a curling iron. She said “whenever I do it, the curls don’t stay.” So I washed her hair and prepared to put some curl product in her hair. But the lady stopped me. “Don’t use any products. I don’t trust them. My mom does hair, so …”

1. Well I know why the curl doesn’t stay in your hair. You need product. Clean hair does not hold a style. Science!

2. What does your mom doing hair have to do with anything?

Luckily I was able to convince her into another style and she let me put just a tiny bit of product in it so it would stay. Or at least until she can have Mommy fix it.