13 Jan

I am afraid of scissors.

Not just any scissors, though — only the kind of scissors found in the hand of an insecure, inexperienced hairdresser who pretends he knows how to cut curly hair until two hours later, when he comes back crying with an instructor over the mess he’s obviously made.

Those kind of scissors, you know?

I also get irked when instructors pretend they know what they’re doing, too, and refuse to admit that the mane of frizzy non-curls and the shelf-like excuse for layers looks like crap.  And when, in response to my “Areyoukiddingmethislooksabsolutelyterrible!” gasp, they (yes, they, as in two separate supposedly competent instructors) advise me to “Just go wash it yourself and see if it looks okay, then come back and we’ll fix it.”

I expected more from you, Toni & Guy Academy in Carrollton, Texas.

Maybe I should back up a little bit.  I’ve been to this place twice before and received stellar service, which is a big deal because I’ve had some major Hair Trauma in my life¹.  So, I decided to return even though the guy who did my hair those two times moved on to a real salon — I figured that asking for someone who has a lot of experience with curls, combined with the instructors roaming the floor helping out their students, would land me at least something presentable.

I was wrong.

My stylist hardly spoke to me for two hours² and when he did, he mumbled.  He asked me how to style my hair (and then proceeded to not take my advice).  He cut it haphazardly, and not completely, and hair kept falling out of his fingers when he pulled it out to cut it.  Five minutes in, my hair was already starting to dry.  With curls?  Not a good look.  There was no hair product on it at all, and all the tiny curls began to expand.  And expand.  And expand.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt until he began to style it.  He brings out an on-its-deathbed bottle of styling cream, and when I say, “That looks almost empty,” he looks at it and goes, “Huh.”   Then he squirts a pea-sized amount³ and proceeds to mess with the same (already dry) section of hair for the next thirty minutes.  (For visual assistance here, you should know that the rest of my hair was twisted and clipped above my forehead, like a frizzed out mane of horsehair.)

I start to get angry at about the time he pulls out his blow-dryer and asks, “So, do you normally just do a power blow on it?”  When I say, “I have no idea what that means,” he asks if I use the blow-dryer sans attachments.  Okay, I haven’t had many hair cuts in the past decade, but I know one thing: you don’t blow-dry curly hair without a diffuser attachment.  You just don’t.  I mention the diffuser, and he responds with a confident, “Uh…I think I have one of those here somewhere…?”

Long story not-so-short, he steps away and finally asks for help.  The instructor comes over, unclips my horsehair-like mane, and foofs it just a bit.  I couldn’t believe it — this was how an instructor decides to fix the mess?  It looked like an asymmetrical frizzed-out helmet of hair, a two-inch mane of ugly bordering my face and neck; the back was a two-tiered wall, with the one layer I saw looking more like a shelf than a layer, about an inch higher (and straight across) than the longest part of my hair.

I’m not exaggerating.

After communicating my frustrations to a different instructor (to no avail), I headed for the closest real Toni & Guy.  

I walked in the door.  Everyone laughed.  I cannot tell you how relieving it was to have a salon full of hairdressers laughing at my hair: finally, finally, some validation for how awful it was, some “What happened to you?” sort of empathy.  Oh yeah, and a salon full of people who knew exactly how to fix it.

Forty-five minutes later (and about as many dollars), Lupe finished with me.  He far surpassed my directive of “Fix this any way you want to, just help me not want to hide in the bathroom forever.”  It’s sassy, semi-short, and looks pretty (as opposed to crap).  Score for Lupe: return customer for life!

My favorite part of my post-traumatic-shock conversation, as Lupe transformed me from zombie nightmare into a hair model: “Just imagine,” he says, after I tell him about the novel I’m writing, “If you had a book signing today, and you had to go to it with hair like you came in with!”  I know, Lupe, I know.

(Inner Drama Queen = indulged.) (Thanks.)

¹Incident #1: Two weeks before high school graduation, year 2000.  Hair was thinned out on the bottom so much that I looked like a mushroom head with Medusa snakes slithering out from the bottom.  It took about two years to grow out (two years of college).  This scared and scarred me, and I did not get another hair cut until last summer. (Yes, in 2009.  Yes, I went almost the entire decade without scissors touching my hair.  Surprisingly, it didn’t look that bad.)  Incident #2: In 2002, I was on a mission trip with my church, and we were building a front porch; silly me, I forgot to tie my hair back that day, and accidentally ended up getting a large chunk in the front caught in a thick drill.  It ripped out.  I never saw any fashion magazines setting trends for my look, incidentally. (When it grew back, it started as a strange sprig of hair that stuck straight up in miniature-unicorn-horn-like fashion.)

²Have I mentioned yet that it took two hours?  Two hours.  For something that made me want to lock myself in a bathroom.

³I typically use about two full pumps (i.e. about ten times the size of one pea) or else my hair will frizz out.  I also have to do this when it’s wet, or else it won’t make any difference at all.

15 Responses to “Scissors”

  1. J.C Wednesday / 13 January 10 at 4:20 pm #

    oh man, you had me in stitches. I can totally relate to the hair drama, I too have once gone almost a decade without getting mine cut (as it stands, I think it was almost a year ago I had it cut last anyways…. and am well overdue for another, but my fab hair dresser really wasn’t fab last time around and I’m afraid to go back to her but also to try anyone new!).

    So pleased you found a wonderful hair dresser that you can trust, and I bet you look stunning 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 8:41 am #

      Hehe, thanks JC! Ahhhhh…It’s not often I meet someone else who can relate to such drama that they’ve gone for a near decade, like me!! Good to have someone else who understands, though I’m sorry you’ve had your own hair drama! I’m thankful for Lupe, and am starting to actually get the hang of how he made it so cute (which is the hard part, to style it at home!). Here’s hoping you can find a Lupe of your own!! 🙂

  2. Linda Wednesday / 13 January 10 at 9:27 pm #

    This post was hilarious, but obviously the experience was not! Boy, do I wish you’d given us photos. 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks, Linda! It was right as the experience was starting to officially sour that I thought, “Hey! Writing a blog post can at least make something fun out of this!” I had fun writing it, regardless of how awkward the actual experience was! I have pictures of my new, good hair, but I was in such a rush to get the first one fix, I didn’t take the time to drive all the way home for my camera. There are a couple of mugshot-ish photos on my phone’s camera – if I ever figure out how to upload them (and if I get brave enough to post something so horrid of myself) I’ll post them.

  3. Kathleen Wall Thursday / 14 January 10 at 12:18 pm #

    Oh, my. Sounds traumatic! I’ve always wanted thick, curly hair instead of thin and straight, but stories like yours make me wonder if I should be satisfied with what I’ve got.
    I’m so glad it was a story with a happy ending.

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 8:46 am #

      Actually, I love having thick, curly hair – it’s mainly at haircut time (which, I guess, can make or break things) that I’m reminded that it’s a hassle. That said, I can empathize with the desire to try something new! There are so many cute haircuts and styles that would never, ever work on my hair. (Case in point: when in 8th grade, I got my first Seventeen magazine. On the cover, the model had these long, sleek, sideswept bangs, and I thought they were so cool. My parents tried to warn me that wouldn’t look too great on me, but…um…I was stubborn. Got bangs, and could hardly keep them looking like bangs, let alone sleek, sideswept anything! I’d curl them in the morning with a curling iron, and by 10AM they were a mess.)

      I’m thankful for the happy ending myself! hehe

  4. Merrilee Thursday / 14 January 10 at 4:18 pm #

    Oh that is awful. Thank goodness for Lupe, your hairdresser in shining armour 🙂 You have given me the horrors – I hate haircuts at the best of times. I wore my hair long for 20 years because I was too chicken to get it cut 🙂

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 8:50 am #

      I’m looking at it on the bright side – yes, the first haircut was a tragic mess. (Cue the horrors and lifelong fear…) Lupe, however, was able to reverse said tragic mess and turn me into a sassy princess. (Cue hope!)

      What made you break down and finally get it cut? For me, it was a friend who was appalled at my 9.5-year scissor abstinence, and she talked me into going with her.

      • Merrilee Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 3:56 pm #

        I just had a change of life, looked in the mirror and said “it’s got to go”. And boy, short hair was a lot easier to manage. That was in my twenties. A couple of times I let it grow past my shoulders, but I’ve never gone back to the long sweeping mane. Too much hassle as an adult to make it look decent. Kids can get away with plaits 😉

  5. Megs - Scattered Bits Sunday / 17 January 10 at 5:57 pm #

    I can truly empathize. You sound like you have hair just like mine (which can be beautiful if you have money for a salon stylist), and getting one bad cut can be awfulness. Blessings be upon you and your new do! Sorry I’m not talking as much. I’m just swamped and tired and ready for a week off instead of just one holiday.

    • owlandsparrow Tuesday / 19 January 10 at 8:54 am #

      Oh, fun that we have similar hair! (Well, fun whenever it works for us, as you know.) How do you wear yours, short/long/something else?

      And I totally understand being swamped and tired and all that…it looks like you’ve been super busy lately. Hang in there and rest when you need to!! 🙂

  6. Lupe Thursday / 4 March 10 at 1:24 am #

    Omg, this so awesome never thought I would be on one of your blogs!!! Well im glad that i was there to help what happened that day ill never forget it. But you left the salon looking beautiful, and im glad i got to do that.. not everybody can cut curly hair, like they say they do !! And like the fact you even took time to style it !! Take care great hairdresser LUPE !!!

  7. amber Friday / 7 May 10 at 2:08 am #

    oh my gosh! I absolutely remember us talking about this at starbucks one day – last summer? And when I suggested T&G I did mean the salon, not the school (though was it me who mentioned it? I think it might have been. oops). Anyway, I think I also saw a picture of Devastation 2000, and I can attest you have a right to be fearful. That being said, Everyone I know with curly hair (including my own wavy hair) finds a good stylist and just pays out the rear to have their hair cut. But as the one thing I wear everyday, I think it’s a pretty good deal. Can’t wait to see the new ‘do!

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 7 May 10 at 8:48 am #

      Amber! Hey! 🙂 Yes, that totally was last summer, and I do remember talking about it! Never fear, though, it wasn’t you who suggested the academy to me. Someone else did, and her hair always looks impeccable. Mine looked pretty good the first two times i went, too, but OH MAN. I’ll never go back to the academy again, haha. I’ll go to the real T&G salon, for sure – I agree with you, it’s totally worth it to pay for something you wear every single day.

      What is this Devastation 2000? It sounds like something I need to Google right this very minute.

      Hope all is well for you guys! 🙂


  1. 10 Things You Never Knew You Always Wanted To Know « Owl and Sparrow - Friday / 30 April 10

    […] I get my hair from both of my parents: curls from my dad, color from my mom.  The picture I posted makes it look darker than it actually is.  For a decade, I had fear of phobic proportions of getting my hair cut.  Finally, I found something that works.  Want to read more about my hair trauma?  Here you go. […]

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