The Mane Event
The winter of 2018 will forever be memorable because something truly devastating happened to me. My long term hairdresser quit her job.
I started seeing Libby in 2012 after my hair had suffered some serious trauma (translation: disastrous haircuts). For as long as I remember I have always asked for the least offensive haircut on the menu: “a trim”. It’s a fuss-free, don’t-look-twice style that I hope to take to the grave and Libby got it.
Our monogamous relationship really suited me. I even pictured growing grey together in our senior years. That’s when the news came by group text: “I’m having a baby!” My first thoughts were: Amazing. Incredible. Congratulations. My second thought was: What about us? I kept reading the essay length text. “I will be closing the salon.” Libby and I said we’d keep in touch knowing we would never see each other again.
After a breakup one should take the time to grieve but I was ready to find Libby 2.0 quicker than the roller door to her garage-salon went down. I asked my family, friends and even messaged distant acquaintances on Instagram who had enviably good hair for their hairdresser recommendations.
The search became overwhelming because truthfully there is no way to know if a hairdresser is the one until they actually cut your hair. To find the one, similarly to find love, you must put yourself out there and take a risk. I had been so used to Libby and the ease of our rapport that the idea of having to start again from scratch was alarming. I just wished I could sidle into an instant relationship where there was no awkwardness as to whether we should hug hello or how the bill should be paid.
I decided the easiest way to eliminate the stress was to instead book myself into the salon with the highest word-of-mouth ranking. I called to make an appointment and when asked who I would like to cut my hair, I did something very uncharacteristically me, I said: anyone.
Before my first visit I was nervous. I even washed my hair prior to my appointment to make a good first impression knowing that my hair was just about to be washed by my new hairdresser. First impressions, like a haircut, can make or break you.
Entering the salon, a woman with a blonde pixie cut introduced herself. Her name was Jane and she would be cutting my hair. Sitting in front of the mirror with Jane standing behind me, I felt emotionally vulnerable as she combed my hair between her fingers inspecting my dead ends.
I told her about my years of bad haircuts and years with Libby. Jane said we could take things slow. Jane started cutting and I felt unusually relaxed, though it could have been the aftermath of the wash basin head massage. Once she was done cutting, she plugged in the hair dryer and started styling my hair into bouncy waves and finessed my fringe. When she done she stood back to reveal her artwork to her greatest critic: me.
“I think you just changed my life.”
The words came out of my mouth quick and fast. In the mirror not only did I look like me, I looked like a better version of me. I could not believe it. It was the best haircut of my life.
Letting go taught me that being open to change is surprising and rewarding. It is also expensive. I was so drunk on euphoria I bought the obscenely priced anti-frizz, smoothing serum Jane used, unrealistically hoping to create a salon finish at home. I didn’t wash my hair for almost a week after I got it cut. I took a deep breath. It was time to trust someone new with my hair.
This article was originally published in frankie Issue 89, photo via Flair Magazine.