Gone in 60 Seconds by Deb Tish

I had the most perfect haircut of my life. For 60 seconds.

It was sleek, smooth, jaggedy at the ends and it snuggled my jawline like no man ever has. The stylist—we’ll call her Adrianna–put away her scissors and held up the mirror so I could see that the back was every bit as fabulous as the front.

For one minute, I was Jennifer Aniston. I tallied up all the things I’d have to change to live up to this kind of hair. I needed a crisp white blouse. I needed to be seen on tennis courts, atop sailboats. I needed thinner ankles.

At the very least, I needed to change out of my sweatpants more often.

Just as I was contemplating enroling in Alliance Francaise and dusting off my French, Adrianna pulled out a razor-ish sort of tool.

“I’m just going to break up the ends,” she said.

Before I could block the blades with my bare arms, the entire right side of my hair had been hacked to shreds. No, worse than shreds. Shredded hair can look chic. Ish. This was more like someone had tried to curl the ends of paper ribbon in my hair. What little was left frayed and puckered. Bent. Then she pruned the other side.

I don’t know how, but I remained upright when she pulled out the mirror so I could view the back again. She declared the cut to be perfect. I stood up, thanked her. Walked to the cash desk and paid. As I stood there waiting for my change, I vowed to go back to the stylist’s chair and tell her I wasn’t happy. For once in my life, I was going to stand up for something. Even if that something was myself. 

I spun around and marched back, my head whirling with phrases like, “I didn’t ask for my ends to be broken” and “Will eating gelatin help make my hair grow back?” and “I didn’t ask for my ends to be broken.”  

Adrianna looked up. She smiled as I approached. I paused for a moment, building up my nerve. Then I kissed both her cheeks, told her I loved it, and scampered ouside so she wouldn’t see me cry.

Worst of all — I tipped. And the only defense I have is I am way too Canadian.

Epilogue: I spent the next three months under a baseball cap. If ever I took it off, friends politely asked me to put it back on. My hair looked like a gigantic highlighted broccoli – Florence Henderson skinny at the bottom and mushroom cloudish on top. I’ve never let a razor near my head again.

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13 thoughts on “Gone in 60 Seconds by Deb Tish

  1. Oh Tish, I so totally feel for you! I have been there, tip and all. In fact, I think some of my most generous tips were for my worst haircuts.

    What is with the razor? I don’t know who came up with that, but I’ve seen very few people with whom the razor look has succeeded. Okay, come to think of it, no one. I’ve had my hair shredded by the razor before. There are no words. Just no words.

  2. Yeah, I’m growing out a razored look right now myself. Not pretty . . .

    There’s something about hairdressers that seem to amplify all of our greatest character flaws. Try being assertive about your hair needs when you’re facing a hairdresser with his own ideas and little interest in yours. Or, speak up to let your stylist know you aren’t happy with the end result, and, worst of all, that you need a re-cut, and somehow their masterful gaze and perfectly polished attitude has you rethinking everything you had intended to say. Instead, you walk away with a smile on your face but a lot less money in your wallet, a lot less hair on your head, and lots of words unspoken. That’s okay, you can at least go home and tell your friends what you think, then cover up with a hat till it grows out (just like Tish) and then try again later, probably with the exact same stylist, and even more of the same. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

  3. Ugh, I feel your pain. When I was in high school, during the 80s when MTV ruled & punk was hip, a new salon opened in town, London Looks. The name should have been enough to scare me away, the fact that mirrors weren’t positioned in front of the chairs, but around the room, should have made me run screaming. Noooo. I sat down and told the stylist, “Do whatever you want.” In my defense, I was only 16.

    Yes, she shaved my head, left only a couple of inches at the top. Since my mother refused to homeschool me, I had no choice but to embrace it. I pierced my ears multiple times, bought a black leather mini skirt, and called it a fashion statement.

  4. Mia, M: Agreed. The razor must be stopped.

    Amy: She shaved your head and you twisted it into a fashion statement? I have a new respect for you. I’d have been in the closet for a good half year.

    Larramie: It’s the overwriting of the hair world.

  5. The stylist have some odd power that renders me incapable of asserting myself. This is why when I find one I like I am slavishly devotionaly. They could hurt me if they tried.

  6. I used to have my hair butchered…. then I got even with them all. I let it grow out and have not cut it since. Just a trim now and then on the ends.

  7. Okay. Confession time: I haven’t paid for a haircut since I was 16. I’ve always had friends do it. In college I once had my hair cut with the tiny scissors on a Swiss Army knife. Now, Drea cuts my hair. But I recently decided it was time to actually make an appointment and go to a professional. Now, after reading this post, I’m terrified. The razor?!?!?

  8. I have the only non-gay Italian hair dresser in the world. Now wasn’t THAT an insensitive stereotypical comment.
    HOWEVER.
    He is BRILLIANT.
    And never razors me.
    But when I walk through his door, he take his chin in his hand, looks at me, sighs and says,”OK, we’ll see what we can do…”

  9. Oh god, Tish, you know what part of this story I related to most? The tipping! I once smiled sweetly and TIPPED the requisite 20% for a perm that not only fried my hair, but left me with a nasty burn on my neck. And I’m not even Canadian.

  10. Hi Tish,

    Wow, I’m SO glad to know I’m not alone in my meekness when it comes to bad haircuts! I don’t think your citizenship has anything to do with this–I wonder if gender has any play in it? Anyone know of a guy who didn’t protest a bad cut?

    My hair grows so-o-o slowly that every cut feels risky.

    Amy, how brave you were! I’m keeping that strategy in mind, should the need ever arise.

  11. Eileen – good point!

    Judy & Jennifer – I think we all resort to avoidance at times. It’s cheaper, less risky and more convenient. I tend to only go about twice a year as my “statement.”

    Patricia – We all want his number!

    Patry and Therese – So this thing crosses international borders. That somehow makes me feel better!

  12. Ah, Tish.

    I have had this same experience more times than I can count. I love my current slightly-crazy hairdresser, but there have been times when I’ve been happy with it mid-cut (or mid-multi-process-colouring) too, only to have it ruined.

    There are many times when I can tell she’s distracted or in a hurry to get out of there, or (and this one is OFTEN) she’s booked way too many clients at the same time and leaves me waiting for hours between coloring and cutting.

    I just want to shake her and tell her, “Pay attention to me!” “Spending six hours in your shop is not a good use of my time!” “You charge way too much money to deliver this kind of service.”

    But I don’t

    Is it because we’re too polite? Too timid? Too Canadian? 🙂 Or because the one who holds the scissors (and razors) has all the power…

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