Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rant: great (hair) expectations...

I have expectations. My expectations are even higher when it comes to hairdressers. For one, they are responsible for what is possibly the first thing that people notice/see when they meet me - my hair. Great haircuts should not be underestimated. When it comes to hair - I pretty much have done it all (apart from shaving it off or making shaved ornaments on one side of my head).. When I was in 6th grade I used to colour my hair with blue L'Oreal 'hair mascara'.. I forget what the official name of that product was but to absolute dismay of my teachers I had it in three colours and used to wear it to school (matching nail polish included). That was when I had long hair. Then my lovely cousin decided to stick a chewing gum in my hair which resulted in quite an edgy (as far as teenage fashion goes) crop which later grew into a bob which later grew into a pob, then into longer hair with foils, then into a perm then into a boy cut again, then into hair extensions (for exactly 2 weeks) then into its next reincarnation. So the point is.. when I say "I know a little bit about hairdressers", I actually mean it.

For me a hairdresser is somewhat akin to a boyfriend. It's a relationship. No small amount of trust is involved as you get in that chair and hope that the man in front of you actually means what he says when he says he knows what he is doing. You take their suggestions and if he comes through with the goods, you repay with loyalty and occasional friend referrals. And if you ever decide to cheat, as you wonder what it might be like with other hairdressers.. it's similar to a break-up - one day you just stop calling them and hope you never run into them on the street or worse at a party (unless of course one day you turn up at your 'new' hairdresser only to find out that your 'old' one is now a manager at this new salon - awkward). And as with any relationship - they take the break-up personally...

In the last 2 years in Sydney I managed to find an excellent hairdresser at a small but mighty salon called Suki in Paddington. I felt that I finally found a man that I could spend the rest of my hairstyling life with. So needless to say when moving to London I was very sad to leave Suki and very apprehensive about finding my new 'hair love'.

After much deliberation I took a chance and went to Atherton Cox in Marylebone to get my hair cut. I was utterly disappointed. Not with the result so much but with the experience as a whole. They made me wait for about 20 minutes before seeing me - which is not a deal breaker.. I am perpetually 10 minutes biggie. As I was waiting, a lady sat next to me with a towel on her head as she was told she had to wait for a spare 'station' so they can actually start drying her hair. As I was ushered downstairs I saw a room full of empty 'stations' that could have been used (but I'm sure there is a perfectly normal explanation for that too). The hairdresser who cut my hair was some big shot who has won a few awards in the past so he somehow felt that he could get away with the 'prima donna' attitude (that or he had a severe case of ADD). He took a phone call whilst cutting my hair, kept talking about unrelated stuff to other staff .. constantly..

He was a nice enough guy but when you are charging 100 quid for a haircut, I would expect a little more than 'nice'. The haircut itself was fine except for the fact that he wasnt going to cut my fringe until I asked him (I know I said I wanted to grow it out but if he honestly was willing to let me walk out his salon looking the way I looked, he must not care too much about the 'message' he is sending to world about his skills). Overall, a somewhat disappointing experience which was only made better by a huge discount I got under a promotional voucher (something he didnt even know when cutting my hair - so he wasnt just being slack because I was a 'cheap job'). I would think twice about going back there albeit the promotional rate is still valid till February (and that means a lot as I love a bargain!)

NB: this is not a photo of me, its just one of the portraits I took during fashion week. I don't know who the girl is but her hair very much resembles mine (on a good day :)


the nyanzi report said...

wow. what a horrific experience.

i just noticed in the twitter sidebar about you being excited about Atherton Cox in Marylebone.

by reading this, i guess that relationship got off on a rocky start. things didn't turn out well. what a shame. still born.

well written post by the way. i loved the way you copmared hairdressers to boyfriends/ realtionships - you hit the nail on the head.

Café Naïveté said...

I just loved this post! Besides your great way of writing, you totally hit the spot!

In my opinion hair plays a huge role, if not THE ROLE when it comes to looking great.. I have a friend, she's quite masculine in ways and the is not that pretty a all... but boy! her hair makes her look so sexy that I even don't notice her flaws, about which she's worrieng all the time! That said.. it's actually really really difficult to find a good hairdresser. I don't want someone who wins awards or whatever.. I simply want someone who knows what looks great on ME, a simple artisan, not michelangelo! And for now it seems to me that I've got one too:)

have a great sunday evening,
M from Rome.