The Hair-Cutting Experience
Dutch Boy 
I am a frugal person, which is why I went to the discount hair salon holed up in my local Stuff-Mart yesterday.  I figured, “How hard can it be to get a decent, no-frills haircut, anyway?”  Let’s just say the next two months will be one long continuous bad hair day.

It is a good thing that I do not have high aspirations to be a movie star, because if I did, I would have to limit myself for the time being to bag lady roles.  In fact, I may have to literally be a bag lady for awhile — as in, covering myself from the neck up with a paper grocery bag, so that nobody can see the ‘do.  A few holes cut for eyes, nose, and mouth, just like we used to do in kindergarten costume parties, and I’ll be all set.

Dutch Boy 2When I gaze in the mirror, I am seriously reminded of the picture on the Dutch Boy paint can — only the Dutch lad is much cuter than I am.  I suppose I will live through the whole experience and even manage to be jolly in spite of it.  At least I have something to talk about.

Which brings me to observations about the hair styling profession and how it has evolved since I was young.  Years ago, on the rare occasions when I visited a salon (I had the no-maintenance long hair, parted in the middle and cascading down most of the distance to my ankles), I was amused and amazed at what the other clients would tell their hairdressers.  All that could be imagined in the line of seamy or steamy secrets was revealed and discussed over the snipping, curling and dyeing of their tresses.  The stylist doubled as a psychotherapist or pastoral counselor.  And she did it with finesse!

Alas, it is not that way any longer.  Apparently, Psychology 101 is not one of the required subjects in cosmetology school these days, and therefore the intimate conversations of bygone beauty shop days are no more.  My stylist did not ask so much as what I had for lunch, or where I was going on vacation, much less how my marriage was doing, or whether my children were behaving themselves.  In fact, she did not say twenty words during our whole session.  I was rather relieved that she did not probe my personal life, but at the same time, the silence was a tad uncomfortable.  I noticed that the other stylists were not overly chatty with their clients, either.

It could be, I suppose, that it is only in discount salons in Stuff-Marts that no counseling goes on.  Perhaps the cheap prices preclude extra frills, such as talking to the customers.  Yes, that must be it.  If I had chosen a full care salon, I would have gotten the package deal.  Or, maybe Stuff-Mart does not want to be embroiled in lawsuits for allowing third-party businesses on the premises to practice psychotherapy without a license.

In any case, I missed the cheap thrill of overhearing women parade their family linen throughout the beauty shop.  And I wish I did not presently look like my picture belongs on a paint can.

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