Posts filed under Definition of Humility


I pass up most Google alerts, but this one caught my eye.  A premature bald woman takes her mother into a salon for her 77th birthday to have her hair and nails done.  A situation that would have traumatized her before.  In fact, she gave up going to them, thinking they were places for people with hair, and she didn't belong. I am moved by her courage, and the inner work she must have done on herself to be confident enough to walk into the salon.  A situation that could have turned heads. 

 Although, I like to think of hairstylists being sensitive to all types of people with all sorts of obvious physical differences, it depends on where you go.  Not all salons are friendly, and in fact, are quite full of themselves and give the profession a bad reputation.  Salons can intimidate and make people feel unfomfortable.

As I read Cheryl Carvery's post, I recalled a client I once gave a haircut to, rather, I gave her very expensive wig.  I worked in one chair salon.  It was private, and I know she appreciated the quiet.  She developed alopecia right around sixteen years old.  She too, seemed to have courage and an inner strength that I felt moved by. 

The wig sparkeled with a level 7, a mid-blonde, with honey highlights.  We were about to shampoo, she held the sides to keep it one her head, and it slipped off.  Her pale, bald head exposed, she reached for the wig with a quick hand and put it back on.  The moment seemed longer than most, discomfort made me tighten and want to take care of her.

As I combed and cut, she shared her history.  I felt honored to be with her.  So much wisdom wrapped up in one woman, who I thought was attractive with, or without hair.  We cut a very modern shape into the hair, long strands fell to the floor.  It was then that she decided to tell me that this beautiful wig was $2000.  I trembled at the thought.  One wrong snip could drain my bank account.   What if she didn't like the cut?   The pressure felt heavy on my chest, until I realized I could sink or swim.  My choice.

We dried her hair and she loved it.  I felt I was given a gift of tenderness, a rare opportunity to expereince her vulnerablity, and therefore experience my own.   I had no choice to look at my own discomfort, and own fear at seeing baldness. 

I think the more women like these can enter salons, own their baldness, and allow us into their human condition, the greater the healing.  One act of courage after another frees us all.

Posted on February 14, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Definition of Humility, Inner Beauty, Inner Strength, inspiration, Salon Life.

A La Carte

Okay, my post from two days ago, was a bit of a rant.  Just me, trying to find my place in the social order.  It's looking like I'm the crone, the oldest in the bunch.  I can delicately support those younger than I.  I needed support when I was their age.   In our day long, salon pow wow, with the consulting firm went well.  As I suspected, it will take time to implement the changes we would like to make.  It was good to be on neutral territory.  People did feel comfortable enough to bring up issues with the people they have grievances with.  We did the Myers Briggs Test. It helped to identify what kind of people we are individually, and as a group. I being the only introvert, by five points.  But the majority of the folks there have no follow through.  Interesting to note. And they are all extroverts!  So, they feed off the salon being loud and busy.  What is my work here?  Take deep breaths.

I gave a two-hour class the other night at the salon.  I was coming off the flu, and still a mess, looking back.  I pulled my inner resources together and gave the class anyway.  This class had been scheduled for eons though, I needed to follow through.  As it turned out, the other stylist is an extrovert, and loves being the star, so she held center stage most of the time.  We taught what we had learned at Terri Dougherty's class.  And when it came time for the haircut demo, I completely started making up my own haircut. In my flu stupor, I even said, "Forget the diagram, it's wrong."  And I proceeded to give the model the cut, incorrectly.  I felt I couldn't let the model know that.  I let everybody know afterwards.

From that mistake, I learned the correct way to do the haircut.  It's from this year's collection, inspired by food.  This haircut is awesome for curly or straight hair.  It's called A La Carte.  Three sections and your done.  Not for the Sassoon followers.  I'll put up the pictures, soon as I get them.  We had four fabulous models, all very different from each other.  A great time was had by all.  Another humbling experience to add to the list.

Posted on January 25, 2008 and filed under Curly Hair, Definition of Humility, Hairstyling, Salon Life.

An Aging Stylist

I know it's probably not hip to speak of ones age, particularly a woman, but I have styling hair for 27 years, some days I lose count, but things are changing in the industry, and I don't know how I am fairing. I now wear readers, and yes, they hang on the tip of my nose, which ages me, maybe, 20 years.  That makes me 67 years old.  I could probably stand to wear glasses, which would age me still, maybe 10 years, which would make me 57 years old.  But I can't admit it to myself yet, that I may need glasses, or do.

The stylists around me, particularly, the apprentices paint their bodies with tattoos.  I look like plain, square, Jane, because I am tattoo-less, a rarity in California, except maybe if your 57 years old and need glasses.  But even my one client who is in her 70's got her ankle tattooed.

These same apprentices wear the lowest cut blouses and tops, and they are full in figure.  I about died when one of them came with the cell phone tucked right there in her cleavage, and she was sitting at the front desk, which if you stood there, you were right on top of the situation, no where for your eyes to go, but there.

High heels abound in the salon.  Platforms, skinny heels, all shapes and sizes, 3 inches height the minimum.  My varicose veins hurt just looking at them.

The conversation I overhear in the chair feels disingenuous and gives our industry a bad name.  Sexism is still alive and well. Who's fault is it?  The hairstylist who puts up with it, and allows it?  Or the perpetrator?  We all have our part.

We have music days at the salon, which doesn't always work out.  Each stylist gets a couple of days a month to choose what they want to listen to all day.  Hard rock and and some really foul hip-hop is what is played by some. Okay, now I feel I am unpopular, and not very hip.

The sense of entitlement that seems to go along with the music, the tattoos, the cleavage is most unbearable.  Laziness and excuses abound as explanations for what is a fundamental lack of respect for themselves and their jobs, as if to say, "If I fool you, maybe I will fool myself."  They are only fooling themselves.

Do I have their respect?  I don't know, I barely know what to say to them.  I do my work, and am very absorbed when clients sit in my chair.  I know I do need to communicate with them, I'm sure they must have much to teach me, if I would only open to them.  But I am unsympathetic to their stories, so I keep my mouth shut.

I don't think I am fairing well with these changes.  But I love what I do.  I enjoy where I work.  Our salon is better than most.  The change that needs to happen is within myself, clearly, this is where I have control.  Although, I can't remember where to begin.  The change that it would require of me is painstaking, and humbling.

Posted on January 23, 2008 and filed under boundaries, Definition of Humility, Hairstyling, Salon Life.

Curly Hair

Springy, bouncy, frizzy, coarse, or fine doesn't matter, curly hair is the most challenging hair for me to cut. Specifically, the coarse or frizzy head of hair, where the client isn't product oriented. But I love cutting it's twists and turns. I never knew how to cut it before.  Clients would leave with haircuts that looked like pyramids, cones, or entirely too bulky.  I didn't know about texturing or channeling fat curly hair.  The finesse of cutting curly hair has taken years to develop.

And, still, it can leave me baffeled and doubting myself. Everything I've learned about curly hair has come through watching other hairstylists, some online training, and working with it for 24 years. This is where personal growth and professional developement step in.  Perhaps I should attend a class. 

Curly hair, the definition of humility. I bow to you.

Posted on November 16, 2007 and filed under Curly Hair, Definition of Humility.