Posts filed under Politics

She's Still Letting Her Hair Grow-Stop the War In Iraq

When Jeanne first walked into the salon to meet me for an update on how her hair growing process is going, she was dressed in her gray uniform from work, with her hair in a Twistie.  I told her I would be right with her.  As I finished up the short, sassy haircut on my last client of the day, I could see Jeanne's eyes peeking over the half-wall the cutting floor from the waiting area. Then, within minutes she was purring, barking, lusting after my client's short hair.  Her cries of desire left me with the feeling that the "grow out" as a stance against the war was waning. After I grabbed my bag, we head out into the sunlight, I could feel my skin, and all sensory neurons waking up, after a long day of being inside.  We embraced, I could feel the missing her right in the center of my chest.  As we ordered tea, and sat outside in front of Betty's Diner in Berkeley, CA, we got to the hair topic right away.  Basically, she is having a hard time with it.  She is a short hair kind of woman, long hair doesn't feel comfortable, or like an expression of herself.  Even more poignant of an action then, don't you think?

We talked about art, and we agreed we need to keep the art going.  But do we need to let the world know about our art?  She doesn't think so.  It's kind of like painting in back of the cave.  Paint because you have to, and for nobody else to see.  Somebody else will come paint over your work.  It's about the process, not the result.  Art for money?  That's a whole other conversation.  However, there are times we feel more private with our creativity, and sometimes we feel we need to let others in. We agreed we thought many more people would be functioning adults, had they had their voice come out through something they had created.

By the end of our conversation, Jeanne was thinking, maybe she just needed a slight trim to give it some shape as her hair continued to grow.  I agreed.  I said that is not a haircut, and you wouldn't be defeating the process.  Was it a plea for her hair, or about our connection.  She might be moving, and that would sadden me.  Maybe it saddened her as well.

We never did talk about the war.  It's almost impossible to let my heart fathom what has gone on in Iraq, and what continues to go on.  Not to mention what may be happening soon in Iran.  My own nephew joined the Coast Guard a month ago.  In his eyes, it was the only hope for a desperate young man, needing to feel worthy.

Posted on July 8, 2008 and filed under Creativity, Friendship, hairstylist, Love, Politics.

Nobody is Brushing Their Hair

It came to me yesterday that as the world becomes more intense all the time, with people killing each other, starving in most of the world, and holed up in their homes craving touch, I had solution to the ills of human nature.  Brushing your hair.  Nobody is brushing their hair anymore.  When did it stop?  The stress goes right to the scalp.  In fact, I will start polling scalps and give you an update of how many people have tight scalps, and how many people brush.  I can guarantee you this, most people do not brush their hair.  I touch scalps all day long, and at least 75% are tight. So, now we have tight scalp, and more people not brushing their hair because of hair color, hair products, and then we go to bed with unbrushed hair(yuck!), then we wake up and do it again.  More product, more air pollution, more stress, and no brushing, then back to bed again.  Then we do it all again.  I wonder what goes on for our skin too, resting on that yucky pillow case over and over.

The perfect anecdote is to BRUSH your hair!  Not only does brushing feel good, it relaxes every part of you, but all the toxins, and tension gets brushed away.  And as if that wasn't sweet enough, the oils get brushed out to the ends of the hair, which mostly are dry.  The softness starts to permeate everywhere.  You can't just use any have to check out the Mason Pearson brushes at  These brushes feel so good, and last a lifetime they say.   You will never need another brush, nor will you want one.  These brushes get right down to the scalp, without digging in, and without little plastics tips coming off.

While your at it, brush right down over our body, with your clothes on.  Brushing in downward strokes the arms, the sides of the body, your legs, your back, your legs, right down the feet.  You've never felt anything like it.

When you brush away your stress, you are tuning into your own body, you can feel your own energy again, you are tending to your self.  Isn't this where world peace begins?  Maybe you will want to do it for someone else.  We wil have hair brushing parties...we will do it for our kids...

Posted on July 1, 2008 and filed under hair, Inner Beauty, Inner Strength, Politics, Self-care.

We Walk a Similar Path

However different we make think we are, it is minuscule compared to what we have in common.  Marcia Branca and I have known each other since 1988.  For twenty years our relationship has winded down a path that hugs the earth, and comes upon vistas that one can see as far out as eye can see.  When she first became a client, we realized we had a couple of mutual friends.  Her personal interests seemed to be similar to mine, and to the friends we had in common.  And although our relationship has not brought us together socially, it's as reliable.  It's as if each time, we fumble for a few minutes to see where we left off, but then quickly get back into a rhythm of sharing that makes us laugh, cry and remember why we carry on for this many years.

Some of the ways we knew each other were from unrelated arenas, giving us the feeling that really this is too much.  We have seen each other grow, and shrink, and grow again.  We both have one daughter, we both write, we both have a similar spiritual practice, we both paint, we both love travel, we both want something better for our daughters.  We have both dreamt, and have had our dreams shattered.  We are survivors, and after a kind of life that we catch glimpses of, and mirror for each other.

The other day, she did her makeup and I colored her hair and took a photo.  Because the time before, I colored and cut her hair, we applied makeup, and she looked fabulous.  The camera had no card.  So, this is what we captured this time.  And this is what she had to say about our presidential campaign:  Click here to download.

There is a certain kind of beauty in knowing that certain people you are sure you've known before, and will always feel a connection to, no matter how much time goes by, and how little you do see each other.  Thank you Marcia for the years of friendship, loyalty, trust and laughter.  You are a beauty.

Posted on June 10, 2008 and filed under Beauty, Friendship, hairstylist, Love, Loyalty, Politics, writing.

Hot Topics in the Chair

Topics were all over the board yesterday, all the while, awesome hair color of magenta and Special Effects yellow on Anne, level 3 and Special Effects yellow on Frankie, and cutting a client's hair, then needing to be in dialogue about, her still wanting it shorter.  And yet, I thought we were growing it out.  One needs to be flexible.  And in the end, the client needs to be happy, and sometimes this translates to me letting go of my vision. Suicide of a 24 year old on one side, people thrilled about Obama and the possibilities he represents on the other.  How is it our youth want to take thier lives?   Overworked, overwhelmed, over achieving women, women shaming men, pathos in full living color in the chair, and promotion of small business owners...also how women are afraid of calling attention to themselves, so they dress frumpy.  Why does anyone want to put out that kind of energy into the world?  It's for us that we dress.

The owner and I went to a book reading of another client, but we had the day wrong.  So, we walked to a restaraunt a client recommended.  This fabulous Cajun restaurant, Angenline's in Berkeley, has created an authentic, fabulous, inviting ambiance.  The restaurateur, Robert is friendly, and loves talking about the menu.  The food was delicious, and the music added the finishing touch!  We talked about business and possibilities for the salon.

Listen up for one of the interviews on Obama vs Clinton, by J. Rosenthal. Click here to download…


Posted on June 7, 2008 and filed under Death, Dreams, haircolor, Politics, Salon Life.

Hair and Politics

Everybody I saw today had lots of hair.  They all had hair that needed more attention than most, or didn't have much hair, but decided today was the day thier hair did need attention.  Lots of color, lots of focus, lots of foils. And only one client and I talked of politics.  How can that be?  The rest of the world is waiting.  How will the American people vote?  We are making history now, no matter how the election turns out.  Hilary Clinton, and Barack Obama have people talking.  Will they decide to work together for the better of the Democratic Party, and the country.  Will they decide to work together for the better of the Democratic Party, and the country.  Will the Clinton constituents realign with Obama? Writing, moves, changes, good stories, music, suicide, friendships, Squaw Valley Writing Converence, the economy, and loyalty were topics discussed in the chair today.  I felt fatigued at the end, and yet I couldn't stop.  I had to race to pick up my daughter.   She reminded me she was almost the last one to be picked up.(Thankfully, it had been a long time since that has happened.)  I needed to leave my last client with my assistant to finish the blowdry.  Unfortunate situation, even though I trust my assistant to treat my client well.

When I walked past the news stand to get a cup of coffee this morning, I read the headlines as I always do.  Today was the first day in at least a year that I bought a newspaper.  The front page of the San Francisco Chronicle caught my eye.  I wanted to read the paper, this was highly unusual behavior.  I don't know if you call it real news, but it was the first I'd read beyond the online news through, or  It provoked conversation.  Clients seem to be excited, or completely in fear and still anxious.  The campaign is not over until it is over.  Will the American people be willing to move beyond their fear and small minds, and allow the white patriarchal to rest.  Whoops!  What does this have to do with hair?  It's somebody who sits in my chair regularly, and is bright, and was willing to talk about what is real.

Click here to download… 

Posted on June 4, 2008 and filed under Death, haircolor, hairstylist, Loyalty, Politics, Salon Life.

Politics in the Chair Part 1

J.Nelson sat in my chair the other day. At 9:00 am she was willing to be interviewed about her views on what is happening in the presidential campaign. She voiced her concerns about the American people actually voting a man like Bush into office, and of feeling defeated over the last eight years of the republican party. She talked about meeting Hilary once a couple of years ago, and how she liked her a lot. And, she said she had concerns about Obama not having experience. Listen up for a thrity minute interview. Once I learn the ropes of the Audacity program, I"ll offer shorter versions. J. has compelling ideas.Click here to download…

Posted on May 26, 2008 and filed under Hairstyling, Politics.

Obama vs Clinton

Three out of four of my clients polled on Wednesday said Obama was the man for the job.  A couple of Hilary voters, are disgruntled with her old style politics and have moved over to the Obama side of things.  The fourth client was a Hilary supporter and has not decided to give up until Hilary does. We all agreed nobody is perfect.   Not one of my clients is looking for perfection.  They are interested in diplomacy, integrity, and intelligence.  We all agreed whoever gets the job will have a mighty task ahead of them.  Nobody cares for the classic style of politicking, in fact, everybody I talked to, four out of six clients, were ready for somebody very different. 

Is Obama that remains to be seen.  We would like him to be, not only because of his potential, but because the alternative, McCain, is dreadful.   Everybody I talked to was sickened by McCain, and seemed to be worried more about who would he bring along as Vice President.  May it not get to this point.

I've heard a lot of people talking about Obama's message of hope, more than actual talking about a plan, or course of action.  Frankly, I feel that I'd rather not have the promises.  Hope is not a bad word, hope is what people need to rise above their situations in life.  Somebody needs to say,  peace is possible, this is how we will do it.

Posted on May 22, 2008 and filed under hairstylist, Personal Questions, Politics.

Obama or McCain

Instead of interviewing clients on their thoughts, feelings and reactions to color, I want to know which candidate the Democrats are going to vote for and why.  At this point it is a little frightening to think that if the Democrats in America can't get behind Obama, and they decide for malicious reasons they will vote for the antiquated McCain, a guy that even the Republican party doesn't like, we are heading down further into dark times.  Maybe it's too late for this sort of inquiry, but is it?  Shouldn't we fight with determination in the ways that we can to affect those around us, to have dialogue about what matters to the final moment? In fact, I need to be recording people's responses, NOW.  What better place than the hairdresser's chair to gather a consensus based on this particular segment of society, in Berkeley, California?  It's a bit intimidating to open up the political conversation in the chair, because who knows what beliefs people have, and if they consider it too personal a topic to go into, and what if they are Republican?  In the past, maybe I would have had a reaction, but now, I think it more important to discuss our viewpoints, especially if they differ from mine, to understand other view points.  I think I could interview clients from a neutral position. 

Mrs. Page in beauty school might not approve, but interviewing clients right now about their political views would bring me satisfaction of a different sort.  I've always been trying to get to the underbelly of the beauty industry, knowing from experience, there is much more than what meets the eye when somebody sits in the chair.  Why not take the opportunity?

Posted on May 20, 2008 and filed under Beauty, boundaries, hairstylist, Personal Questions, Politics.

Inmates in Beauty School

I read in the Boston Herald an article about inmates doing time in beauty school.  I have to say that I was shocked, and dismayed at the level of vehemence and intolerance that this article activated for people.  Inmate issues are all of our issues.  We do have a responsibility to create functioning human beings that come out of prisons.  To continue to have disregard for humanity and dignity of all people, troubled or not, is the crime.  We cannot continue to put people behind bars, build more prisons(which puts money in the hands of wealthy developers), and give them no way to support themselves when they come out. I say kudos to the inmates for wanting to better themselves, to the woman who trained them, and to the facility for being forward thinking, in what seems a very narrow sighted community.  

The fact that these inmates took to hairdressing, is a sign that something was sparked inside of them.  What better situation could we provide,  but an environment to help connect them to their own creative expression.  Helping people to develop skills in communication, caring for others, job training, and creativity seems our duty. 

Creative expression, in whatever form, is essential to all living beings, and to not have it, foster it, has dire consequences.  I was simply delighted to read this article.

Posted on March 17, 2008 and filed under Creativity, inspiration, Life, Politics, self-expression.


I left work the other day feeling as though I had just left beauty school, yes a Rocky like attitude of I can do anything, let me have at those clients.  On the other hand, a train load of inexperience and naivete.  The day did not start well with a relatively new client called because the demi-permanent color we did the other day was a little transparent on the gray hair.  So, I did what I thought I needed to do, have her come back in and retouch the color.  When she came in she suggested we play.  I didn't have the time to play.  So, we decided to tone the fettuccine size pieces with special effect colors, and retouch the level 5 base.  I told her I was a bit concerned that every time I did her hair, it's not quite right it seemed.   "But then it is."

This is the second time I have had to reappoint her because she wasn't happy.  We agreed we refining what she wants her hair to look like.  Her hair looked great when she left.  Candy apple red, mixed with burgundy wine pieces, alternating with 9.3 and 8N, 9% developer.  Pretty.  We will have to drop her base to a level 4 next time.

Then two cancellations in the middle of my day. Fatigue started to work its way into my body.  Then I had another stylists client sit in my chair for the first time, the other hairstylist is out on leave.   Her silver hair, that we weaved with spaghetti size pieces with a level 5N 20 vol., with a hint of blue accent (she said it turned warm every time with a formulation of 5NN), alternating with 6.1 vol.  The result was a navy blue where the 5N, blue accent was placed.  Blue hair, it was beautiful and would have been right for many other clients of mine who love to play.  But, not blue hair, not on this client.  I could see the blue accent oxidizing immediately.   I thought, "It will darken."  And it did, but into a deep navy blue.  My fear is that it will lighten to a shade of pale blue as she shampoos her hair.  I've been doing hair 27 years,this should not have happened, not to this client.  I think I was intimidated about seeing her.  She is the kind of person that finds it hard to let go, who needs to have her fingers in the haircut, and blow-dry her own hair.  I walked away from the chair as she did so. I alerted the other stylists, did I indeed she make the biggest mistake ever?

And to boot, I don't love what her and the other stylist are doing with her hair, so I was doing something I didn't believe looked good even in the best case scenario. It's not easy to see that I compromised my work, my ideas,and my sensibilities. I delicately said, "let's try something different, I think it could look better."  But change is too scary for her, she is much to insecure. Or maybe I am too soft to insist she needs to change.

I wanted to leave the salon.  I wanted to quit doing hair for a moment. I half expected her to call, and I suppose I still do.  Humility comes up and works its way into my life once again. Well, suffice it to say, I think I sabotaged myself.  And that is a difficult thing to look at.

The only saving grace was the primaries.  What an exciting time in history!

Posted on February 7, 2008 and filed under boundaries, Hairstyling, Politics, Salon Life.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I attended an event in Phoenix last year, on this day.  The cabdriver that picked us up wore a hat, and was a bit chatty.  He was slight and wiry in frame, and maybe 55 years old.  Once we got in the cab, we made small talk about the weather and the fact that it was a holiday.  I don't know why they make such a big deal about this guy (Martin Luther King Jr.), all he ever did was have a dream.  I about fell over. "What?  How you could you say such a thing?  He is one of the great thinkers and leaders of this century, and a tireless crusader for human rights.  He spoke out, and worked hard against injustice of every kind." I wanted to say.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Life's most persistent question is, What are you doing for others?"

It can be overwhelming to see the homeless building in numbers under the freeway, and the jobless rate increasing, the richer getting richer.  How can I make a difference in the well of need that exists in the world? Apathy, and a state of denial seem an easier place to go.

Learning to get along with each other is the order for today, seems appropriate on this holiday.  A day, where people can get their concerns heard and work towards change.  The salon is closed.  We will work with a consulting group to try and work out our issues.  I've never worked in a salon where issues were prevalent enough to warrant outside help.   

To get along  seems simple, but I'm a person who avoids conflict usually.   Silence is not always better.  Complacency is worse.   I resist and despise any rah rah work that will inspire change for a day.  Will lasting change be the result?  It's up to each of us.  The one thing I can do is to become part of the solution.  I will make sure my voice is heard today, and speak up for those who can't. 

Thank you Martin for your efforts, and giving your life to a just cause, your efforts were not in vain.

Posted on January 21, 2008 and filed under inspiration, Politics, Salon Life.

More on No War and Hair Growth

Of course the presidential primaries have my clients talking, but what's got them saying, "Huh, what do you think about that?" is Hilary Clinton. The fact that she is smart, can debate with the boys, and shed tears on camera has caught the public by surprise.  And what was I just saying about the Princess dilemma, and my clients suggestion that maybe my daughter is simply manifesting the Feminine?  Perhaps this culture is ready for a change from the patriarchy.  I take issue with some of what Hilary doesn't offer, but I certainly think she can hold her own. Does she have charisma?  Not exactly.   Does she fill me with a sense of hope?  Not really.  Is it the fact that she is a thinking, feeling woman going to catapult her to sitting in the White House?  Possibly.

Maybe we are ready for the Feminine.  But the question I ask now is, are we ready for Peace?

My client growing her hair as a anti-war statement is still on my mind.  It's never been just about the hair.  People have been making their heads the centerpiece of their political, spiritual, and psychological expression for a very long time.  I am touched by my client's simple act. It's peaceful.

Posted on January 9, 2008 and filed under Politics, self-expression.