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Let's Talk About...The Hair Ordeal

Ok. For some reason, lately the subject of haircuts keeps coming up in conversation. Maybe because spring is springing, we all want to spruce up a bit.

Often the topic revolves around the rising cost of getting shorn. Add color to the mix, and you can pay a lot more than an average car payment.

People spend some big money on their hair. A woman's haircut used to be about $30. Now, it can be as high as $250. For just a cut. Add color and you might be in the $400+ range. Plus tip. Don't get me started.

And do we really look $400 better when we walk out of the salon only to take a much-needed nap and smash that precious style into a pillow?

Let's go through some other haircut talking points.

1. Do we go to a "hair stylist," a "beautician," a "barber," a "hairdresser," or simply a "stylist?"

And, as a corollary question, do our expectations differ depending upon which term we use?

I think the preferred term today is "hair stylist" (or "hairstylist") but my mother used to go to "the hairdresser" and my father to a "barber."

To me, a "stylist" styles a lot more than your hair. Did you see Robert Downey Jr.'s shout-out to his "stylist" at the Oscars? He referenced his tie, not his hair. I obviously do not go to a "stylist."

I go to a "hair stylist," I think. So, I am willing to drop some serious money on my hair to get it styled. Since I go to a fancy "hair stylist," my goal is to come out looking something like Julia Roberts. My expectation is that I will just look like me without as much frizz.

On the other hand, both my husband's goal and expectation is simply to not look like Bozo. Incidentally, he still thinks haircuts should cost $20 and is always puzzled when his hair stylist wants to wash and dry his hair.

2. How often do you get your hair cut?

Some get a haircut every six weeks. Like clockwork. For others, it may be about every six months. And if you have color done, it can be as frequently as every two weeks.

For my sister, it is about once a year. On the other hand, my father-in-law used to get his hair cut every four weeks and he was bald. I think there is a direct correlation between frequency and expectations.

3. Do we really enjoy going to the salon?

My husband has said to me, "You have a hair appointment today? It will be like a spa day for you." He could not be more wrong.

Don't misunderstand me. It is always good to see my stylist. I like her very much. But with three hours sitting upright while making idle conversation, sometimes I feel that hair appointments are to be endured, not enjoyed.

By the time I get home, I need a nap just to give my neck a break from holding my head up for so long with 50 foils woven through my hair that look like I could easily make satellite contact with Mars.

4. Don't we all make an appointment for our next visit on our way out the door?

Apparently not. I do because I am like a wind-up doll. My husband has only recently learned that concept. He calls his hair person only after I tell him he has "Bozo hair" and for some reason expects to get in the same day. He is routinely shocked to find he can't get an appointment for at least four weeks. He is slowly discovering there is some planning involved when it comes to hair.

He is still learning the rules. For example, he is just starting to realize that he should make an appointment on his way out, not gasp at the bill, tip her, and let her wash and dry his hair.

5. We agree that for many of us, hair is a priority.

Among my friends and coworkers, we all understand that hair appointments have top priority over pretty much everything. Everyone understands if you miss a lunch date, book club, a meeting, or a soccer game if you have a hair appointment. Once you have an appointment, you don't cancel unless it is a real emergency like abdominal surgery, because you may not be able to make another one for six weeks. You know what I am talking about.

When it comes to hair, accept that as long as it continues to grow and turn gray, and add to that a little streak of vanity, getting it coiffed is an expensive necessity.


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