This year, around the time when summer was about to start, I felt the urge to get a haircut. It started off when a couple of girls got their hair cut and reminded me that I should probably get one too. Also, if I think about it, I usually tend to go for shorter hair around that time of year in preparation for the heat. But the most pressing reason was that the ends of my hair were in bad shape, and I just wanted them gone ASAP.
Normally, I would’ve gone to Great Clips, but this time I decided to get a nicer haircut. I asked around for some hair cutting place recommendations, and then made calls to ask about reservations and pricing and stuff. It turned out that the beginning price most of the salons gave me was forty dollars, and the more I thought about that number, the more my insides felt weird.
I read about this on Cupcakes and Cashmere, and I don’t remember what post it was or exactly what they said, but this was the general idea: everybody has their own unique splurge items and cheap items. What I mean by that is, a splurge item is like buying ice-cream in a cone instead of a cup, or buying a waffle cone instead of a cake cone. Cheap items are things that you get the most inexpensive but still sufficient form of, like borrowing books at the library. For me, it turned out that haircuts are more on the cheap item side of the things.
Which is why I decided against getting a better hair cut and instead found a Sports Clips less than a mile away from my house, thinking it was in the similar vein as Great Clips. I was very wrong. What I didn’t know at the time was that Sports Clips is a haircutting place geared toward guys. This fact became glaringly obvious as soon as I walked in the store. A baseball game played on the TV, the walls were covered with sports-related wallpaper, and all the people waiting were male.
I took this all in with uncomfortable surprise, but I didn’t walk out- I really wanted to get my hair cut. Instead, I took a seat and read the the book I had brought as my mom placed me in line. The apprehensive jitters in my stomach didn’t go away. If anything, they got increasingly worse as I waited and realized that this was not going to be a quick in and out thing like I had hoped. Finally, after about half an hour, the lady called my name.
Things didn’t get much better from there. When she started brushing my hair, it wouldn’t comply. She would jerkingly comb out one section of tangled ends only to come back and find them to be just as knotted as before. After a few minutes of this, she decided the porcess was taking too long and gave me a comb so I could brush too.
While this was happening, she started telling me that my hair was acting up not because it was unhealthy, but because it had some sort of residue on it. That was why it had a tacky sort of feeling to it. When she told me that, I remembered something a friend had said recently. She had asked me if I had used hairspray that day and was surprised when I said no, saying that my hair felt like I had. As I sat there in the salon chair with that black cape thing around me, I thought to myself, oh no, something’s wrong with my hair- or even worse, maybe I just have bad hair, period.
At that point, everything in me wanted to abort the whole haircut mission. I was embarrased about my hair. I felt self-conscious about sticking out like a sore thumb as the only girl customer there. I was frustrated that it was taking longer than I expected it to. It was a bad mix of emotions.
On the inside, I just wanted to go home. On the outside, I stayed right where I was, partly because I couldn’t think of a polite, acceptable way of extracting myself from the middle of a haircut, and partly because I really did want those split ends gone. So I kept sitting as she told me that giving my hair a trim wasn’t going to the fix the tangledness of my hair. The problem, she thought, was that I was using the wrong conditioner. I listened and nodded along, but I didn’t really believe her.
Slowly, the haircut reached its ending point. After the lady said she was done, my mom suggested to me that she add some layers to make the cut not so utterly straight, but I said no. I also said no to buying a conditioner the lady recommended. Every fiber of my body wanted to be gone, and with my hair cut, there was nothing important enough to stall me from doing that anymore.
Once I got home, I went to look at myself in the mirror and inspect my haircut. Even though the edges were a bit blunt, it was good. I liked the length. However, the lady was right. My hair still had that tacky feeling to it. Darn it. I immediately told my mom I needed some new conditioner, this was urgent. Okay, she said, we’ll get some. But why don’t you first try using that Dove conditioner? It’s good, I’ll go grab it for you.
What I really wanted was to go out and buy a brand new, shiny bottle of conditioner because obviously that was a guaranteed and immediate solution to this pressing problem, but I reluctantly agreed. Okay.
That night, instead of using the anit-dandruff conditioner that I had been using for months even though I didn’t even think it was doing its job, I used Dove. Afterwards, as I inspected my hair once again, I was convinced it felt better- or maybe that was just me being optimistic.
Two months later, I can safely say that I wasn’t just being optimistic. Right now, as I’m writing this post, my hair does feel better. (Oh my goodness, I realize that this totally sounds like a post sponsered by Dove. It’s not. That is definitely not the point of this story.) I still would’t describe my hair as silky or glossy or soft, but it does feel healthy.
There are two things about this story that give me a “whoa” feeling. The first thing is that even though my experience at Sports Clips is undeniably one of the top two worst haircut incidents I’ve ever had, I got multiple things out of it- better hair, a funny story, the good-to-know tip that Sports Clips is for guys, and even a blog post.
The second thing is that all the angst my hair and that haircut caused was completely solved by me simply changing conditioners. And it wasn’t even some expensive, high quality brand. It was just an almost empty bottle of Dove that I already had at home.
I don’t believe that the simplest solution is always the best one, but in this case, it was. I’ve been thinking, and here are other times where that was also true.
What are your splurge and cheap items? For me, cool socks are definitely a worthy splurge. As for cheap, mine is sunglasses. I don’t think I’m ever going to get a pair of expensive shades. I would be too worried about them getting smushed in my backpack or something.
Have you ever had a bad hair cut experience? Or a superb one? I think I would have to answer no to the second one. I just dislike haircuts in general. Haircuts, that machine that blows wind into your eye at the eye doctor, those slips of paper with yellow dye that actually have to touch your eyeball that are also at the eye doctor, tongue compressors when you might have strep- agh to all of those things.
A time when the simplest solution was best?
A bad situation that had not-so-bad things come out of it? To clarify, a funny story counts as a not-so-bad thing in my opinion.