Since moving to my new neighborhood, I have joined a new gym and a new church. However, I have neglected to find a new hairdresser. I joined the new church right quick because it is two streets down from me. As for the new gym, I kind of dragged my ass on that one until after the new year. However, as for the new hairdresser, really procrastinated on that one.
The circumstances around my departure from my old neighborhood were dramatic and traumatic at the same time. So when I moved into my new digs, my head was spinning. This new chapter is turning out to be good. I am on my way to designing a good headliner set, and I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVEEEEEE my mentor in Vegas. The hair needs work though.
Until I moved to New York at the age of 18, I had the same hairdresser my whole life. That was my cousin Mari. She has always been gifted at helping people not only find the perfect style, but also look and feel great about themselves. I know it sounds cliché, but she is truly gifted at that she does. Her shop stands on the cusp on the industrial edge of the town we live in. Next door is a used clothing store for children, and two doors down is the karate school that rivaled ours back in the day. Across the street is the video store we once went to, an Italian ice place, and a pizza parlor.
My cousin Mari’s shop kind of resembles that of the one in Steel Magnolia’s. As a matter of fact, it is one of her favorite movies. Mari has her regulars that come in, shoot the breeze, and she knows all about their lives. Once woman had terminal cancer and Mari used to style her wigs. Another woman was getting a divorce. A third was sleeping with the post man. Always some drama, always some intrigue.
Mari is the daughter of my paternal grandfather’s brother’s youngest. Uncle Johnny was a jovial kind of fellow. He was a chain smoking algebra teacher who worked for years in a neighboring district. Good guy, but a tad old fashioned.
Once, my mom was getting her hair done and I overheard the following conversation:
Mari: My dad calls me and asks me what I do all day.
Mom: Don’t worry, my husband does the same thing. It’s a guy thing.
Mari: So I decided after he asked me a few times to tell him the truth. You see, Anna, I have this customer who has this husband who’s a nice guy but he’s not all that bright. So anyway, she’s been having an affair with this guy she met through her gym who’s younger and kind of a bad boy, but not as nice as her husband.
Mom: Wow, that sounds complicated.
Mari: Yeah. So she went back and fourth for a while and finally decided she didn’t want to leave and loves them both. Now when she comes in, she just tells me about both. I told my dad this and he never asked me what I did at work every day ever again.
Since Mari’s salon was always the epicenter of gossip and intrigue, we always knew who was doing what and when. And we could say it was the first place we heard it. Her shop was more on point than Liz Smith and more up to date than Perez Hilton, and with the same intensity as The National Enquirer.
Mari gave me my first cut. I think I was 18 months old. We have a picture book of the whole experience, lock of hair and all. I am sitting on the stool, smiling like I did something important. I still visit her when I am home and she does my hair. Mari has all my press clippings in her salon and sells my book. In case you are wondering, yes, she is doing the hair for Skipper’s wedding. And yes, she and her mother are invited. (Uncle Johnny has since passed).
Moving to the city, I went through several stylists until I settled on the guys who were next door to me in Hell’s Kitchen. Although they were talented, I didn’t go often because of the expense. They were VERY EXPENSIVE BUT VERY GOOD. I used to go to them when I had an important taping or whatnot. As a matter of fact, I went to them on my last birthday. They were good guys and kept track of me, especially when things got bad at the end. Oh, and they also have I Came, I Saw, I Sang on their shelves.
Yesterday I decided to take a big adventure, a hairy adventure…..hahahahahahah. I decided to look for a new beauty salon.
I went to one on my way home from the gym to check it out, and they looked like a high class establishment. When I got there this guy who was probably named Derek was from the Midwest spoke in a really bad, feigned foreign accent. The prices were outrageous and they were playing very bad, bubble gum Euro Pop. So I took the over styled menu and got out of there.
Another hair salon had a stylist who looked like she would murder you with the scissors and her hair looked like a weed whacker did it. They say you will walk out looking like your stylist and that scared the living crap outta me. So I vamoosed.
After that I went two doors down to the nail salon that also has a hair styling part. The nail salon is always packed to capacity, but the salon was empty. I asked them how much a cut and highlight touch up would be. They were charging too much, and the woman who was supposed to be doing hair had a head full of badly processed pumpkin orange. Again, they say you look like your hairdresser and I was scared my hair was gonna be PUMPKIN ORANGE! So I left.
Finally, I went to one shop up the street from me. The outside resembled my cousin Mari’s shop, and I looked inside and they even had the same posters. It was hair only, and it looked to have a person or two in there. The woman working was a Korean woman who didn’t look too crazy, and she was meticulously working on the hair of what looked to be a regular customer. I asked how much a cut and highlights were, and the price was reasonable. So I decided to wait a few minutes.
On the couch was a woman who looked to be the owner’s mother, probably hanging out and helping out in her old age. That is the thing with an Asian business, the whole family works there, literally. The owner also had photos of her kids and the rest of her family decorating the place. As I waited, the two women chattered in Korean, probably gossiping about the affair someone they knew was having. Steel Magnolias Asian Edition.
The lady did my hair and at first I was scared. She understood English, but didn’t speak it super good. My hair wasn’t gonna be orange, it was gonna be PINK!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I WAS GONNA BE FENCHIE FROM GREASE!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!
I got admonished for my split ends and mediocre hair care. Yup, just like Mari. It was official, this woman was probably gonna be my new hairdresser. Somehow, the more she did my hair the more I trusted her and I had no clue why I trusted her, that’s the weird part.
In any event, when she was done I looked amazing. Like a million dollars. Yeah, amazing. I feel like good hair will be the next chapter of my life. Hey, how can I grow into a master ventriloquist, international personality, killer show closer, and bad ass writer with bad hair? I think not. Gotta have good hair. And then I spent some dough on some new clothes. Life is good. Now I gotta do laundry, because life is only so good when you have no clean underwear……….