The other day I was getting my hair cut, and I commented on the casual Friday attire of the stylists.
In the past, they always wore black, and the color was more important than style. There’s a new owner now, and she believes given the nature of the salon — creating an image — the individuals responsible for the changes for their clients should be able to express their own style.
I have to agree, and I liked the change.
The new owner is a long-time employee of the salon, who started out as a receptionist, and worked long, hard hours to get to where she is today. She can be abrupt, but you get used to that, because she cares about both her employees and her clients.
She’s been cutting my hair for the last seven years, and does a damn good job. She also colors it (too much grey for my comfort) and — lucky for me — charges me a small portion of the typical cost for color. That’s not something she does for too many people, and I’m not sure what motivated her to do it for me. I don’t question it.
The longer you live somewhere, the more roots you establish, the more small benefits accrue. You know the back routes to beat traffic, you’ve discovered the quiet groups of people who share your interests. You’re in on the local secrets.
I’ve lived in my current location for 14 years, which is nearly as long as I’ve lived anywhere in my life. Granted, I haven’t been in the same home the whole time, but most of it’s been spent in the same city.
I like it here.
I’ve lived in cities where, despite all my efforts, I never felt at home. I’ve lived in places I once loved, but now find to be uncomfortable. The pace here suits me.
There are things I don’t like. The job opportunities in my field are exceptionally limited. The political and justice systems are somewhat backwoods. Yet despite those issues, I’ve found a community of supportive people of like mind.
Including my stylist. Okay, her political views are diametrically opposed to mine, so we don’t discuss the current state of affairs in our government. But we share many of the same values.
When she leaned in and whispered how much it cost the parents of one 17-year-old to have extensions put in her hair, I was shocked. This girl had gone to a cut-rate salon that had fried her hair with bad color and an equally pathetic cut. Her long, beautiful blonde tresses had to be trimmed to a short bob. After one weekend, her parents gave in to her sobs, and shelled out the $4,000 it cost to have extensions.
You read that right. Four. Thousand. Dollars. That’s before the tip.
I told my stylist my parents would never have done that, even if they could have afforded it. Your hair will grow out, they would have said. She agreed, and she has four children, so she knows the pressures.
It takes awhile for even the most verbose of reputable stylists to tell that kind of story to a client. I like being one of the favored, someone whose responses she can predict, someone she can trust.
I like being a long-time client, long-time patient, long-time resident. I’m not moving any time soon.
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