Let me start by saying that I am really cheap when it comes to my hair. Seriously, I’m the most low maintenance Dallas girl you will ever meet when it comes to hair. I usually get my hair cut about twice a year, I don’t do any kind of highlights or color, and rarely spend more than $50 a year on salon visits. I also have never committed to a stylist. I almost always go to the Toni and Guy Hair Academy right around the corner.
On Wednesday I had decided that I needed a haircut – which was already breaking out of my norm because I’ve already had my hair cut this calendar year and I generally only go twice a year. I further broke out of my norm by not going to the hair academy. Since the academy generally takes about three times as long as a normal salon experience and I’m not exactly made of time as a nursing mom and business owner, I took my mom’s suggestion and tried an older woman named Antonia.
My mom warned me that although she gives a fabulous haircut, Antonia has probably the worst disposition you could have as a stylist. She was right. I think she wanted to cut my hair dry because the shampoo she gave me was probably the most painful shampoo I’ve ever received. She asked me a few few small talk-y questions while she shampooed me but by the time I got to the chair, there was silence.
‘Alright,’ I thought, ‘I can do silence, no big.’
After a while she asked me a question about what she was doing to my hair, and after I answered I asked her how long she had been cutting hair. Fifty two years. She speaks with an accent so I asked her where she was from.
“Italy. Why?” she barked.
“Oh I was just trying to place your accent,” I said – cowering. “How long have you been here?”
“Too long.” She then launched into this whole rant about Obama, Biden, cussing, young people, politics etc. There was a whole spiel about how they just don’t get it. I’m not sure who ‘they’ were or what it was that they don’t get, but I can assure you – they don’t get it. I just sat there, eyes wide, smiling and nodding.
I watched as she cut my hair and got a bit nervous about how short it was becoming but I didn’t dare speak up. I just watched in silence. To me haircuts are always an adventure with the unknown. A commitment that can will grow out in a few weeks if you will. So I don’t get too stressed if my hair ends up a bit shorter than I anticipated. Twice I made a point of saying, “Well you’ve been doing this for 52 years, I’m sure you know what you’re doing.” She agreed with me both times.
I marveled at how fast she could still cut hair at her age, she must have been around 70. She told me that she’d had carpal tunnel surgery five times. She doesn’t blow dry anymore. “If someone come in with long hair and wants blow out, I tell them, ‘Get out of here.’ ”
At the end as she combed and fussed with my (wet) hair she sat back and said, “I give a good haircut.” in her Italian accent. I agreed. As I was checking out, she actually smiled at me (well, I think it was really directed at the haircut she just gave me) and invited me to come back. I told her I would. Something tells me that she doesn’t just invite everyone to come back… Her whole presence and personality amused me so much (not to mention the haircut she gave me really was great) that I think I will go back and see her. Who knows, I may even start getting regular haircuts!