over-qualified.. my first life as a doctor, lawyer, therapist, confidant and hairstylist

“I think my husband is cheating on me” she confided in a whisper, “you need a lawyer” I suggested. I only suggested the lawyer because we all knew her husband was cheating on her. He happens to get his haircuts at this salon as well, so does his girlfriend. We have a lot of personal information at our fingertips, literally. Because we ‘touch’ our clients they feel the need to confide in us, even their doctors don’t get the information we unwittingly unleash. My next client had a stabbing pain in the heel of her foot, whenever she stood up she was almost crippled by the pain. “You have a bone spur and need to see a podiatrist” I calmly informed her, “its not serious and you’ll be fine.” I knew from experiencing this myself and getting a diagnosis from a nurse while I was colouring her hair. Then there was my own neurosis, all these clients relied on me to help them solve their problems. Those that I couldn’t help, I gave assurances that maybe their next appointment I might have some answers, but no promises..

Being a hairstylist is not just about cutting and styling peoples hair, hell no. We were confidants, lawyers, doctors and therapists not to mention our talent for making them feel better. Lastly we were also magicians. We could transform the ugliest mishaps done at home, into presentable works of art. We were cheaper, on call and available. We were also underpaid for all of our confidential services but we loved our chosen field.

Touching people, doing their hair and making a living, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Hairstylists keep the world on an even keel and also have their hands on the pulse of everyday living. I’m quite serious here. If you want to know how people are feeling, what they’re thinking and what’s going on in your city, make an appointment with a local hairstylist. If you have any medical issues we can help with that too. Sometimes we have to field stuff that we can’t answer. Not a problem, our regulars were also doctors, lawyers and psychiatrists whom we consulted with regularly, while they were getting their hair needs looked after.

Being a hairstylist is one of the most rewarding jobs, but can come with heartache as well. We get really close to our clients sometimes which is inevitable. Chances are we are cutting your whole families hair and we become a small part of that family too. When something happens like a death or accident or cancer or whatever, it hurts us too. It’s the circle of life. When you get married, we have guided you through the whole thing, from the colour of the dresses to flowers to the food. Oh, and we also did all the hair for the big day. When you give birth, we spread the word and we’ll be giving that beautiful child its first haircut when the time comes.

If you are reading this and have a great hairstylist, I bet she knows more about you than your own husband? Am I right? I see you laughing right now and I am laughing as well because I have heard it all! Just so you know, we do have a code of honour and we only discuss your problems or secrets when we need a second opinion. Only we (fellow stylists) know the names of the players. But fair warning also, if it is just too outrageous or unbelievable then all bets are off, it becomes fodder for the masses and entertainment for us. We cannot make up, nor do we need too, some of the stuff we are privy too.

Here is an example and although I wasn’t there, it is a part of folklore now. This happened at a downtown salon where my girlfriend worked, the place has an esthetician school on the second level. This gal arrived for her hair colouring appointment with a Kleenex containing something in her hand. The stylist took her to her station and the client showed her what she was carrying. She wanted her hair colour the same as the hair sample she had wrapped in the Kleenex, which was a sample of her pubic hair. If you are still reading this.. sorry/not sorry, it’s a true story. AND if you are still curious.. it was light brown with gold highlights.. I know, information overload.

Lastly and more importantly is our following of clients. You are loyal til death do we part, we rate even higher than your doctor, lawyer, therapist and sometimes even your sister. Trust me I am not exaggerating, and most of you already know this. We can move away from you, but we can’t hide. You will track us down and find us. Even if we have quit doing hair, you will still phone us, pleading that you are on your death bed and need a haircut! The Lord knows that your hair is the most important part of you, if it’s not looking good then you’re just not ready.. it’s that simple.

I hope you enjoyed this blog, as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here’s a little tip for you, if you have a favorite stylist and would like to get ‘special treatment’ from them, always bring them food. We were always hungry, missing meals because of being overbooked, and too lazy to pack a lunch. We secretly loved, loved, loved the clients that brought us homemade goods to eat. We all looked forward to these clients when we seen their names in our appointment book.. and you’re welcome :  )