A Hairy Tale

Every six weeks or so since my retirement several years ago, I have my hair clipped, reshuffled and spritzed at a local beauty school.  Because the students work on real heads for only a few months of their training, I rarely have the same student hair dresser more than one time.  Given those circumstances one might think that my chauffeur ought to leave a lot to be desired.  The truth is that I usually look pretty good when I exit the school.  Although the teachers rotate almost as much as the students, they are always competent and are sometimes great.  Thus, the school has never been sued by a patron whose hair fell out or turned green. 

The students come in all sizes, shapes and races.  The parking lot is always full of commuter cars as the pupils come from all over the southern part of the state. In my experience, most are in their thirties or forties.  Cosmetology school seems to be a second career choice for former hotel managers, bar tenders, carpenters, and on occasion, teachers. A few come to the school after a brief stint at a community college or right out of high school.  Loans to take courses toward a state certificate seem plentiful.  The loans are necessary because the nine month course costs between $17,000 – $20,000.00.  How many students actually pay back those loans is questionable.  Hair dressers, contrary to popular opinion, do not make a great deal of money.  The profession, however, is not without a bit of glamour.

That is why today I was slightly amused at the young lady who did my hair.  She was short, dark and little plump.  She spoke in brief sound bites that came out as if she was annoyed with anyone who would take up her time by wanting his or hair done on her time. 

The young lady shampooed my hair twice and rinsed it throughly, but she did no rubbing of the scalp and left it so wet that I dripped all the way back to my chair. She then proceeded to practically demand that a teacher start her, calling out to any passing teacher.  The first teacher who started her did not return as quickly as this student wished, she roped in another one, telling her not to drop the clippers because she borrowed them from a friend and would have to pay for them, if they were damaged.  Watching the teacher, pupil exchanges in the mirror, I noticed that the young lady rarely watched the  teacher demonstrating a specific technique.  Her eyes roved distractedly as pupils, clients or teachers passed. At one point, she asked the teacher where she went to school.  The teacher said that she went to a high school for dance before becoming a hair dresser.  My young lady snorted!  “You – dancer!” she said.  To her credit, the teacher just replied that she like to dance.

The would be hair dresser seemed to have come from a business where she was in charge.  She had little patience for any activity that did not serve her.  She seems the type that will establish a business then hire others to do the day-to-day hair cutting.  I wish her well.  By the way, my hair looks pretty good.


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