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There are six products in my hair right now, and approximately 48 volts worth of electrical static. I know about the products because I counted the bottles, lined up on the desk of my new stylist. (Is that what they're called? Stylists?) I am estimating about the amount of electricity.


There was no static in my hair when I left the apartment this morning. Maybe its presence now is a poorly-timed coincidence. Maybe she did something.

I do not have great hair. It is fine, it is wavy, and with my limited cosmetic skills, it often ends up resembling the texture of FluterDog's fur. True story. Ask anyone.

I care a little, but have basically taken on the emotional equivalent of the fetal position whenever it comes up. Eighth grade emotional scars run deep. They used to call me Medusa. If I put on glasses (instead of contacts), I can still see why. It is what it is.


I had a hair-stylist type person before this. She wasn't anything special, but she kept my hair in something resembling a shape, didn't hassle me to buy products, and we had amusing conversations about dogs while she trimmed my hair. She doesn't work for the salon anymore.

There was some sort of bidding war over clients. The salon called and told me my appointment had been changed. It was now with someone we'll call Lindsay. I'd be given a 25% discount for keeping the appointment. I'm poor and socially awkward, and don't really have anyone local to ask for a recommendation, so today I met Lindsay.


Lindsay smells strongly of cigarettes and has Robert Pattinson hair. Not cute.

Illustration for article titled Bad Hair, Bad Day: Eighth Grade Trauma Lives On

She immediately remarks upon my coat. My coat is ugly and I know it, but it's cold and windy today and my ugly coat is filled with down. I am back in my fat pants, which are all shades of brown and taupe, and all of my coats are grey, except this one. It was the least tacky I could conceivably be. I would fit in if I were wandering certain, less than savory San Francisco neighborhoods, but in a shiny happy salon where everyone's hair is straight and their makeup is intense, this coat is gross.

Whatever. It's cold. I do not like Lindsay.

I am instantly aware of my outfit. It is a "don't look at me" outfit. (I'm hesitant to include this paragraph because I got some pretty vicious trolling on this topic but while we're at it...) It is That Time and I am feeling anemic and under-rested. I have better outfits, but I didn't want to waste them on a day when I was going to feel ugly and rumpled, anyway. This outfit is functional and professional, if not particularly interesting.

My shoes, like my coat, are ugly but warm and go with brown pants. I need to get a pair of shoes to go with the fat pants that don't automatically scream "MOM SHOES!" It is on the to do list.

I hate myself for being so concerned about my appearance in front of this stranger. I am a feminist and my worth is deeper than the surface! But no one in Kansas cares about feminism and a lot of the decisions I made this morning are ugly. I am angry and full of shame.

Lindsay washes my hair. Her scalp massage gets a 4/10 rating. The previous hairdresser was much, much better at scalp massages.

Then she starts lecturing me on how fine my hair is. I want to look at her and say, "Really?" with the most sarcastic, incredulous voice I can muster, but figure it's a bad idea to make enemies before the scissors come out.

Apparently fine hair requires special shampoo. She recommends Pureology. I make a mental note to ask GroupThink about the products later. I silently hate her for selling me things when she's literally touched my hair for all of 30 seconds.


She tells me later that, in addition to the sale, one of the Pureology boxes contains a golden ticket. It won't get you into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, but it will win you an iPad. And if she sold it to me, she gets an iPad, too! I note the excited, breathless way she says it, and I wonder if my hair is really as dry and damaged as she implied it was, or if she just really wants an iPad. I decide that I will probably not make a second appointment with Lindsay.

She explains that she's going to dry my hair first and cut it second because it's better that way. She asks, in what feels like a condescending voice, if anyone has ever done this before. I am obviously an ugly country bumpkin, so I say, "No!" very brightly.

She puts no fewer than six products in my hair. Some of them were for lift, some for straightening, some for hold, and I think that one might have turned me into a unicorn. (Actually, I think the last four were just so that the smells would combine with her cigarette haze and make me vomit on my own ugly shoes. Floral, watermelon, and menthol? No bueno.)

So now my hair is cut. My money is taken. I am nauseous. It looks nicer than it does when I do it, but it's also filled with static and stiff to the touch. As is always the case when professionals flat-iron my hair, there is zero body. (Fine hair plus serious flat-ironing? Very, very flat. I do a mediocre job halfway on purpose because it leaves body.)

I am grumpypants.
Thanks for letting me share - questions below.



  • Pureology. Is she selling me shit for a quota? Or worth the expense over whatever high-end "over the counter" shampoo I happen to be using that month? (Note: Over the counter shampoo? Seriously? Is this a real term?)
  • Six products. Is this normal? Is this how adult people do hair? (Is this what people with movie star hair do?) Before I developed a very intense dislike of this woman, I was going to ask her how to help me get movie star hair. Now I'll ask you.
  • Do I actually hate this person, or do I just hate my coat?
  • How much time/energy/$$ do YOU spend on your hair? Worth it? I care, but I care less than fifty dollars. Unless it will make me nicer, happier, or shinier. Then I might care up to seventy-five.

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