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all my bad haircuts are self-inflicted

Ah, hair. No one is happy with their hair. If I’m wrong and you are, please be sure to post a comment here and I promise not to make fun of you in my reply. The thing about hair is that when it’s good, you can hardly look at anything else. I’ve written of my love of Khloe Kardashian before, and 80% of my love for her, is love for her hair. It’s long, it’s bouncy, it’s perfectly piece-y, it’s got volume at the crown. I’d give my left kidney to have Khloe’s hair. And my right kidney, to have Lamar.

But this post is not about Khloe Kardashian’s hair. No, it’s about hair that is roughly 1/8000 as good–my hair. Actually, it’s less about my hair than my tragic inability not to get in the way of my stylist, which results in situations like this:

I readily admit that the issue might not be easy to spot, as my entire hairstyle was carefully conceived years ago to look like a high-end rat’s nest. But the problem here is that my ear is almost completely exposed. Just on my right side–the ear on the other side is totally covered, as it should be, which just informs the observer that the haircut is an accident. It’s likely psychosomatic, but I actually feel colder on the right side of my head. It probably doesn’t look like a big deal to you, but to me, it feels like I look like this:

Anyway, it’s not my stylist’s fault. I worship the ground Galen walks on and I dedicate a full minute of every day to having a panic attack that she will leave town or quit hair altogether. No, the problem, as usual, is me.

By the time I get to the salon, I’ve spent an entire car ride coaching myself not to micromanage my haircut. It’s never any good, though. I breeze in and plop down in her chair with a forced casualness that to my mind approximates the behavior of the 20-something clientele to which Galen is accustomed, and then I’ll usually say something cheesy like, “Galen, you do your thing.” Except that I never end up letting her do her thing. After she’s done, I’ll heap her with praise and then ruin everything by asking her to cut a little more at the back, or to trim up the bangs a little bit. I can think of 15 instances when that last Yoona-mandated tweak of the bangs has taken the cut from great, to freakshow. And the worst part is that as I sit there, forcing myself to look hard at my hideous reflection and fighting back hot, burny tears as Galen nervously sweeps up the hair around me, I know I have only myself to blame. But the lesson never takes. I’ll inevitably do the exact same thing two months later.

This last go-around, when Galen finished up, I was convinced that the hair looked shorter on one side. So I grabbed a lock of hair from my right side that looked out of place and told Galen to cut it. Galen gave a visible wince, but she knows who’s calling the shots in her salon, and it’s not her. So she cut it. Turns out that lock of hair covered my right ear. And that’s how I ended up where I am today.

The ear is almost grown over by now. Time for a new haircut.

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. It looks alright to me but I can only see one side. I am happy to let my hairdresser do his thing as I trust him (and only him). the problem with this is that his salon is near my old job so I need to travel an hour each way to get my hair cut. There are probably other places closer to home or my new job but I am too nervous to try. If only hair didn’t grow so fast!

    August 3, 2012
    • i have a friend who gets her hair cut in toronto. she lives in portland. we do what we have to do

      August 4, 2012
      • I used to go from Sydney to Melbourne for haircuts. I think that is about 1000km. I had a longer style then though so could go a fair while between cuts (which I can’t get away with now).

        August 4, 2012
      • davebarclay1954 #

        How lucky you all are, my hairline started receding when I was 22, recently the crown started to join it and since about 60% of my head no longer has hair I just keep it cropped (what there is left). I don’t worry about grey either as most people think I’m about 20 years younger than my ancient 58! 30 odd years ago my hair was long and mostly well behaved, now I won’t have a comb over or wear a rug as they look ridiculous but I do wish I could turn the clock back for my hair

        August 14, 2012
      • if you are experiencing the hair loss you describe and are still managing to be mistaken for a man much younger, you are doing well, my friend. full head of hair or no

        August 15, 2012
  2. I’m THAT woman who is happy with my hair. I’m sorry. But the truth is, by the time you are the ripe old age of 49, you just don’t give a flip anymore. That’s not to say I don’t go to the salon or color my grey or generally try to look decent. I do. But I don’t take magazine pictures to my stylist anymore, I don’t instruct her anymore, and I don’t complain or second guess. Because I’m finally old enough to realize I ain’t gonna look like Halle Berry. EVER. NO MATTER WHAT. Even if my haircut looks like hers (and it WON’T. EVER). It’s very freeing . . . which is one of the few benefits of becoming an old hag.

    August 2, 2012
    • i’ve seen what you look like on your blog. you are not, and i suspect that you will never be, an old hag. here’s to accepting limits though, especially if halle berry is involved

      August 3, 2012
  3. Jrdpdx #

    I’m praying the combover will become hip

    July 31, 2012
  4. as I have gotten older, yes 24 is old… my hair has good and bad years. i had it really long for a while and it was lovely and curly at the bottom and full of body. then i got it cut up to my shoulders and we had a bad year, now it is just passed shoulder and i can blow dry and go, straighten and go or just do au natural and the mane is well behaved. i know its short lived but for right now, my hair has an A+ in my book. and the only capitalized letter in this reply. boom.

    July 31, 2012
    • i find that it is important to go through the rough hair times to truly appreciate the good hair times. and thanks for the appropriate emphasis on A+

      August 1, 2012
  5. changeforbetterme #

    I may get stoned out of the league of women on this one…but here goes! I haven’t been to a hair stylist in more years then I can count! Yeah, I know……gasp! My hair is long an I don’t get it cut….or styled……or washed by anyone but me….and all I do is wash it. But then again, might not surprise you when you see my pic.. 😉

    July 31, 2012
    • do you mean you trim your hair at home? or that you haven’t even had a trim in years? either way i am impressed

      August 1, 2012
      • changeforbetterme #

        I trim my own hair 😉 just the ends and my bangs. I make sure I wear my glasses when I do tho! and Thanks!

        August 1, 2012
  6. sleepdeprivedbliss #

    As a hairstylist myself, I can tell you that your stylist probably cringes inwardly every time you come in, knowing that you’ll make her do something she knows won’t look right. Two words of advice. STOP IT

    July 31, 2012
  7. trink #

    I have a strict no-judge policy on bad hair (unless of course you’ve made a clear styling choice a la Snooki). I’m super particular about my hair and until I had children I cried after 98% of all haircuts I received. Once the kids came my vanity had to take a backseat because it really wasn’t about me for the next 8 years. My no-judge policy comes from the fact that I’ve had so many haircuts that resulted in tears and a ‘WTF was she thinking this isn’t what I asked for’ sob story for the next couple of weeks at least. My husband and I were in an airport in May practicing our favorite hobby, people watching, when he pointed out the well kept lady with name brand everything and a hair helmet. He couldn’t understand why she had such a bad hair choice. I reminded him that I had that same haircut 2 years ago and we cannot judge because, like me, she probably does not cut her own hair.

    July 31, 2012
    • in contrast to your experience, i feel like i have cried more from bad haircuts since i had children. because now i feel like life is so hard and i should get a break now and again, and if i can’t have good hair, what do i have?

      July 31, 2012
  8. sf4aces #

    at least you don’t cut your own hair en route to your stylist. i have a pair of shears at my desk in my cubicle (that actually look more like they are for yardwork, so don’t ask me why i have them here) that i have literally reached over, picked up and swiped across my bangs without the benefit of a mirror, only to then, pick up my phone and call my stylist after the fact. he’s a magician but really…what the hell is wrong with me?
    i just made an appointment for this coming friday and i’m afraid i won’t make it. it’s tuesday and the shears are…right…over…there… . *bites nails*
    thanks for the post, i feel you.

    July 31, 2012
    • cutting without a mirror. bangs, no less. i bestow upon thee a medal of valor

      July 31, 2012
  9. I only started to love my super thick hair once I chopped it all off 14 years ago. Just about a month ago I was given my all time, hands down favorite hairstyle by my lovely stylist Julia (it’s partially shaved, longer and piecey on top, and it’s bright purple). Which I feel is kind of amazing considering my German is crap Julia’s English skills are limited. I find a picture, a skilled stylist and some faith help.

    July 31, 2012
    • you had me with the cut but the color just put you over. it must be awesome

      July 31, 2012
  10. Ashley #

    I like my hair! It’s really thick, long, and requires zero styling (just wash, air dry, and brush). I totally let my sylist “do what she thinks will look best” and she hasn’t let me down! But as I type this I’m realizing two things…A) maybe it is only I who thinks I have great hair and B) maybe I project greatest onto my hair to distract from my horrible skin. Either way, I’ve got some zits, rash, and spider veins I need to get back to stressing about.

    July 31, 2012
    • we all have our places of refuge, ashley. let your hair be yours

      July 31, 2012
  11. Oh Yoona. You’ve kicked the hornet’s nest here.

    I know women who love the salon but it is a foreign place to me and I’m never comfortable there. I don’t speak fluent “hair” for starters. I try to take in photos to show what I’m after, but even that isn’t foolproof. My stylist spent the better part of five years explaining to me in installments why my hair does not now and never will look like the photo of Meg Ryan I kept bringing to show her.

    My hair never looks the same as when I leave the salon past the 24 hour mark following an appointment anyway. I don’t have the skill set or the interest to style my hair and me and my stylist both know that. We also both know I am a big-mouth, that I tell everybody who it is who cuts my hair (even if they don’t ask) and my stylist works hard to give me a cut that will tolerate little to no attention past the occasional swipe with a brush.

    July 31, 2012
    • that is really funny about your stylist having the come-to-Jesus moment with you about meg ryan

      July 31, 2012
  12. I’m just happy to have hair when many of my friends and co-workers have none, or wear the monk ring. I’ve seen my head without hair…not a good look…

    July 31, 2012
    • yes the having of hair is the greatest gift of all I suppose

      July 31, 2012
  13. I’m the opposite, I’m incapable of expressing what I want from a barber and I can guarantee that whenever I go in I’ll let them know what I want, they’ll then do exactly whatever the hell they felt like doing whilst ignoring my pleading eyes and I’ll be too embarrased to complain, will leave a tip and be back a couple of weeks later to be dissapointed again.

    July 31, 2012
    • pretty sure there’s a class in hair school that’s called “how to ignore pleading eyes and other signs of distress”

      July 31, 2012
      • there must be as I’m yet to find a barber who’s not perfected it.

        July 31, 2012
  14. I’m happy with mine, but I have the hairstyle and fashion sense of a 5 year old boy, so I think I may not be generally representative.

    July 31, 2012

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