I volunteered to be a hair model. My salon offers the stylists continuing education, and a regional Bumble+Bumble representative would present a class on razor skills. I jumped at the chance to have a free cut by the high end, well-known hair empire expert. I’d be unlikely to make the pilgrimage to New York on my own to visit B+B. Ever. It’d take several trains, the better part of the day, and a small fortune. I just don’t care about my hair that much.
But, I thought, maybe I should care more. My styling routine consists of applying whatever anti-frizz, curl-enhancing goop I find at Bed, Bath, and Beyond using a 20 percent off coupon, and hoping for the best. Sometimes it looks okay, sometimes not so much. Sometimes I surrender and succumb to the butterfly clip upsweep. Maybe a change was in order. What was the worst thing that could happen? Asymmetry? A buzz cut? Hair grows, I reasoned, and thought about the Buddhist concept of impermanence. It wouldn’t be forever.
So I leapt into the hot seat at the epicenter of a semicircle of staff cradling razors and waiting to learn how to use them. The tall, lean, and most lovely Christiaan towered over me, running his fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp, twirling my curls… but I digress.
He talked as he worked, describing attributes of my hair of that I didn’t know myself. Its texture, its weight, its width, and its distribution on my head. How it related to my hairline, the direction it took on my scalp, and how it grew. Who knew that my strands held such a wealth of information? To me they just looked like (dyed) brown hair. All the while he wielded a straight-edged razor, whose blade he’d just changed to be sure it was super-sharp, inches from my jugular vein. He sliced, and sliced, and sliced. With what felt like wanton abandon, but he described with, well, razor-sharp precision.
He coated my tresses with a pre-cut hydrating mask, and added mousse, leave-in conditioner, and anti-humidity gel oil after the shearing. He slathered, scrunched, and jooged. And advised me to only shampoo my hair once a month. In between, he said, I could just “go through the motions” of shampooing in the shower with just water, or use conditioner in lieu of shampoo to “co-wash,” or “co-poo,” in the lingo of the cognoscenti.
The convened coven nodded and murmured as they walked around me to get a look from every angle. He lifted my locks vertically and let the blade drop like a guillotine toward my pate. The customers who had begun to arrive to let their stylists try their newly acquired skills out on them oohed and aahed. I felt like a shrub in the spell of Edward Scissorhands, and just hoped I wouldn’t end up looking like a giraffe topiary.
When Christiaan felt satisfied (I felt vaguely like we should cuddle and smoke a cigarette) – and he took no more than 12 minutes – he spun me around toward the mirror, and looked at me expectantly, as if asking “was it good for you?”
“Wow,” I said. “It’s great.” I looked like, well, me.
The audience clapped, and I resisted bowing as the artist deserved the kudos. I was, after all, merely his muse. He escorted me out of the chair and thanked me with a double-cheek air kiss.
“Wait,” he said, “I need to give you your prescription.”
Disappointed at the salon’s lack of official B+B “prescription pads,” he wrote mine out on the back of an envelope. It took up the entire surface thereof and listed about $3000 worth of products, which I did not, and would likely never, buy. I am not sure that six ounces of anything could do enough to my hair to be worth $34, even though he’d intimated to me what crap the drugstore brands I was buying were.
I had a blast. It was fun, and I felt special, and I have an adorable new friend at B+B. Two days post-cut the style has held up quite well, but of course the acid test occurs when I attempt to style it on my own and recreate the magic. No matter how much yoga I do I never seem to be able to get my own arms around my own head to reach where that no man’s land that stylists access so easily from their vantage point. I’m not sure how much effort I will put into the new do anyway; I have better things to do.