The profession of cutting hair, like that of piloting a large aircraft or conducting brain surgery, requires a certain amount of skill and confidence. Unfortunately, a woman who cut my hair a while ago lacked both of the aforementioned qualities. With a job interview coming in less than two weeks, I knew that I needed to get a haircut. It’s not that I am opposed to having a haircut like Zac Efron in the first High School Musical, but I have neither the looks nor the talent to pull his style off. Armed with this knowledge, I headed to the most renowned hairdressing emporium that I could find: the budget hair salon Great Clips. In hindsight, it has been made quite clear that budget haircuts, like back-alley lobotomies, should be avoided at all costs.
I walked into the salon with high hopes that the haircut would be a speedy ordeal. It was not. Upon entry into the building, I was greeted by a grunt from one of the women cutting someone’s hair. It was hard to tell exactly what she said, but I assumed that it had something to do with me sitting and waiting for one of the hairdressers. After I had spent a few minutes gazing at a poor quality photo of Marilyn Monroe plastered on a cheap looking hair styling product, I was finally called forward. After arriving at the counter, I stood awkwardly as the hairdresser told me that she needed to clean up the mess of hair that was surrounding her styling chair of doom. So it wasn’t until a few minutes later that I was finally able to head over to the chair to begin my haircut.
Once seated, the woman, whom I shall call Jill, threw the black cape on top of me and asked me how I would like my hair to be cut. I responded by reciting the elements that make up my typical haircut with the ease of a practiced auctioneer. Until this point, I was not sensing that this haircut would be a disaster, but that soon changed. Jill began using the trimmers to rake through my hair with the ferocity of a recently scorned girlfriend shredding her ex-boyfriend’s letter jacket. I tried to ignore the pain that came from the violent haircut, which made the hair shaving scene in V for Vendetta seem gentle by comparison, but it was starting to hurt considerably. I considered asking for her to slow down and not be so rough, but she had a look in her eyes that made me think that she could stab me with her scissors and not bat an eyelash. So instead, I suffered in silence and hoped for the cut to end quickly.
After a brief moment of reprieve from the clippers scraping against my skull, I felt the cord stretching across my neck as Jill tried to reach the other side of my head. I must have had the petrified look of a person at the gallows cross my face because she quickly made a joke about not wanting to strangle me. I forced a laugh, which came out like a frightened signal for help, and waited for her to finish using the clippers. After trimming the hair on the lower half of my head in the time it would take for a regular hairdresser to put the correct clip on the trimmers, Jill abruptly set them down and pulled out a pair of scissors to start on the top of my head.
She soon started complaining about how my hair had gone into her nose. I thought that she was making a poor joke at first, but she continued telling me about how my hair had infiltrated her nose. Before long, she was making blowing noises as if trying to expel a giant glob of snot. I was unable to hide the look of sheer disgust because she explained that the hair was clogging her nose and would not come out. I tried to laugh it off and say that it must just be a hazard of the hairdressing profession, but my ability to fake laughter was quickly waning.
Once the Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the top of my head was finished, she switched to fading the sides. At this point, I was praying that the whole ordeal would end, but she began to slow down as she worked on fading my hair. Throughout the process, she nicked my ear a few times with the clippers and joked about lobbing my entire ear off. There was no more forced laughter because I was appalled by her lack of professionalism. I would expect a more adept haircut from Sweeney Todd.
Finally, it was time for the product to be applied to my hair. I usually love this part of the haircut, because it gives me an opportunity to have a professional style my hair. I enjoy seeing the way that they mold my hair with the styling clay and try to learn new ways to style it in the future. But those feelings are reserved for haircuts given by skilled individuals, so it was no surprise to me when Jill was unable to style my hair properly.
She asked me which product I use on a daily basis and left to get it from the back. Once she brought it back, she looked into the container with a look of utter confusion. It was as if a liberal arts student was being asked to develop nuclear codes. She asked me how much I typically put in my hair, and after telling her that I use a small amount, she proceeded to apply a huge glob of product to my hair. I looked on in mild horror as she smeared the clay all over my head, giving me the appearance of a New York City mobster from the 1970’s. After a few moments had been spent coating my hair with the greasy product, she gave a quick laugh and said that she was not used to styling boy’s hair. I was unable to even think of a response and grimaced as I waited for her to take the hair cutting smock off of me.
Once I was released from my chair of torture, I quickly headed over to the cash register. I thought that she was following me, but she was halfway to the back of the salon when she looked over her shoulder and told me that she had to wash the “disgusting” hair product off her hands before cashing me out. After the hair clay had been washed off her hands, she walked to the register and rang up my haircut. I was practically vibrating from the urge to flee the building, but I suppressed the urge until I had paid my bill. As I speedily walked out of the salon, I realized that saving a few dollars by getting a haircut at a budget hair salon was not worth it, and I would be sure to look for a more quality haircut in the future.