An Old Fogy Seeing Red

I was tired of paying to have look at myself as I might appear in a coffin. The fluorescent/neon/gray-blue/steely hard edge lighting in the hair salon where I had been going gave everyone that look.

So I decided to change salons and went to a place that had been recommended to me by two friends, and to a young woman there who had specifically been recommended by one of them. She does the color for my friend’s hair and it (the hair) and she (my friend) look great.

So I arrived at the new place and explained to this stylist, named Liza, what I wanted…nothing drastic. I just wanted some highlights similar to what I had had before (and which were still apparent), and although I didn’t want to add any red to my hair, I didn’t want to necessarily cover up any of the natural red that is in it. Sounds simple enough–right?

But then, the next thing I noticed was a fairly shocking fuchsia color among the mixtures being applied to my hair and I asked a question about what that was going to look like in its final form. I was assured that it would not be red.

However, once the procedure was complete and my hair was dry, Liza was enthusiastically ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the red “swirls.” I was wondering what that was about because in theory she had not added red. “In theory” was the key phrase. In fact there were bright red splotches here and there all over my head. I saw no ‘swirls”…I saw RED.

I tried to figure out what she was thinking of. Did she misinterpret what I said? Or, did she think I was a punk rock star in a heavy metal band, appearing that day in normal person disguise?

I told Liza that the red would have to go. I made an appointment to go back the next day. I wasn’t at all sure it had really been worth changing salons just to have better lighting because at least at the old place the fluorescence was just in the lights, not in my hair, and I could walk away from it.

When I had first expressed my extreme dismay at the appearance of the red and then scheduled the second appointment for damage control, Liza was perfectly agreeable to having me come back. Then, at some point on the following day, the day I was scheduled to reappear, she called and left a message saying it would ‘probably be better’ just to let it–the red–wash out naturally after 2-3 weeks. She said it would become ‘more brown and blend-able.’

I called her back and said no way was I going to live looking like a Madonna wanna-be for the next 2-3 weeks. I was coming back in and if she wanted one of her colleagues to handle it, that was fine, but I was not going to wait for whatever course the red was going to take on its own. I had been pretty mellow with her up till that point, but I could see that some degree of hysteria was in order.

So once I got in there–still in the mode of trying to convince her that she needed to do something–I used every analogy that had occurred to me in the past 24 hours. I said I looked like I had had food color, red wine, or a cherry wood stain poured on parts of my head, that I looked like I was auditioning for a rock band, a circus, the Madonna wanna-be, the American flag, or that I had missed decorating for Christmas and was making up for lost time. Eventually, she began to get the idea that I really didn’t like it.

So the next question, of course, was did I really trust her to fix it and what if it came out worse than it was originally?

In retrospect a couple of things occurred to me. One was that on the previous day a number of Liza’s colleagues came by her station to gush about how good my hair looked. I now think they were all made to rally when there was a new client, and especially when there is a new client with a disastrous result. Perhaps they think that if they all enthusiastically effervesce about how good it looks, the client will think she’s the crazy one or the one not seeing straight, and not dare to challenge all of those expert opinions.

Of course, then again, maybe they all did like the red swirls, stripes, and splotches. In support of this theory, on the second day I noticed the guy (hair dresser) who was commandeering the chair next to mine. His hair was electric blue. He hadn’t been there the day before. Perhaps this explained something.

Finally, 95% of the red was eliminated and I was able to live with what was left. No gushing over the results by the other operators this time though.

Maybe the glowing color theme was the new look that this place was pushing and I was just not with the program. I guess that must mean I then have officially became an old fogy. In that case, maybe the red wasn’t so bad after all.

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