OK, hands up if you've ever done this:
> You talk through with the hairdresser what it is that you would like done.
> They nod professionally.
> You then sit and stare in horror at yourself in the mirror while they get totally scissor happy and give you a mullet. Or a short back and sides.
> They proudly hold the mirror up to show you the back. It’s even worse than the front.
> They smile.
> You smile back.
> You say: “Yes, it’s lovely thank you!”.
> Then you leave a tip (a tip!) and go - probably booking another appointment for 6 weeks time.
Come on, it can’t just be me?!
Now, I’ve spent soooo many hours sat in the hairdressers chair over the years fighting an inward battle (“ask her not to use straighteners it makes your hair too flat, she’s cutting your fringe too short - tell her or you’ll spend a month looking like you did when you were 5, she hasn’t done your layers right - speak up now while there’s still time. Go on, you can do it! Just smile and say “erm, do you think you could please just….”). But do I speak up? Nope - I just sit there, chatting and smiling, giving out the ‘relaxed and all is good’ vibe. While inside all is in turmoil!
So over the years I’ve tried to analyse why I find it so hard to speak up. Let’s face it, if you’re served a dreadful meal in a restaurant you call the waiter over and tell them. If you get bad service in a shop you complain to the manager. So why is it so hard to do it with a hairdresser? Well I think it’s because of the Great British Reserve. You can complain to a waiter about your dodgy meal because they didn’t cook it personally. You can complain to a manager about the service of a member of their staff because it wasn’t them who was directly rude. Crikey, it’s not even that hard to complain directly to that member of staff about their rudeness or bad service (unless you have a real fear of confrontation). So why is it different for a hairdresser? This is what I think:
- It’s because they are often so nice and friendly - they chat to you while they work, they smile, you build a relationship that lasts for the hour or so that you’re sat in that chair.
- You are criticising someone’s creativity - you convince yourself that you will crush them if you complain. Hairdressing is a career that you learn, but it is also (if done right) one that you have a natural talent and eye for (or not, in some cases).
As for why I then leave a tip and book another appointment - well, I haven’t quite worked that one out yet. If you have any thoughts and can analyse that one, feel free and leave me a comment! If you’ve ever had a tragic hair cut too and not spoken up, please leave a comment too - then at least I won’t feel like the only one in the world!
PS: and if anyone can tell me where hairdressers go when they get past 30 or so, let me know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one… all feels a bit too ‘Sweeney Todd’ for my liking...