Friday, March 26, 2010

I Feel Rotten, Oh So Rotten: A Beauty Intervention

Today's accomplishment falls under the goal of doing some restoration of body and soul...

Some people have therapists, some people have bartenders, and others have their hair stylists. My longtime stylist is Michael, and although I am a terribly inconsistent client, each time I slip into that chair, a bedraggled mess, I know he'll work his magic and I'll feel just a little better on the other side. He knows me well (and is reeaaallly good at what he does) well in fact that when I slipped into that chair after an eight month absence, he stopped, leveled me with a long look in the mirror I could barely stand to look at myself in and asked with subtext "moving a little slow today?" Oh crap, I can't lie to my mother and I can't lie to Michael.

We have a long history, and he's been there through my ups and downs. The first time we met nearly eleven years ago, I plopped into the chair of his new salon that opened conveniently close to my work place, with long, long blonde virginal hair and said, "I want it short and I want it red." He looked at me steadily with a bit of surprise, and a bit of wariness reflected in his calm eyes, and asked some probing questions designed to ascertain if I really knew what I was asking him for, and assessing my "crazy factor." But once he surmised that I was resolute, and reasonably sane, he proceeded to give me the best cut I'd ever had and a color that I wish my budget and my lately developed awareness of the adverse effects of hair coloring would allow me to duplicate.

It was life changing that cut and color. The look on The Husband's (then The Boyfriend) face, as well as those on the faces of every work colleague who thought they had me pegged, made that cut worth every living penny I paid.

Through the years the cuts and colors have changed (we both mourned a little bit when my decision to stay at home with my kids curtailed my beauty budget and spelled an end to my color habit), but we comfortably knew what to expect from one another. Michael knows that if he's lucky he'll see me maybe twice a year, and I will arrive thoroughly in desperate need of a beauty intervention, but that I will more often than not arrive with an agenda that will probably surprise him and he'll get to have a little fun because I trust his judgement and skills completely. I know that he won't judge that I have let his former masterpieces fall to ruins, and he'll keep a lot of his goops and serums to himself because I generally "don't like crap in my hair." He will let his latest proteges work on me because he knows I'm patient and a risk taker (at least in the hair department), willing to let someone learn. I will tell them some of the crazy things we've done, and urge them to listen to every single thing he teaches them, because they hit the jackpot in mentors. Some I can tell get how special he is in what and how he does what he does, and understand that in addition to having unbelievable skill, more importantly he sees people. And to top it all off we'll usually have a great conversation spanning religion, politics, relationships, business, philosophy, you name it, while his skilled scissors are flashing around my head. Truly for me he is the holy grail of hair care.

Today I told Michael, my eyes glistening a little bit despite my best efforts, "I need a change, I need to feel beautiful." And that's just what he did for me...again.

My fantasy hair... photo by michael mccormick

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