If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that a few months ago, I received the world’s best blow out from a salon in Paris. Just in case a formal award was ever given, I went home and took no less than fifty selfies to document the occasion.
Superficial, I know. But I’m glad I have a bunch of pictures my fabulous hair – because it’s gone now, thanks to a Vancouver stylist who burned a few inches of it off last week when she mistimed a relaxing treatment and my own bright idea to let her cut the rest of it afterwards.
“I got a terrible haircut,” I texted a friend. “It’s supposed to be bob, but it looks so bad that I’m calling it a ‘slob’.”
“FaceTime me,” she replied. “It probably doesn’t look that bad.”
But it did look that bad – even after I tried to improve the situation by flipping my part to the opposite side, tucking the shortest pieces under longer layers and coating my whole head with a product that claims to work miracles. (It doesn’t.)
“Well…” my friend admitted. “It’s not your best look.”
“I know!” I yelled. “Even the stylist thought so – and I know that for a fact because she took a ‘before’ photo and then never bothered with the ‘after.’”
My friend snorted. “I’m sorry,” she laughed. “But that’s sort of hilarious.”
“Tell me about it!” I said. “And you know how on your way out of a salon, everyone’s always like, ‘It looks great!’ or ‘Hope you have plans tonight!’? Well not one person said that to me. No one said anything. The woman at the counter was just like, ‘And here is your receipt.’”
“She didn’t,” my friend said.
“She did!” I insisted. “Oh and by the way, I asked if I could tip on the card and she seemed shocked by the question.”
“I wouldn’t have tipped,” my friend admitted.
“Yes, you would,” I argued. “We’d both tip or we wouldn’t be friends.”
My friend leaned closer to her phone. “Why are the ends all uneven?” she asked. “They look really uneven.”
“Oh, that!” I said. “No lie, this is how she cut it.” I held an imaginary pair of scissors vertically and pantomimed cutting huge chunks, seemingly at random, from my shoulders up.
“Honestly, it was like a Muppet was giving me a haircut,” I insisted.
If you think I’m exaggerating about that, then I invite you to visit Instagram and scroll through the second and third photos that show just how botched my hairline now is.
“It’s not so bad,” my friend insisted, as any decent person would under such circumstances. “Besides, it’s hair. It’ll grow back.”
My friend is right, of course. Hair grows back. And I realize that an unflattering bob doesn’t qualify as a “problem.” I’m being dramatic and shallow and annoying all at the same time. I own it. Lock me up, or whatever.
But I’m writing this post anyway because I’ve been stupidly consumed by a haircut over the past week. Never have I looked in the mirror as much as when I’m not happy with my appearance.
Beauty is only skin deep, or so the saying goes, but I don’t think it’s quite accurate. Beauty runs a lot deeper than that: it’s engrained in our culture and shapes our identity; it influences our self-confidence and impacts our moods. When we don’t look our best, we don’t feel our best – and then it’s hard to be our best. Right now, I’m not at my best. Because my best involves hair that is all one length.
I don’t have a good answer for how to get over any of this, but I have a feeling my regiment of salon serums, multivitamins and a thinly veiled request for compliments won’t be much help. Like most things, this will only improve with time… hopefully when enough of it passes, I’ll realize that it was never important in the first place. Until then, I guess I’ll be thankful that my biggest complaint in life is suffering through a minimum of 60 consecutive bad hair days.