Thursday, June 19, 2014


X-Files Red, Not Lohan Red: A Haircut Trauma

Be hotter, oh wait, you can'tI dread getting my hair cut. Actually, I dread getting all of them cut.

The reason is three-fold. I hate small talk, I hate people touching my head, and I hate being hovered over—especially when that person is above and behind me. I'm positive that in a past life I was killed suddenly, from behind, and that it was mob-related.

Anyway, haircuts, for this reason, are traumatizing. I avoid getting them until my hair starts to feel like chainmail and starts talking to me. That’s when I know it's time.

I can't make an appointment like a normal person, so my method is this: I walk down random streets until I see the first establishment that offers hair-cutting as a service. I then go to that place, no matter what that place may be. This means that in the past I have ended up at super expensive salons, and places that are basically kitchens in someone's apartment. I never go to the same place twice. Once, I walked into an all-male barbershop. When I walked through the door about 20 black men turned to look at me at the same time. A record screeched to a halt and we stared in silence. Someone did end up cutting my hair there, all the while laughing and saying "white girl hair..." over and over and over. It cost me $20.

In 35 years, it was the best haircut I've ever gotten.

Today was the day I could avoid no longer. It happens to be the first beautiful, spring-like day in South Slope, Brooklyn, and the baby strollers were out in full force, like a cavalcade of drool. I walked in the sun, unable to enjoy the weather because I knew what was coming.

And there it was: the first establishment that cut human hair, in front of my face.

It mentioned in large letters on the windows that it also cut kid's hair, so basically I knew at that point that I was sabotaging myself. I forged ahead anyway. These are the rules, and the rules must be followed.

Taylor Dayne's twin greeted me (if you are too young to know who Taylor Dayne is, imagine a busted Fergie) wearing leather pants, laced-up leather boots that went to mid-thigh, and a shirt. The front of this shirt had a beach scene, the back of this shirt was nothing but black lace. It was a great shirt. She was chewing gum. Her hair was a mustard yellow color and, if this is possible, looked not to be made of individual hairs but instead was one large strand that had been split by razors, forming crispy bangs that never moved. She looked like if John Leguizamo morphed with Big Bird. Her voice was identical to Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. She smelled like Dimetapp.

She fell in love with me instantly; I could feel it.

I asked for my usual: shampoo, chop two inches off my head, blow-dry. Easy. Breezy. Beautiful. Covergirl. I knew that she'd ask: "layers?" to which I'd reply, "sure, you're the professional, do whatever."

These are the rules.

And so we danced.

She washed my hair, which always makes me feel like a dog. The moving from the shampoo thingy to "her" chair was awkward, I flicked water on some old man's pants. In hindsight I think it might have been Steve Buscemi.

And then, lo and behold—what a shock—she wanted to consult with me on what our collective vision was for my head. Again, my main motivation is to get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible, as I've been known to tip 100% to people who a.) do not speak to me and b.) are quick, like bunnies.

Taylor Dayne, clearly, was not going to get a 100% tip. As she was groping my wet head and we're both staring at me in the mirror, her fake coral lips opened into a scream and she yelled: "OH MY GOOOWAD, HAVE YOU EVAH BEEN A REDHEAD?!!"

"Maybe. In college." I said.


I began to panic. I did not want to be red. I did not want Regina to make me red.

"Ha, no, no thanks—just the haircut today..."


Scully. The X-Files. I did understand. I still said no.


At that moment, other hairdressers walked away from their clients and toward me, circling my chair like zombies. They began to poke me. At one point, Taylor Dayne even told me that they wouldn't charge me: that is how convinced they all were that I needed to be a redhead and that I could not be allowed to escape with my current brunette-ness intact.

I grabbed for my purse and jumped through the window into the sunny Brooklyn street, glass falling upon all of the strollers in my midst.

Just kidding, I did not do that. I sat there, petrified.


Oh my God.

I decided to strike a deal with Taylor Dayne: stop talking about red and I'd let her curl my hair or whatever she needed to do to turn me into a rabbit.

And that is what she did, snapping her gum and shaking her head and muttering "red" under her breath.

I escaped, un-red, already dreading the next time I have to live through this.

I'm thinking of buying a Flowbee.


Previously: … Or Any "-Ism," for That Matter

Kathleen Laux has moved around quite a bit but is currently a Brooklynite who enjoys dogs, naps, taking pictures of garbage, and Marshmallow Fluff.

24 Comments / Post A Comment


OH man, I feel the same way.


Youtube is full of videos explaining how to cut your own hair. If you have longer hair and want a simple cut, it is REALLY easy to chop it yourself.


This post just seemed kind of mean-spirited. No one was holding you hostage at the salon, and you are taking out your neurosis about your head on someone whose job it is to cut hair.

Just cut your own hair. No "trauma" necessary.


Doing hair is a profession where you get to be the absent star of various anecdotes all the time! It's like being famous, except people are writing reviews of your appearance and personality and implying that you're an idiot, rather than just cracking on your shitty beach body.
I got into the industry knowing that the talking part was going to be a bit uphill for me, because I'm naturally fairly quiet with people I don't know well, but this shit here is actually much more difficult. It's probably because I favor Taylor Dane, John Leguizamo, Dimetapp, and Big Bird, you know, physically, and am beneath contempt, but I actually don't enjoy it when clients openly flinch and roll their eyes when asked "Did you want any shorter angles around the face?" or, "When was the last time you had it cut?" Or even, "What does two inches look like to you?" because, again, WEIRDLY, the people who show up in my chair acting disgusted and upset by the experience are also the ones likely to start sobbing after a light trim, because I have taken a millimeter too much of their precious split ends.
I have my own little foibles, as a consumer of goods and services, and I can't claim to be the ideal customer in all situations, but the whole premise of this piece is pretty gross. It's a couple steps above detailing the hilarious ways you trashed a hotel room to fuck with the maids.


Maybe I'm reacting to this because, based on the details, I'm 95% sure this is the place that I've been going for several years and therefore see the subjects as people rather than hilarious objects to make fun of, but this seems incredibly mean-spirited and not really up to the Hairpin's standards. It reads to me like "neurotic person visits hair dresser, harshly judges the woman who is trying to do her job on her accent, appearance, dress, and professionalism, then makes fun of her in a highbrowish blog." I'm sure the author could have found ways to write humorously about her neurosis without tearing down others, particularly with the obvious class dimensions in this piece.

Also, btw, Regina is a total genius. I pay $50 for my cut (low by nyc standards) and get mad compliments on it.

Are They Biting Ducks?

@Ramonita This did read as incredibly mean-spirited. I just don't get why the author persists in creating her own trauma - find a hairstylist who "gets" your requests, and keep going to them. Problem fucking solved. :P


@Ramonita The hairdresser sounded like someone I'd like to be friends with. So I didn't think it was mean spirited. But then again I was a huge Taylor Dayne fan!


@mistersister @ZebraSaysHi-Yeah I agree. What I got is that the writer is too much of a special snowflake to handle a haircut like a normal person so she has to - ***GASP *** OMG wait for it - interact with WOWZA black men and working class women to get her special snowflake hair cut!! Sometimes these ' other' people read her mind, even though they have their own points of view! But she can't go back again because she's too special! Sometimes these ' other' people want to talk to her to help give her what she wants so she has to have a conversation! Sometimes these 'other' people even have their own ideas about what to do with her special snowflake hair! OMG! OMG!. By the way Where is Regina? I need a great hair place! (-:


I definitely sympathize with being terrified of small talk with people in public. That said, if I went into a salon and got called a hairdresser's dream and told that I should be "X-Files red," I could die happy.

Also this hairdresser sounds like a bad bitch and I want her to cut my hair.


sarcasm seems lost on soo many these days. sad


Should I know what a Flowbee is?
Why wouldn't you keep going to the barber shop if it was the best cut you've ever gotten?

Annie Murphy@facebook

@mademoiselle BECAUSE, THE RULES!!!


I started watching a TV series on Netflix, The Fall, which stars Gillian Anderson and she is SO GORGEOUS I can't stand it. Not like, Botoxed gorgeous, but like, I'm 45 and I'm just NATURALLY BEAUTIFUL like a beautiful blonde statue.


@commanderbanana OMG, right? I cannot look away from her. Plus the accent and the clothes! So chic. She's always been a favorite of mine, now more than ever.

you're a kitty!

@commanderbanana I don't understand how she gets more gorgeous every year, WHAT IS THIS MAGIC


@you're a kitty! @you're a kitty! Gillian is lovely - BUT she does have a lot of Botox though. Its very apparent on Hannibal.


@commanderbanana Have you seen her in Bleak House?!?! Fan fucking tastic.


@ghechr I haven't but I will check it out!


@mistything She definitely looks more her age on The Fall, I'm not sure if it's because she quit the Botox, she wears less makeup, it doesn't have that weird vaguely 300-ish filter that so many of the scenes in Hannibal have, or because it's BBC television and they're ok with some wrinkles on a lady, as opposed to American media?


@mistersister The CLOTHES I want to dress like that forever, except then I remember I'm not a patrician-nosed blonde ice queen. Sadness.


am i the only one who thought this was hilarious? laughed out loud. maybe I just have a mean sense of humor? thought the author was hard enough on herself that it didn't come off in a mean-girls-y way.


@sassburger it was funny, people have no sense of humor or sarcasm.

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